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The EU just launched a program to help Syrian refugees find science jobs. And it's awesome.

Finding a job is essential to creating stability in one's life. That's where Science4Refugees comes in.

The EU just launched a program to help Syrian refugees find science jobs. And it's awesome.

Three years ago, computer scientist Sonia left Syria with her husband and children.

In an interview with Science magazine, Sonia (whose name was changed) explained how conflict in her home country had made it more and more difficult to do her job. She was a professor who couldn't travel to conferences, and communicating with the outside world was getting harder, too. She and the other instructors were afraid to share their opinions openly.

Sonia and her family knew it was time to move. But it took two long years before they were finally able to find a safe home in Europe — mainly because it was so hard for Sonia to find a job.


That's why the European Union's new Science4Refugees initiative is such a game changer. The program matches refugees with universities willing to hire them for research positions.

Sonia's situation isn't unique. After fleeing a conflict, refugees often struggle to find jobs. More than 500,000 individuals from the Middle East have sought refuge in the European Union so far this year. Almost 429,000 people from Sonia's home country of Syria alone have sought asylum in Europe — a number that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees says will only increase. That's a lot of people.

Now, when people like Sonia are looking for employment, universities that agree to participate will have something like a "refugee-welcoming organization" badge on Euraxess, the EU research career site. According to the secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities, some have already committed to join the effort, including France's University of Strasbourg and Germany's University of Leuven.


The program aims to act as a matchmaker of sorts. Euraxess now has a page made specifically for refugees with science backgrounds to upload their resumes. While Science4Refugees doesn't give preferential treatment to refugees, it does provide a super helpful guide so they can target their applications to friendly institutions and not have to deal with explaining their unique situations.

Just knowing that a university has made a commitment to supporting people affected by conflict can be a boost for applicants.

As Sonia told Science:

"When I was trying to contact universities ... sending my CV and explaining that I was a Syrian professor, I never got any answers. It gives you the feeling that you are alone in the world. Feeling supported, on the other hand, can greatly help you overcome difficulties."

Research, Science and Innovation European commissioner Carlos Moedas speaks at the 2015 World Economic Forum. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

Making a commitment to be a "refugee-friendly" university is an awesome way to decrease the effects of conflict situations on these scientists' careers.

As Sonia put it, refugees "need opportunities to rebuild their personal and professional lives. The quicker they can find a stable job, the more easily they can build new lives."

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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