Selcuk Şirin Receives 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Prize for Project Hope, an Online Videogame Platform for Refugee Children

Selcuk Şirin, professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt, has been awarded the Jacobs Foundation’s 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prize for Project Hope, an online platform that allows children to play videogames anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Şirin, one of ten researchers to be honored by the foundation, will receive 200,000 Swiss francs (appr. $100,000 USD), at a special award ceremony later this year in Zurich, Switzerland.

Project Hope draws on research that Şirin undertook in 2013 documenting the educational and mental health needs of Syrian refugee children, as well as follow-up work designing game-based learning interventions for them.

With the prize money, Şirin will begin the next phrase of his work; building a non-profit organization that will make online learning available as a viable alternative learning opportunity for disadvantaged children. To that end, he will bring together game developers, educators, and non-profit workers serving children in emergency settings, and create a digital game-based online learning platform.

Şirin is the author of Turkey at the Crossroads: Freedom or Misery (2015) and Muslim American Youth (2008).  He has studied the effects of anti-immigrant sentiments on the immigrant children in New York; the effects of Islamophobia on Muslim youth in the U.S., and dedicated his career to the betterment of Syrian refugee children living in Turkey.

“As a native of Turkey with the privileges of a tenured professor in the U.S., I have an ethical responsibility to fight for social justice both in the U.S. and globally,” Sirin said.


Read more about Selcuk Sirin’s Project Hope in NYU Steinhardt At a GlanceDigital Game Intervention Improves Mental Health and Educational Outcomes of Syrian Refugee Children