War and conflict have forced many thousands of skilled people to find refuge in places where they are unable to access legal employment in their fields. Talent Beyond Boundaries is working to connect this hidden talent pool with employers around the world who are searching for skilled workers.

The Issue

Untapped Talent: With more than 65 million people forcibly displaced and 21 million refugees outside their home countries, millions of talented, educated, and skilled individuals are currently prohibited from working in the countries where they have sought refuge.

Skills Gap Around the Globe: A recent talent shortage survey[1] of hiring managers in 42 countries found that 38 percent of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling jobs. For countries facing significant skill gaps in the local workforce, bringing in talent from abroad is a much needed option.                                                                                                    

“I hope that one day I can become a professor of math.
I believe that if you have a dream, even in the face of challenges, you can reach it one day.”
— Nada, Mathematician from Syria

A New Global Employment Solution

As the global refugee crisis continues to grow, new and innovative approaches are needed to provide long-term solutions for refugees. We believe labor migration should be a key element of a comprehensive approach to supporting and empowering refugees. Our goal is to create a viable private sector employment solution for refugees around the globe.

Through a unique online platform, Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is creating a pathway to help skilled refugees find work and self-reliance through international employment opportunities. To date, there has not been an effective effort to connect this talent pool to private sector employers who are interested in recruiting globally. 

The Impact

Refugees can support themselves and their families, reducing reliance on humanitarian aid

Employers have access to a skilled workforce to help fill employment gaps

Host countries gain workers who bring diverse skills, new experiences, and contributions to the local economy 

Our Founders


Talent Beyond Boundaries was founded by Mary Louise and Bruce Cohen who, as part of their Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative fellowship, began researching labor mobility as a solution for skilled refugees. They traveled extensively to learn from refugee communities, NGOs, and U.N. agencies before launching Talent Beyond Boundaries. 

With seed funding from their own family foundation, Talent Beyond Boundaries was born and partnerships formed with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. State Department to launch a program in Jordan and Lebanon.




[1] ManpowerGroup 2015