Maria Arettines works to promote gender equity and access to higher education for those impacted by forced migration and displacement. Her work with various non-governmental and non-profit community organizations, as well as public and private higher education institutions, has spanned both New York City and the globe. She recently finished a work assignment as Program Manager of the Cross Cultural Solutions Refugee Program, based primarily in Greece, and previously worked in service of displaced students, particularly from Syria, as they sought access to higher education.
Maria graduated summa cum laude from the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at Hunter College (CUNY) with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. She was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Excellent Work in the Field of Gender Studies at CUNY, and served as both Student Liaison for the Women and Gender Studies Department and Student Representative for the Hunter College Senate. Also while at Hunter, Maria was awarded the Astraea Foundation for Social Justice Award, Young People For Fellowship, and the Thomas Hunter Honors Program JMS Scholarship.
In 2010, Maria moved to Cyprus on a Fulbright fellowship. While there, she worked with the Cyprus Oral History Project, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, and KISA (Action for Equality, Support, and Antiracism in Cyprus). Her time in Cyprus solidified her commitment to social justice and education advocacy initiatives.
Since, Maria has built a career at the intersection of higher education and the nonprofit world. More recently, as Program Analyst with the Institute for International Education’s Platform for Education in Emergencies Response, Maria worked to expand access to higher education opportunities for students displaced by conflict.