Irish ‘sanctuary’ university launches refugee scholarship scheme

University College Cork has been awarded ‘sanctuary’ status for helping refugees and asylum seekers access higher education

A university in Ireland, which has given seven asylum seekers and refugees full scholarships, has been designated a ‘University of Sanctuary’ by Places of Sanctuary Ireland, a network of groups which promote integration of refugees into Irish society.

University College Cork (UCC) said the scholarships will cover full fees and tuition from September 2018, in addition to a number of annual bursaries covering travel and expenses.

“Universities provide a key space in which to challenge societal assumptions and to support and highlight work aimed at fostering a culture of welcome for asylum seekers and refugees,” said the university’s senior vice president Caroline Fennell.

“Through the range of initiatives cultivated over many years in UCC, we are dedicated to providing spaces to learn about what sanctuary means, to develop a sustainable culture of welcome and to share our practices and initiatives with communities and other higher education institutions.”

Refugees and asylum seekers face cultural and financial barriers to accessing higher education in Ireland, the university said.

UCC is launching its first refugee week with a series of events from February 5 to 9.

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