How higher education institutions welcome refugees

How higher education institutions welcome refugees

This year has been very eventful for the field of internationalisation. The EAIE Barometer was launched, the European Parliament report put a spotlight on our field, EAIE 2015 in Glasgow was again a major success, and the Autumn EAIE Academy was the largest one yet! When a great number of refugees moved into Europe, the higher education world responded almost instantly. The EAIE blog has recently highlighted some of these initiatives, but they are growing. In this very last blog post of 2015, the EAIE’s Knowledge Development Adviser, Leasa Weimer shares useful and inspiring resources on the issue.

Higher education helps integrate refugees into society by offering access to education, and the foundation for future hopes and dreams. This is especially critical for refugees that have terminated their studies or already possess higher education qualifications. With the large flow of refugees into Europe in 2015, European higher education institutions continue to devise strategies and new initiatives to welcome refugees on their campuses. In addition, some national governments and institutions are developing higher education initiatives for the neighbouring regions that are playing host to the majority of displaced people. As the end of the year approaches, this is a time to reflect on some of the initiatives and inspiring practices that have developed this year. Information sharing is important as institutions look for ideas to benchmark and learn from.

Sharing best practices

EUA Refugees Welcome Map
This interactive mapping tool is a platform for sharing information and best practices on how higher education institutions are welcoming refugees to their campuses. Fill out a survey highlighting the initiatives that your institution is undertaking to support refugees and it will be presented in an interactive map.

European Commission Survey on Inspiring Practices – Higher Education Helping Newly Arrived Refugees
In October 2015, this list of inspiring practices was published as a way to inspire other European higher education institutions.

Coimbra Group Refugee Relief
The Coimbra Group of higher education institutions highlight some member initiatives for welcoming refugees into their campuses (as of September 2015).

Campus initiatives

Queen Mary University of London
An extensive list of all campus initiatives led by the university administration, students, and academics including information on how to get involved.

Malmö University blog
This blog highlights all campus initiatives to welcome and support refugees on campus and in the city.

University of Salzburg More4Refugees
As part of the Austrian Universities MORE project aimed at giving refugees access to higher education, the University of Salzburg offers access to courses, its library, sports facilities, and more.

Refugees Welcome at Kiel University
This webpage gives information on how refugees can apply for studies, take part in a pilot language courses, and finance their studies.

University of York Funded Initiatives
The University of York announced a three-year package of initiatives with a budget of up to £500 000 to help refugees.

University of Potsdam
The University of Potsdam provides information for refugees on how to apply for language and study courses.

Initiatives for displaced scholars

The European Commission launched this initiative to help match displaced scholars with full and part time positions in higher education institutions that are ‘refugee-welcoming organisations’. The platform is available through EURAXESS.

Scholars at Risk (SAR)
SAR works with refugee scholars to arrange ‘positions of sanctuary’ at higher education institutions in the network. Positions are normally one semester to a year as a visiting scholar, researcher, or professor. SAR also provides advisory services to host institutions and scholars. Institutions can join the network to help support academic freedom and threatened scholars.

Funding available for innovative initiatives

Madad Fund: EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis
Last year, the EU launched a €350 million aid package in response to the Syrian refugee crisis which serves refugees and overstretched host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. Funding is available for basic and child protection, support for resilience, local development, and social inclusion and better access to healthcare. Concept proposals should be sent to: and if pre-selected you will be asked to submit a full proposal.

The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF)
This fund, administered by the European Commission, was set up for a period of seven years (2014-2020) with a budget of €3.137 billion. The aim is to “promote the efficient management of migration flows and the implementation, strengthening and development of a common Union approach to asylum and immigration”. Funding is available for higher education institutions and educational organisations.

Scholarship programmes

DAFI – Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative
This annual UNHCR scholarship programme is funded by the German government and supports deserving refugees around the world.

Support organisations

Netherlands – The Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF)
The foundation supports and counsels refugees in the Netherlands with their studies and finding suitable jobs.

UK – Refugee Support Network (RSN)
RSN provides support and advice for refugees facing barriers to higher education enrolment.

Funded research

Economic and Social Research Council Urgency Grant
Eight projects have been selected to research refugee populations and the migration across the Mediterranean to better understand the dynamics and drivers and inform policy. A budget of £1 million co-funded by the UK Department of International Development and the Mediterranean Migration Research Programme is allocated to selected UK social scientists.

Hopefully you find these resources and practices inspiring and helpful. If you would like to add an initiative that is not currently here, feel free to add it as a comment.

Leasa Weimer is Knowledge Development Adviser at the EAIE.

The EAIE blog is going on a short holiday break. We will be back in early January with brand new blog posts on some of the most relevant topics in our field. Until then: Happy holidays!

Leasa Weimer
EAIE, the NetherlandsLeasa is Senior Adviser for Knowledge Initiatives for the EAIE.