Dublin City University has been designated as an official “University of Sanctuary” in recognition of a range of initiatives demonstrating commitment to welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into the university community and to fostering a culture of inclusion for all.
DCU is the first ever Irish university to receive such a distinction.
The designation was awarded by the City of Sanctuary, an organisation that supports efforts in the UK and Ireland to promote a culture of hospitality for those seeking sanctuary.
According to their website, 15 academic scholarships have been made available to applicants currently residing Ireland either as asylum seekers or refugees. The scholarships available to applicants are for the academic year starting in September 2017.
Dublin City University President, Professor Brian MacCraith had this to say about the designation:
Dublin City University is pleased and proud to have been accorded the status of a “University of Sanctuary” and it is a fitting recognition of the efforts, across all elements of the DCU community, to foster a spirit of inclusion and welcome to people who are seeking asylum in Ireland or reside here under refugee status.
Our designation as a “University of Sanctuary”, while very welcome, is not a final destination in itself, however, rather it is an important marker on a journey. We are driven on this journey by being true to our values of inclusion and equity of access to education.
I am particularly pleased that the initiatives leading to our recognition were not ‘top down’ but came spontaneously from our student body and staff in their efforts to reach out and support those in the refugee and asylum community.
DCU’s long list of programme of initiatives for 2017 also include all of the following:
· DCU Mosney Book Club (providing books for people living in direct provision in Mosney, who cannot borrow books from public libraries).
· The Langua-Culture Space initiative, where DCU students teach beginner level English to asylum seekers and refugees.
· DCU Refugee Week – a week of activities to raise awareness among students and staff
· The inaugural “University of Sanctuary” Lecture.
· A range of research projects tackling key issues such as migrant integration into the school system and intercultural support for Syrian refugees in Ireland.
· Working with DCU Student Spinout Social Enterprise (House of Akina) to support “University of Sanctuary” initiatives.
· Establishment of a “University of Sanctuary” Steering Group, comprising staff and students.
A busy year, indeed.
What a fantastic move. We certainly hope other institutions follow this incredible move.