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KCL named UK’s ‘Refugees Welcome Uni’

King’s College London has earned the title the UK’s first ‘Refugees Welcome University’ courtesy of national community organising group Citizens UK.

The Refugees Welcome accreditation scheme recognises KCL's action plan to improve the lives of forced migrants in the UK. Photo: Peakpx

Since 2016, King's has provided 20 Sanctuary scholarships

The institution is being recognised for its “contribution to understanding and responding to the global issue of forced displacement in order to realise the educational potential of refugees”.

The Refugees Welcome accreditation scheme acknowledges universities that are committed to welcoming forced migrants, offer “comprehensive programs” of education and research on migration, and develop an action plan to improve the lives of forced migrants in the UK.

“King’s is leading the way in how universities can provide support for refugees”

King’s offers a scholarship scheme for refugees and leads the development and delivery of educational programs for forcibly displaced people in the Middle East.

The university is also working to bring a family to the UK under the UK’s Community Sponsorship Scheme, Citizens UK noted.

“Forced migration particularly impacts young people, disrupting their education and potentially creating a ‘lost generation’ with limited prospects,” Bronwyn Parry, head of King’s College London’s School of Global Affairs and director of the Sanctuary Programme, said.

“King’s is committed to building new partnerships with refugees and their families that offer important new opportunities for renewal, sustainment and growth that are of great benefit to both the families and the UK.”

Parry is leading the new sponsorship project with Leonie Ansems de Vries, senior lecturer in International Relations, together with experts from the UK Home Office and the United Nations Refugee Agency.

The university will help to resettle a displaced student and their family in the UK, providing all-round support and a fully-funded undergraduate scholarship.

Since 2016, King’s has provided 20 Sanctuary scholarships to students who are asylum seekers or have been granted limited leave to remain and have no access to Student Finance.

Students at the institution also run the King’s Student Action for Refugees organisation, aiming to raise awareness of refugee issues and promote refugees and asylum seeker integration.

“Through its initiatives that not only provide educational resources for refugees but in engaging staff, students and the wider community, King’s is leading the way in how universities can provide support for refugees,” James Asfa, lead organiser for Citizen’s UK South London, said.

“King’s is tackling this issue at a local and global level and we look forward to continuing our work with them.”

Citizens UK has previously launched an initiative for schools in collaboration with NASUWT – the Teachers’ Union – with similar aims as the university scheme.

President & principal of King’s College London Edward Byrne AC added that the institution is proud that the partnership with Citizen’s UK would “lead to such a life-changing project for individuals affected by conflict”.

“Our initiatives to ensure refugees are not deprived of an education are so important to our community,” he said.

“It is vital that people who have been forcibly displaced are able to resume their studies and to develop transferable skills for their futures and King’s will continue to harness its expertise in education for the benefit of society.” 

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