The Staff Training Week at Sapienza University of Rome successfully concluded on 20th April 2018. Participants from 19 countries and more than 50 higher education institutions and organisations related to refugee integration into higher education, attended peer learning activities and workshops throughout the week.
Aiming at overcoming challenges and enhancing their own institutional activities for refugee inclusion, the group of participants has developed a concrete message to policy makers and university leadership in Europe.
The message will be presented at the Policy Dialogue event hosted by Campus France on the 22nd of May 2018.
Forced and voluntary migration are a continuous feature of our times, not short-term phenomena. Against this background, as a country as well as a higher education institution, it is a privilege to be inclusive. The potential contribution of refugees and migrants to our societies can be a clear gain for all of us.
In order to fully realise this potential, policy makers should develop a holistic integration framework, with regulation that considers the role of education, human rights, and human dignity. Governments should encourage the harmonisation and streamlining of procedures to ensure access to education on all levels, commencing with the learning of local languages as a matter of integration. Universities are committed to welcoming refugees. Good practice initiatives exist across Europe and they require not short-term, but permanent, accessible investment to support their sustainability.
Higher education systems have to be open and non-discriminatory. Effective inclusion of refugees into higher education relies on a long-term strategy linked to the university’s third mission and its social responsibility. This goal needs institutionalised and sustainable structures with refugees at the centre, as well as a commitment and involvement of the entire university community.
Therefore, we call upon European societies to commit in the long-term to support refugee inclusion through education.