Photo: (L-R: Andrew Flaus, Mary Dempsey, Aidan Harte, Charlotte Bertrandy, Walter Gear , Stacey Dunne, Enda O’Neill, Aoibhinn Helly, Ciarán ó hÓgartaigh, Helen Maher) Link
The University of Galway has partnered with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, on a pioneering initiative to create opportunities for refugee students to come to Ireland and study. The University is taking part in the EU-Passworld project, with a specific focus on developing a roadmap to create new, safe and legal routes for forcibly displaced people to secure education scholarships in Ireland. The University of Galway to be the first university in Ireland to offer a higher education scholarship of this kind to a refugee. In contrast to the existing scholarships offered by the University of Galway and other universities across Ireland, education pathways enable refugees to access study opportunities by assessing them on their skills, qualifications, and academic potential, while also allowing them to find a safe and stable new home free from conflict and persecution. Instead of vulnerability, the starting point of education pathways is refugees’ ability. UNHCR, Nasc and University of Galway aim to create a roadmap for other higher education institutions in the country to follow as the project expands.
President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We have a responsibility to provide access and formal education pathways to support a refugee’s educational ambitions and skills development. The EU-Passworld project provides a platform for educators, employers and the community to work together towards a sustainable solution.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh added: “Our partnership with the EU-Passworld project seeks to provide such educational opportunities through our University of Sanctuary commitments, which in turn will enrich our student experience through diversity and internationalisation. The EU-Passworld project reflects our values of respect, openness, inclusivity and sustainability through increased social responsibility and a commitment to humanitarianism while creating a more welcoming society.
It follows the signing of the Manifesto on Expanding Refugee Tertiary Education Pathways in Europe by Professor Ó hÓgartaigh in May 2022. This manifesto underpins University of Galway’s commitment to work towards common advocacy, strategies, and the design of operational frameworks to further expand and create tertiary education pathways for refugees in Europe.