A year ago, in December 2016, DCU became the first University of Sanctuary in Ireland, committed to fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for asylum seekers and refugees in higher education. DCU developed a full programme of actions and events, including 15 sanctuary scholarships, an annual sanctuary keynote lecture, the MELLIE English language storytelling project, a colloquium on Aslylum Narratives, a new MA on Refugee Integration (MARI), a Refugee Week organised by the DCU Student’s Union and a book club in Mosney Direct Provision Centre. Many institutes of higher education in Ireland have followed DCU’s lead and a University of Sanctuary Ireland (UoSI) Steering Committee has recently been established to sustain this groundswell of support.
The inaugural meeting of the UoSI Steering Committee took place on Thursday 7th December in DCU on the Glasnevin campus. Its aim is threefold: to validate applications from HEIs in Ireland applying for University of Sanctuary status; to develop a UoSI network to conduct research and share best practice; and to establish a new advocacy role on asylum seeker and refugee issues concerning access to higher education and integration into Irish society. These aims underpin the core principles of the University of Sanctuary movement: to learn, take positive action and share knowledge.
The UoSI Steering Committee is chaired by Dr Veronica Crosbie (DCU) and current membership includes: Dr Chris McDermott (AIT), David Kelly (UCD), Donnah Vuma (UL), Fidaa Marouf, Dr Gillian Wylie (TCD), Julie Daniel (DCU), Lye Ogunsanya (House of Akina), Philip Berman (Places of Sanctuary Ireland), Dr Shadi Karazi (DCU), Thandi Sibiya, and Tian Yu Lloyd (Places of Sanctuary Ireland).
Pictured: Front row (L-R) Fidaa Marouf, Dr Gillian Wylie, Thandi Sibiya; Back row (L-R): Julie Daniel, Dr Veronica Crosbie, Tian Yu Lloyd, Dr Shadi Karazi, Donnah Vuma. Photo by Daire Hall.