TITLE OF THE INITIATIVE
Arqus Alliance, Action Line 2 Widening Access, Inclusion and Diversity, task force 2.6 Enabling Refugees
DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
Since its inception, the Arqus Alliance has agreed to put people at the centre of its mission, as is reflected in its Mission Statement. Enabling people has been identified as a leitmotif within and for the Alliance and is one of our major defined goals for 2025. Similarly, amongst Arqus’s major goals widening access and inclusion, and quality learning for all sit alongside our people-centred approach, which pervades the entire philosophy of the Alliance. Knowledge is no longer a privilege, but a right. Universities, as societal institutions with their three major missions of education, research and outreach, can help disseminate a more democratic and inclusive perspective throughout society, by becoming a model and by educating people to embrace diversity. The actions address under-represented groups of all kinds: those with special educational needs due to physical and intellectual disabilities; migrant and refugee populations; women; LGBT; gifted students. Initiatives include mapping, planning, organizing, and sharing knowledge and best practices about structured actions to widen access and to foster public engagement, inclusion, attention to diversity, and sustainability in line with the 17 objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda, working as an open and innovative laboratory.
The task force 2.6 Enabling refugees follows the UN Sustainable Development Goals principle of “Leaving no one behind”. Arqus will develop inclusive strategies to dismantle barriers and strengthen opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers – both students and researchers – accessing the University. The aim is designing an Arqus Integrated Plan for refugees following the recommendations of the inHERE project, of the Universities of Sanctuary, and of the Council of Europe Qualifications Passport for Refugees, or other best practices at the partner universities, as reflected on the EUA map for refugee support programmes. Arqus aspires in this way to increase the number of asylum seekers and refugees able to continue their studies or academic careers, improving flexibility in admission procedures and efficiency in the assessment of qualifications. The aim is to spread the need of financial supports, language and other introductory courses, non formal education, tutoring and peer support, housing and any kind of supporting services a refugee student may need. Arqus aspires to develop a flexible model which could also be adopted by other institutions outside the Alliance.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
During the first year of Arqus the task force completed the mapping output, in order to have a full description of the situation in terms of supports and services for refugees, in each of the seven involved Universities (Bergen, Granada, Graz, Lyon, Leipzig, Padua, Vilnius). They also started sharing good practices and established a good communication among partners.