INSTITUTION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE
The University of the Aegean
University of the Aegean, Department of Marine Sciences and Department of Geography, University Hill, 81100 Mytilene, Greece
- Language and other introductory courses for refugee students
- Non formal education activities for students
- Recognition of studies and prior learning for refugee students
- Tutoring and peer support for refugee students
- University policies on access to higher education
- Newly arrived refugees
DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES
Since 2015, a large number of migrants (refugees and asylum- seekers) from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa have arrived in Greece and continued their onward journey to western European countries where they settled. As various European Union (EU) countries have later blocked the flow of migrants from Greece to their final destination, thousands of them have been trapped in Greece, confined in overcrowded, temporary camps (known as “hot spots”) and awaiting the processing of their asylum application. The Universities responded to the challenge of the refugee influx, especially the University of the Aegean (UAeg), which is located on the eastern Mediterranean migration route. The migrant influx did not affect the University’s operation but created the need for new services and novel curricula.
A recent survey of the qualifications of the migrants arriving on Lesvos island showed that almost 7% of them had a university degree and 1% of them a Master’s or even a PhD degree (SCIREA project findings). The SCIREA project, with the UAeg acting as coordinator, focuses on skilled refugees and helps to integrate them into European academic institutions and to improve their qualifications. Tailor-made seminars and webinars are implemented and scholarships are given to refugee scientists to restart their academic career.
The objectives of this project are:
Screening the training needs of highly skilled scientist refugees living in the Greek islands in relation to the foreign labor market dynamics,
Create webinars and a companion SCIREA e-book (application procedure, CV) in order to apply to a European university or to a research institute (Farsi, Arabic, English)
Organize ‘tailor-made’ life-long learning seminars dedicated to highly skilled;
Organize 25 months of Fellowships for experienced refugee researchers (3-12 months internship duration) for short research/training stays in its premises in various laboratories and scientific fields.
Organize match-making events of the highly skilled refugees with the academics.
Organize dissemination events that refugees present their progress and achievements to the academic community and to the public sector.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
The SCIREA project gave five fellowships with duration of six months each, with a view to re-integrate into the research and academic community highly skilled refugees.
- The leader of dissemination and exploitation presented the SCIREA program on the 12th of April 2018 in a meeting held by the United Nations High Committee for Refugees (UNHCR).
- The SCIREA program was also presented to the community leaders in the Moria camp. Community leaders were asked to communicate the information to their communities.
- Announcements were hung up in certain spots in Moria camp and in other places populated by refugees.
Information about SCIREA was also given to a legal advice office, which deals with refugees.
- Five refugees were selected on the basis of academic qualifications. The eligible candidates were experts in applied maths, engineering, economics, psychology and computer science.
- Announcement of the fellowships can be found at: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/338697
In the framework of the SCIREA Project, the University of the Aegean announced two (2) open research positions for refugees scientists of various disciplines (mathematics, environmental science, engineering, informatics). (Research positions announcement can be found at: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/433075)
Academic Mentors are used in number of ways by different refugees, depending on their own tradition, pedagogical styles, requirements of fellowship project. The Academic Mentor position is usually set up to accommodate and offer an extra, more academic. This position enables gifted refugees to remain engaged and performing to the best of their abilities.
A wide list of exploitable products depicts the societal impact of the implemented project in promoting refugees' integration within the academic community (the list is available here: https://scirea.aegean.gr/index.php/result).