‘Sanctuary’ UCC to give refugees full scholarships

University College Cork has received ‘University of Sanctuary’ status and will provide seven asylum seekers and refugees with full scholarships from next September.

Places of Sanctuary Ireland, a network of groups across the country that aims to raise awareness of asylum issues and aid refugees’ integration into Irish society by way of cultural engagement, has awarded UCC with the ‘University of Sanctuary’ status, along with Dublin City University and the University of Limerick.

UCC said that its seven scholarships will enable the asylum seekers and refugees who receive the bursary to study at the university and will cover full fees and tuition, in addition to a number of annual bursaries covering travel and expenses.

“Universities provide a key space in which to challenge societal assumptions and to support and highlight work aimed at fostering a culture of welcome for asylum seekers and refugees,” said UCC’s senior vice president Caroline Fennell.

“Through the range of initiatives cultivated over many years in UCC, we are dedicated to providing spaces to learn about what sanctuary means, to develop a sustainable culture of welcome and to share our practices and initiatives with communities and other higher education institutions.”

UCC lecturers Jacqui O’Riordan and Mike FitzGibbon were recently presented with UCC Exceptional Citizen Awards for their work in supporting asylum seeker children and adults living in Direct Provision.

The university will launch its inaugural Refugee Week next month, with events from February 5 to 9.

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