Access to education focus of international event

The University is participating in an event that seeks to expand and enhance educational opportunities for refugees and displaced peoples.

A globe pictured against the backdrop of a library

Edinburgh colleagues will join an international gathering of university administrators, faculty, and education practitioners, NGO leaders, international agencies and humanitarian organisations as they seek to use education to improve the lives of individuals across the world.

The Refugee & Migrant Network International Conference takes place from 26 until 28 September at the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana in Rome, Italy.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Jesuit Refugee Service International Director, Tom Smolich SJ.

The University’s Alan Mackay Deputy Vice Principal, International and Edinburgh Global Director, will contribute to an international panel on ‘Exploring the Process of Humanizing Higher Education.’

This conference will support delivery of our shared goal of achieving the ‘15 by 30’ UNHCR global target - ensuring 15 per cent of refugee women and men, or a further half a million refugees, can access higher education by 2030. As a University of Sanctuary we will, together with our partners at this conference, continue to strengthen our tradition of welcoming and supporting those displaced and providing opportunities to rebuild lives.

Alan MackayDeputy Vice-Principal International

Discussion topics

Today, only five per cent of refugees have access to higher education compared with a global average of 40 per cent.

The event will focus on a range of topics including better understanding the root causes of forced migration, technology in refugee camp education, reimagining university admissions for refugees, professional development for displaced peoples and the impact of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Ongoing support

Participation in the event builds upon the University’s extended history of providing a place of sanctuary and education for those seeking protection.

There is a need for a longer-term approach to supporting the growing number of refugees and displaced persons, ensuring that these individuals can fulfil their potential through higher education.

The University is actively responding to this through a range of strategic projects involving the direct action of our staff and student communities.

Earlier this year the University announced further support for researchers forced to flee their country due to persecution, war or conflict who will have the opportunity to work at the University and live in Edinburgh, described as the most generous support package of its kind. The partnership with the Council for

At-Risk Academics (Cara) will fund a further ten fellowships, providing sanctuary for scholars and their families for two years.

This commitment to fund a further ten fellows is, to date, the most generous support of any UK university working with the UK-based charity. The funding will be open to academics across the world, who are at risk in conflict-affected areas and fragile states.

The University of Edinburgh Refugee Advisory Service offers coordinated advice to prospective students and staff with refugee related status.

The Refugee Advisory Group is a cross-section of the University community and aims to consult, share best practise and develop a shared community experience and expertise.

University of Sanctuary

The University was the first university in Scotland to be accredited as a University of Sanctuary. As part of this, it seeks to promote a welcoming culture within the University and wider communities for those seeking sanctuary.

International students represent 44 per cent of the University’s total community, coming from 180 nations.

The University is an active member of international networks including Una Europa, the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the Coimbra Group, Eurolife, UNICA, Universitas 21, and the U7 Alliance of over 30 universities from G7 countries.


Support for refugees, asylum and At-Risk Scholars

Academics at Risk

University of sanctuary


Scholars at risk