Community engagement

Further information about University of Sanctuary

A University of Sanctuary is an institution that has committed to establishing the best practice possible to welcome asylum seekers and refugees into the University community. The central aim is to help those in need and enable them to realise their potential, helping them to contribute positively to their new home.  In practical terms that means welcoming asylum seekers and refugees onto University courses and providing incentives, clear pathways and support to enable them to get involved with university life and make the most of the opportunity in front of them.

The Leicester ‘University of Sanctuary’ project involves colleagues from across the University coming together to find practical ways of involving students and staff in supporting refugees and asylum seekers, as well as actively involving refugees and asylum seekers in day-to-day University life.

Language is one of the many challenges facing those who leave their country. Our English Language Teaching Unit has the expertise to help those for whom English is not their first language.

The University of Leicester recognises how people with refugee status, or those in the process of applying for it, can enrich our institution. Through the Leicester City of Sanctuary programme, we have committed to ensuring that we are part of the city’s offer as a City of Sanctuary, contributing to local activities aimed at creating a culture of hospitality, both in the city and the University.

This University has a wonderful reputation for humanity, for culture, for generosity as do the citizens of this ancient noble city. I believe it will continue because you have now become a University of Sanctuary offering scholarships to people who come here for many reasons to seek safety, sanctuary and learning. And you, the citizens of this city, will be supporting them and, I hope, will continue to support them. It is a proud boast that I have that I was reared on this campus. It is a wonderful University. I feel it in my blood, and I am truly privileged to be here at this epoch-making event launching a new enterprise of generosity for new citizens of Leicester.

Sir David Attenborough

Being a University of Sanctuary is more than a case of being welcoming – it is about embedding, in every layer of the University, a deep understanding of the need of refugees in order to ensure that lives and talents are not wasted, and to harness the fantastic contribution that refugees and asylum seekers can make to our society.

Colleen Molloy, National Development Officer for City of Sanctuary

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