University of Sanctuary

Our University has launched an initiative to be recognised as a University of Sanctuary, committed to welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

An event in the Attenborough Arts Centre of the University saw nearly 100 people, including refugees and those who support them, gather to launch the project.

Leicester City of Sanctuary is a charity which aims to hold true to the multicultural and multi-ethnic ethos of the city itself, welcoming refugees and asylum seekers and integrating them into our city and community.

Phil Horspool, Director of the English Language Teaching Unit at our University, said: “The University of Leicester is committed to becoming a University of Sanctuary. At the launch event, we heard poetry readings and music from those seeking sanctuary as well as from campaigners.

“Our aim is to involve colleagues from across the University to come together to find ways that we can practically involve students and staff in supporting refugees and asylum speakers as well as actively involving refugees and asylum seekers in University life .”

University of Sanctuary is an institution that 'Offers good practice in welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into the university community and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.' Practically it means welcoming asylum seekers and refugees onto University courses, whether English Language or otherwise, and providing incentives and routes for them to get involved.

Among the refugees who recited poetry was Malka Al-Haddad (pictured) who said: “This event for me is a great day and we are celebrating University of Sanctuary with this wonderful event.  Asylum seekers and refugees face many challenges, including learning English. I cannot believe I got this chance from the University of Leicester and I am so grateful to all the staff from the University and City of Sanctuary to make this happen.  How can we release our skills and talents if our English is not strong enough?  That is why learning language skills is so important.”

Among the organisations at the event were NEST, the new evidence search team, Growing Points and Leicester City of Sanctuary.