Over the past 2 years, the inHERE project has contributed greatly to having the integration of refugees placed on the educational agenda in Europe, by strengthening knowledge sharing, peer-support and academic partnership among partner institutions and universities in Europe.
Main highlights and results over the 2 year period include:
- Good Practice Catalogue in welcoming refugees in higher education, with an in-depth analysis of initiatives of higher education institutions and organisations committed to welcoming refugees that have participated in EUA’s Refugees Welcome Map Campaign;
- Awareness events in Barcelona (University of Barcelona, 7 July 2017), and Rome (Sapienza, 18 October 2017) to sensitise higher education governance concerning the role of universities in the refugee crisis;
- Series of webinars where key topics related to the integration of refugees in higher education were discussed to enable exchange and collaboration among interested stakeholders;
- Staff training week (Sapienza, 16-20 April 2018), providing a set of instruments to enhance the role of European universities in the integration and support of refugees and testimonials from EU universities on their experiences and practices;
- Guidelines for university staff members to improve or to initiate assistance activities for integrating refugee students within the university, with a self-assessment tool, and a variety of implementable services suitable for any institutions, regardless their level of experience in integrating refugee students;
- Policy dialogue event (Campus France, May-18) on how national and European policies can support refugee students and researchers in European Higher Education;
- Synergy workshop for projects supporting refugees in Europe (EUA, 19 September 2018), that offered a platform for exchange with other EU co-funded projects on the situation of refugees in higher education and research, as well as with international organisations and different DGs of the European Commission;
- Recommendations from the project to enhance the access of refugees to higher education in Europe and their integration, addressing the European Union, EU Member States, and higher education institutions in Europe.
Thanks to inHERE many higher education staff have now a better understanding of how to provide opportunities for refugees, and we realised that many higher education institutions are committed to support refugees and to provide opportunities to participate in the European Higher Education Area.
However, strategic approaches, leadership attention and support are still not common role. Concrete links to the mission of the institution or to its diversity management strategy would be vital for the sustainability of the – often ad-hoc and short-term – initiatives for refugees. Institutions need to further enhance collaboration, both with each other and with other organisations, in order to pool resources and coordinate initiatives. An international platform for exchange and collaboration would facilitate this effort and foster long-term synergies.
We look forward to this continuing during the coming years, and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed to our project and insightful discussion.