June 20, 2023

Celebrating the commitment of Mediterranean Higher Education Institutions on World Refugee Day 2023


June 20th is World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe.This year, the focus of the World Refugee Day is on the power of inclusion and solutions for refugees under the theme Hope away from Home. A world where refugees are always included.“Including refugees in the communities where they have found safety after fleeing conflict and persecution is the most effective way to support them in restarting their lives and enable them to contribute to the countries hosting them. It’s also the best way to prepare them to return home and rebuild their countries, when conditions allow them to do so safely and voluntarily, or to thrive if they are resettled to another country.” Source https://www.unhcr.org/events/world-refugee-day-2023

In an ever-changing world influenced by geopolitical developments, policy transformations, mixed migration flows, and varying societal attitudes, many Higher Education Institutions across the Mediterranean are renewing their commitment to supporting refugees. These institutions are not only providing support to refugees and migrants as students and staff on their campuses, but also actively working towards their integration into the surrounding communities.

Since 2015, UNIMED, along with its members and partners, has been involved in projects and initiatives aimed at the integration of refugees and migrants in education, as well as in society, such as:

Ci-RES – Création de Capacités institutionnelles d’Intégration des Réfugiés dans l’Enseignement Supérieur (2020-2023)

The Ci-RES project improved the integration of refugee students in Algerian universities. Ci-RES piloted the reorganisation of the organic and functional structure of the Algerian partner universities in order to respond to the current problems of integration of refugees. This project, bringing together Algerian, Spanish, French and Italian partners, provided capacity building activities to develop normative and institutional mechanisms to promote the integration of refugees into Algerian higher education.

inHERE – Higher Education supporting Refugees in Europe (2016-2018)

The inHERE project enhanced knowledge-sharing, peer-support and academic partnerships to facilitate the integration and the access of refugees to higher education in Europe.

RAISD – Reshaping Attention and Inclusion Strategies for Distinctively vulnerable people among the forcibly displaced (2019-2022)

The RAISD project identified highly vulnerable groups among forcibly displaced people, analysing their specific needs, and finding suitable practices to address them.

RESCUE – Refugees Education Support in MENA Countries (2016-2019)

The RESCUE project supported universities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq in structuring an effective response to the problem of high number of refugees in the country, by creating ad hoc units (the Refugee Student Operational Support Unit – R-SOS), with the mission to structure specific services supporting the refugee students in resuming their academic training path.

SAFE – foSter cooperAtion For improving access to protEction (2021-2023)

 The SAFE project aims to foster the collaboration between stakeholders at a transnational level in order to develop and improve access to protection through private sponsorship schemes and complementary pathways for beneficiaries of international protection. Within this framework, UNIMED is implementing complementary pathways for the benefit of 3 refugee students who will enrol in a Master’s Degree programme at the University of Cagliari in the academic year 2023/2024. UNIMED established information and support desks in the universities involved and trained the staff in charge in order to manage the implementation of the university corridors and support the refugee students during all the stages of their pathway.

UNI(di)VERSITY – Socially responsible university for inclusive societies in the era of migration (2019-2022)

The UNI(di)VERSITY project supported European Higher Education Institutions to uphold their role towards building inclusive societies in the era of migration, with a view to promoting the social inclusion of migrants and refugees.

Global Task Force for Third country education pathways

Furthermore, UNIMED is a member of the Global Task Force for Third country education pathways, which promotes and supports the expansion of tertiary education as a complementary pathway for refugee students. Members of the task force include representatives of states, regional and international bodies, the private sector, NGOs, refugee representatives, UN agencies, and donors who are engaged in or supporting complementary education pathways and are committed to expanding tertiary education opportunities as a durable solution for refugee students.

These initiatives are just a few examples of the work being done to ensure that refugees are given opportunities to rebuild their lives. On World Refugee Day, it is crucial to acknowledge these endeavours and ponder over the progress made.

However, the journey toward expanding access to education for refugees is far from complete. UNIMED urges its members and partners to take a step forward in exploring sustainable and inclusive approaches, creating educational opportunities, as well as advocating for inclusive policies, mobilising political will, and forging new partnerships that amplify their voices and enhance the engagement and participation of refugees into our societies.

INSIGHTSRead the interview with Prof. AtrushiThe importance of accessing education: former refugee, current President of the 3rd largest public University in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The testimonial of Prof. Dawood Atrushi


At this page you can find all the projects and initiatives focusing on the topic of Refugees and Migrants.

To know more about specific initiatives, do not hesitate to contact UNIMED at unimed@uni-med.net.