14/06/2024

Queen's University Commits To Sanctuary Status

Queen's University has launched its civic mission whilst it pledges to become a Civic University and University of Sanctuary.

The journey toward Sanctuary status highlights the University's commitment to its social charter, aiming to warmly embrace individuals seeking sanctuary by facilitating access to higher education and providing support to local refugee communities.

The move will further endorse Belfast's City of Sanctuary status, passed as a Council motion in April 2022, and build on recent support measures made by Queen's such as increasing provision of fellowships for at-risk academics and Copty Scholarships for Palestinian students.

The event took place at Queen's University, featuring a live programme hosted by Donna Traynor, an address by the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Greer, and panel discussions involving representatives from business, community and education sectors.

Speaking at the event on 11 June, the Vice Chancellor said: "Queen's has always played a pivotal role in the social, cultural and economic backdrop of Northern Ireland. Over the years we have produced a skilled workforce of graduates in many disciplines, worked with external partners to address shared challenges locally and internationally, and been a place for open debate and dialogue.
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"The signing of today's pledges to become both a Civic University, and University of Sanctuary, will see us build on these strong foundations."

Queen’s University's pursuit of Civic University status underscores its acknowledgment of universities' unique role and responsibility in shaping society. Collaborative initiatives, like co-designed community projects in the Greater Shankill and Market areas, have delivered significant positive outcomes, showcasing how partnerships among communities, policymakers and academics can effectively support enduring societal change.

Through its Widening Participation programme, Queen's is also committed to helping those hugely able, but highly unlikely, to participate in Higher Education, overcome obstacles that stand in their way.

Dr Ryan Feeney, Vice-President of Strategic Engagement and External Affairs, stated: "Queen's University is committed to tackling disadvantage and improving outcomes for everyone in our society, particularly for children and young people, and for those who face a greater degree of obstacles in accessing higher education. In collaboration with partners across the public, private and third sectors, we will use our position to help solve the challenges faced by individuals and communities at a local, regional and global level."

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