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Bologna – 11 march 2022

A Manifesto to strengthen and expand humanitarian corridors dedicated to young refugees students in Europe. This is the ambitious project launched  in Bologna by Caritas Italiana, ICMC (International Catholic Migration Commission), Consorzio Communitas, the Share network and the University of Bologna in collaboration with WUSC, Global Task Force on Third Country Education Pathways and UNHCR. The “Manifesto on expanding refugee tertiary education pathways in Europe” was presented during the International Share Network Conference “The Universities as Sposors” which for two days saw the heads of programs of legal access routes for refugee students from all over the world.

Today only 5% of people from wars and persecutions can access higher education (in 2019 it was only 1%), demonstrating that student reception programs such as Caritas Italiana’s Unicore are working. The action presented today stems from the experience of successful programs such as the UNICORE program of Italian Caritas, the German DAAD Leadership for Syria and Africa and the Student Refugee Program (SRP) managed in Canada by the WUSC.

-Unicore is a growing project and this year there are 31 Italian universities participating together with the diocesan Caritas that support the integration of refugee students – says Daniele Albanese of Caritas Italiana – The legal ways of entry for refugees for study reasons are widening in various European countries. The goal, also thanks to the Manifesto presented today, is to disseminate these quality integration programs at a European level, to build a peaceful future on our continent.

Among the contributions,  Elly Schlein, Vice-President of Emilia Romagna who connected remotely, explained that – Emilia Romagna is working on building a network between universities, institutions and civil society organizations to welcome and respond to the different needs of refugee students. Among the many projects activated there is Unicore of Caritas Italiana with which welcomed  50 Eritrean students from Ethiopia last summer. Education is the key to reducing inequalities, strengthening inclusion and building a better future with more opportunities for all -.

The University of Bologna – said the Rector prof. Giovanni Molari in his speech – believes in these forms of multilevel cooperation, as is the Manifesto that is presented today between different actors and we reiterates the importance of forms of international cooperation that allow the support of refugee students-

As explained in the Manifesto, situations such as those of Ukraine, the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Myanmar, Syria or Afghanistan, a country where higher education for women is precluded, make it clear that  global, effective and lasting action in compliance with European values is necessary. Strengthening university corridors is also an advantage for those who welcome, with the possibility of enriching the entire academic world thanks to the new experiences and skills brought by these students.

The appeal to the European Parliament of the promoters is to sustainably support the humanitarian corridors for students with three concrete actions. The first is to invest in staffs who select student corridor access applications. The second is to create funds for scholarships with the support also of the private sector. Finally, the involvement of local communities in supporting the integration of students, especially when they have to leave universities and enter the job world.

That of Bologna is only the first of a series of initiatives that will take the Manifesto across Europe. Organizations and individuals who want to support it can visit and put their signature.

The moment of Share Conference – 10-11 march 2022 – Bologna University

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