2 refugees are in France to do their masters.

21 young refugees are in France for a master’s degree thanks to the univ’R project.

21 refugee students in 8 first asylum countries and from 7 sub-Saharan African countries started their academic year in France. They were hosted in 12 higher education institutions as part of the UNIV’R project, led by UNHCR, the United Nations Agency for Refugees and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, with support from the Migrants network. .

This project aims to develop a harmonized and sustainable university corridor to welcome refugees residing in a first country of asylum at master’s level, according to a press release from the university agency of the Francophonie sent to Afrikipresse.

Personalized access to the university system, administrative, legal and psychosocial support and financial support (scholarships and living) are provided to selected students from the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Mauritania, and refugees in Cameroon, Chad, Togo, Niger, Senegal, Morocco, Tanzania and Uganda.

They continue their studies at 12 higher education establishments: the universities of Bordeaux, Bordeaux Montaigne, Clermont Auvergne, Jean Monnet Saint-Etienne, Littoral Côte d’Opale, Nanterre, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris 8 Vincennes-St Denis, Paris 13 Sorbonne Paris Nord, Picardie Jules Verne, Rennes 1 and ENIB in Brest. In total, more than 30 establishments have already expressed their interest in the UNIV’R project, which will gradually benefit 50 refugees over two years.

Only 6% of refugees have access to higher education

Currently, only 6% of refugees worldwide have access to higher education. UNHCR has set a target of reaching 15% enrollment by 2030 (Refugee Education 2030: A Strategy for Refugee Inclusion, 2019).

Complementary admission pathways, such as university corridors, provide safe and regulated pathways for refugees in addition to resettlement. They allow refugees already established in a first host country to legally stay in a third country. While 85% of refugees worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, these durable solutions facilitate access to protection and are a manifestation of solidarity with first-reception countries.

A multi-stakeholder project

Many actors collaborated to allow the UNIV’R project to see the light of day, including the refugees themselves. Higher education institutions, in charge of selecting and hosting the winners, also mobilized funds, from their budget or thanks to the support of the private sector and foundations, to grant students a scholarship and life.

The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs – and its operator Campus France -, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the General Secretariat for European Affairs have actively participated in the development of the project.

Associations such as the Forum Réfugiés or the Fédération de l’Entraide Protestante (FEP), as well as civil society, support administrative and social support institutions for students.

project coordination

UNHCR, United Nations Refugee Agency

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is an international organization whose mission is to protect forcibly displaced people. For over 70 years, UNHCR has been helping uprooted people on their journey of exile: it is present in 130 countries to meet vital needs, providing shelter, water, medical assistance, etc.

The AUF, the University Agency of La Francophonie

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), created 60 years ago, is today the world’s leading university network, with more than 1,000 members: universities, faculties and research centers in nearly 120 countries.

The MENS Network

The MEnS Network is made up of more than 50 French ESR establishments, civil society partners and public institutions. All are working to better welcome and support students and researchers in exile. It relies, in particular, on transitional training courses that allow for the resumption of studies and integration into society.

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