The STG is preparing to welcome two students who were awarded scholarships via the University Corridors for Refugees (UNICORE), a UNHCR-backed initiative.
The students are part of a cohort of 45 winning candidates. While 37 arrived earlier today at Fiumicino airport in Rome, eight are due to arrive later this month.
The newcomers will join their fellow students after the mandatory quarantine period.
UNICORE is a UNHCR-backed project launched in 2019. Since its inception, 28 universities in Italy have offered over 70 scholarships to refugees. Candidates are selected by each institution according to academic merit and personal motivation. The winning candidates are refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The initiative has expanded rapidly in the last three years.
“The growth of this programme from its pilot phase with six students to the 45 who are taking part this year is a very important achievement” said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR Representative for Italy, San Marino and the Vatican State.
“Refugees do not only need to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity, but also need to be able to express their skills and competencies so to build a prosperous future for themselves and their host communities” she added.
Thanks to UNICORE’s wide network of partners, students will be supported in both their academic studies and settling in Italy. The UNICORE project includes a number of partners, such as the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian charity Caritas, Diaconia Valdese, the Centro Astalli, the Gandhi Charity and a host of local members.
Only 5% of refugees are enrolled in higher education, a troublingly low figure. The UNICORE partnership is a step towards expanding access to higher education for refugees.
By 2030, UNHCR aims to achieve a 15% enrolment rate in higher education programmes for refugees in host and third countries, including by expanding secure access routes such as university corridors.