Students with refugee status who want to further their education in north-east Scotland have the opportunity of special support, thanks to an initiative from the University of Aberdeen.
The University is funding a new ‘Shining Lights’ Scholarship scheme, initially with at least four awards that will be a mix of undergraduate and taught postgraduate places, to support refugee students who have chosen to come to the UK.
Announcing the new scholarships, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor said: “This University has always opened its doors to the world. Today we all benefit from a diverse multinational student and staff community of 120 nationalities, united in a quest for excellence in learning, teaching and research, and for making a real difference to the world.
“Our community of students and staff has been shocked and saddened over recent months by the plight of those fleeing violence and repression, and we want to do something practical to help. Access to higher education is vital, not only in benefiting the individual student, but in influencing thinking and aspiration, and in changing society.
“The Shining Lights Scholarships we are providing will cover tuition fees, year round accommodation, and support for living costs for four refugee students.
“However, this is just a start, and a team effort will enable us to do so much more than we can do alone. I invite our alumni, friends, supporters, communities and businesses here in the North-east and beyond to get involved and support our new Shining Lights Scholarship Fund and help us welcome and support even more refugee students to gain the benefits of studying at the University of Aberdeen.”
The involvement of the Aberdeen University Students Association (AUSA) has been vital in launching the new scholarships.
Laura Cristea, President for Ethics and Environment, said: “We are very excited to welcome refugees into our family of students and prove our solidarity through education. We have worked hard to ensure the recipients of these scholarships will enjoy a full breadth of experience at University and benefit from all of our support systems. We will continue to work with the University and our local community to alleviate some of the suffering in conflicted areas, and campaign for just and humane conditions, for example through setting up collection points for refugees.
Dominic O’Hagan, last year’s President for Ethics and Environment, added: "These scholarships are recognition that our universities have a moral obligation to help shape the world around us in a positive way.”
Gifts to the University of Aberdeen Shining Lights Scholarship Fund can be made online on the University of Aberdeen website here.