Higher education institutions in the UK have a long tradition of providing sanctuary for academics and young people forced to flee conflict and persecution and find safety elsewhere.

To build further on support measures already in place, the University of Aberdeen has committed to become a 'University of Sanctuary' and work in partnership with City of Sanctuary and other partner initiatives to inspire and support universities to develop a culture of welcome within their own institutions and their wider communities.  

There are three guiding principles that underpin the commitment to becoming a University of Sanctuary network:

  • Learn: learning about what it means to be seeking sanctuary, both in general (for the community in which the university is situated), and specifically (in the context of HE and the campus environment).
  • Embed: taking positive action to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within the institution including, but not limited to, the student body, students’ union, departments, faculties, senior management, administrative and campus management staff. To take steps to ensure this progress outlasts the current student population.
  • Share: sharing your vision, achievements, what you have learned, and good practice with other universities, the local community and beyond.

At present a small working group has been created made up from interested parties from across the university and headed by Abbe Brown, Dean for Student Support. The working group is engaged with the Learn principle and as such will be hosting a number of events to support this work. If any member of the university community wishes to engage with the team then they would be delighted to hear from you at sanctuary@abdn.ac.uk. Resources to learn more about University of Sanctuary and the support of students falling under its auspices are available via the University of Sanctuary.