Dublin City University (DCU) was granted the status of
“University of Sanctuary” in December 2016.
It is the ﬁrst Irish university to receive this designaEon,
awarded by the City of Sanctuary, an organisaEon that
supports eﬀorts in the UK and Ireland to build a culture of
hospitality for people seeking sanctuary. The designaEon was
in recogniEon of a range of projects by Dublin City University
demonstraEng commitment to welcoming asylum seekers
and refugees into the university community and to fostering
a culture of inclusion for all.
President of DCU, Professor Brian MacCraith said:
“Dublin City University is pleased and proud to have been
accorded the status of a “University of Sanctuary” and it is a
ﬁQng recogniEon of the eﬀorts, across all elements of the
DCU community, to foster a spirit of inclusion and welcome
to people who are seeking asylum in Ireland or reside here
under refugee status. Our designaEon as a “University of
Sanctuary”, while very welcome, is not a ﬁnal desEnaEon in
itself, however, rather it is an important marker on a
journey. We are driven on this journey by being true to our
values of inclusion and equity of access to educaEon. I am
parEcularly pleased that the iniEaEves leading to our
recogniEon were not ‘top down’ but came spontaneously
from our student body and staﬀ in their eﬀorts to reach out
and support those in the refugee and asylum community.”
The main objecEve of the DCU University of Sanctuary
iniEaEve is to provide a welcoming environment and foster a
culture of inclusion for all. More speciﬁcally, the aims are:
• To provide a whole of university approach to supporEng
asylum seekers and refugees.
• To provide diﬀerent pathways to further educaEon and
university study for asylum seekers and refugees.
• To raise awareness amongst staﬀ, students and
community stakeholders of the challenges facing asylum
seekers and refugees
The range of initiatives by DCU include:
• Development of a University of Sanctuary resource pack
• The Langua-Culture Space iniEaEve, where DCU students teach
beginner level English to asylum seekers and refugees.
• The DCU Mosney Book Club providing books for people living in direct
provision who cannot borrow books from public libraries.
• DCU Refugee Week – a week of acEviEes to raise awareness among
students and staﬀ.
• The inaugural “University of Sanctuary” Lecture.
• A Head Start Online MOOC in partnership with the German Kiron
agency designed to prepare refugees for further study.
• A range of research projects tackling key issues such as migrant
integraEon into the school system and intercultural support.
• Working with DCU Student Spinout Social Enterprise (House of Akina)
to support “University of Sanctuary” iniEaEves.
• Establishment of a “University of Sanctuary” Steering Group,
comprising staﬀ and students.
• Development of a MA in Refugee IntegraEon through the Faculty of
HumaniEes and Social Sciences.
• Five scholarships for undergraduate study, with one provided by each
of the ﬁve DCU faculEes.
• Ten scholarships through DCU’s online educaEon plaaorm known as
The target groups include:
• People who are seeking asylum in Ireland or reside under refugee
• DCU staﬀ and students to raise awareness and foster a culture of
inclusion for all.
• Wider community stakeholders to seek support for DCU’s iniEaEves
for asylum seekers and refugees.
2016 - Ongoing
FUNDED BY IMPLEMENTED BY IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Professor Mark Brown
July 2017, Dublin, DCU Connected Scholarships
24th March 2017, Dublin, DCU MELLIE Project
RESULTS / LESSONS LEARNED
To date the DCU University of Sanctuary iniEaEve has contributed to a becer
understanding of the challenges of fostering a culture of inclusion for all and
resulted in the following lessons:
• A coordinated whole of university approach is required which is overseen by a
diverse steering group of stakeholders including both staﬀ and students.
• There is a signiﬁcant gap the current provision of supports and educaEonal
opportuniEes for asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland.
• Eﬀorts to support asylum seekers and refugees need to be mulE-dimensional
and situted in local contexts.
• There is considerable demand from asylum seekers and refugees for scholarships
for university study, especially through more ﬂexible models of online distance
• There is a need to provide access to textbooks, laptop computers, internet
access, subsidized travel and targeted learning support as part of any scholarship
September 2017, Dublin , University of Sanctuary Lecture
Conference on Higher EducaGon and Refugees in the Mediterranean region, 26-27 September 2017 - Beirut, Lebanon
20th December, 2016, Dublin
5 x Scholarships for Campus-based Study
10 x Scholarships for Online Study
University of Sanctuary
Dublin City University