UN considers Coimbra University a model for welcoming refugee students


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he United Nations (UN) recognizes the University of Coimbra (UC) as an example in the reception and integration of refugee students, revealed today this institution of higher education.

In an article published on the UN’s website, the institution, a member of the United Nations Academic Impact initiative, is referred to as “the model of a Portuguese university” in the reception and treatment of students in emergency situations for humanitarian reasons, says the UC in a press release sent to Lusa news agency.

The University supports these students through the Refugee Support Fund, created and financed by the institution’s own revenues.

The UN stresses that “the UC is uniquely positioned” to achieve “a more inclusive internationalization, integrating qualified and motivated refugees into higher education.

One of the examples of initiatives to facilitate the integration of refugee students are language courses taught at the Faculty of Arts.

Students have the possibility to attend a preparatory Year Zero of the first cycle of studies and psychological and academic support, provided by the Social Action services.

There is also all the work done by the International Relations Division, which includes “identifying students who volunteer to support the integration of their peers.

According to the UC, the UN highlights the good practices of the University of Coimbra in the “bureaucratic treatment of processes” of refugee students and its participation in “international projects to develop practical tools” in order to facilitate language teaching and the academic integration of these students.

The United Nations recalls, in the publication, examples of success that have passed through Coimbra since 2014.

Currently, the University hosts about 80 students in emergency situations for humanitarian reasons, with 16 different nationalities, with Nigerians, Ukrainians and Moroccans dominating the most.

United Nations Academic Impact – with over 1400 members – seeks to ensure the alignment of higher education institutions with UN goals in the promotion and protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability, and conflict resolution.

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