University of Sanctuary
Welcome to the UEA University of Sanctuary website.
UEA is a University of Sanctuary. This accreditation is given to universities that show an ongoing commitment to creating a welcoming culture of inclusivity and awareness.
UEA is proud to welcome people seeking sanctuary (asylum seekers and refugees) into their community, recognising the wealth of experience and knowledge they bring.
The Universities of Sanctuary initiative currently engages with sanctuary seekers, and the wider university and local community in multiple activities. These include learning and teaching, student support, delivery of events such as UEA Refugee week, research projects, partnerships with community organisations and through the UEA scholarship programme.
UEA Refugee Week, 1-8 March 2024
UEA Refugee Week offers us the chance to celebrate being a University of Sanctuary and consider further the role we can all play in creating a culture of welcome for those seeking sanctuary. Normally refugee week is held in June. At UEA, and many other universities across the UK, it is instead celebrated in March to fit with the university timetable. Click here to read further about the events taking place this year.
The University of Sanctuary Steering Group
The UEA University of Sanctuary initiative is run by a university-wide steering group, consisting of over 40 members of staff and students. Within the steering group some of the core team members include:
Sophie North (Lecturer in Health Sciences) Sophie is the Academic Lead for the UEA University of Sanctuary initiative.
Madeleine Dutton (School of International Development) Madi is the Sanctuary Liaison Officer.
Peter Courridge (Finance, Planning and Governance) Peter is the University of Sanctuary Finance Lead, as part of his role, Peter manages the Sanctuary Scholarships and the UoS budget.
Ulrike Theuerkauf (School of International Development) Ulrike is the University of Sanctuary Equality and Diversity Liaison. Ulrike was the Academic Lead for the initiative from 2018-July 2020 and continues to be a core member.
Liz Ferguson(Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing) Liz takes the lead on managing the outreach work of the initiative, which includes promoting the Sanctuary Scholarships, running events and organising campus tours for potential sanctuary students.
Tara Welsh (Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing) is the University of Sanctuary Admissions Support Lead.
Deirdre Medler (School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Collaborative work to date has supported the development of ‘Norfolk Welcomes’ – a day of action to support education related to forced migration and progress towards developing a culture of welcome for those seeking sanctuary in the county’s schools.
Richard Bowater (School of Biological Sciences) Richard is the Associate Dean for Employability in the Faculty of Sciences and can offer advice and support for sanctuary seekers that are keen to engage with science subjects.
Claire Cuminatto (School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication) Claire is the Associate Dean for Employability in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and can offer advice and support for sanctuary seekers that are keen to engage with Humanities subjects.
Karen Blackney (Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing) Karen represents the initiative at senior management level, ensuring the work of the steering group is visible at relevant central committees and events.
Anna Robinson-Pant (School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Anna was the University of Sanctuary Academic Lead from June 2020-May 2021. Anna continues to play a key role in the development of the initiative.
Lindsay Howard (INTO and School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Lindsay is the University of Sanctuary English Language Support Lead. Lindsay also represents the work of the initiative at the Norwich Integration Partnership meetings.
Esther Priyadharshini (School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Esther is the University of Sanctuary representative on the UEA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee.
UEA PGR Migration Research Network
The PGR Migration Research Network is a cross-departmental community for PGRs at UEA who are working on migration-related issues. The Network was recently formed in 2023 and aims to create a space for both communication and connection, as well as to develop an expanding knowledge hub and share information on relevant conferences and events.
For additional information, please email Connie Lahiff at email@example.com.
UEA Sanctuary Students
UEA sanctuary students form a core part of our university of sanctuary team. They contribute to many of our projects and activities and together we work to consider what a culture of welcome can look like. Here are a couple of quotes from our sanctuary student group.
“It was just a dream for me to study at UEA as I did not have the right to apply for Finance. As an asylum seeker, the sanctuary scholarship was my only chance, and I had no other possibility to get a higher education.” Sanctuary Scholar, 2021
"The University of Sanctuary team has given me countless support. They made me feel at home in a place where I was alone and foreign. I can't thank the University of Sanctuary team enough for all of these." Sanctuary Scholar, 2021
The Universities of Sanctuary initiative grew out of the City of Sanctuary movement. City of Sanctuary is a non-governmental movement which promotes action to foster greater inclusion and integration in the UK, with a key focus on supporting refugees and asylum seekers. It holds the vision that ‘our nations will be welcoming places of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution’. Succeeding in this vision requires us to promote greater understanding and recognition of the ways in which people seeking sanctuary enrich society.
There are currently more than 70 cities and towns across the UK actively involved in the movement, including Norwich which joined in September 2016. Norwich City of Sanctuary is a coalition of local refugee support groups and community representatives. UEA is actively engaged with the Norwich City of Sanctuary steering group.
City of Sanctuary have created a University of Sanctuary resource pack which is available to view here.
The Schools of Sanctuary initiative celebrates the good practice of schools who welcome asylum seeking and refugee families into their school community and foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.
We are proud to have supported the work of the Norwich Schools of Sanctuary initiative since 2017.
UEA has been a proud member of CARA since 2019. CARA provides urgently-needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile, and many who choose to work on in their home countries despite serious risks. CARA also supports higher education institutions whose work is at risk or compromised.
Through CARA, UEA hosts placements for its at-risk academic members. For further information, please go to: www.cara.ngo