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.
The national City of Sanctuary statement in response to the situation in Ukraine
Friday 25th February 2022
War in Europe: the UK must provide Sanctuary
Today is a dark day. Our thoughts are with the many Ukrainian people who now will be fearing for their lives, their families, their homes, their futures.
This will be the most significant conflict on the European continent since at least the collapse of Yugoslavia, and a sudden increase in people forced to flee the country is likely.
We must treat those who are forced to flee as we would want to be treated – with understanding and compassion.
We join other British charities in urging our government to protect those fleeing any violence in the region, and to commit for an emergency resettlement programme for those who are displaced, should the need arrive.
The current fast-moving crisis underlines the fact that many people caught in conflict cannot simply wait months or even years for visas or other official paperwork.
That’s why the government must urgently rethink its flawed Nationality and Borders Bill, which has been condemned by the UNHCR, and would treat such people forced to make dangerous journeys to safety as criminals.
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 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