It is the first University of Technology in Ireland to receive this designation.
Shannon University of Technology (TUS) was designated a ‘Sanctuary University’ today in recognition of its efforts to make higher education more welcoming and inclusive for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.
TUS is the first technology university in Ireland to receive this designation, which coincides with the United Nations World Refugee Day.
Under this new designation, TUS will roll out a three-year plan to help improve access to higher education for those seeking refuge in Ireland, as well as to promote cross-cultural awareness among staff, students and the wider community.
“At TUS, we are allies of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants and we intend to expand access to higher education for all who would benefit. Our candidacy for Sanctuary University reflects this commitment and we are honored to receive this designation,” said TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane.
“In our application for designation as a university of technology last year, we reiterated our commitment to welcoming those who seek refuge in our community. Under the direction of the TUS University of Sanctuary Committee, we aim to play a leading role in supporting asylum seekers, refugees and migrants across the Midlands and Midwest.
As part of its efforts, TUS will soon launch a Sanctuary University Scholarship Program, which will see the technological university award 20 scholarships each year for the next three years – 10 to students pursuing a CAD course at full-time and 10 to students embarking on the TUS Access program.
This is an offering that TUS intends to build on in the future, expanding to include postgraduate programs, with the help of private philanthropy and with the commitment of industry and financial support.
“Refugee crises are one of the defining features of our times and as universities, occupying a privileged place in society, we have an important role to play in responding to the challenges associated with these crises,” said Frances O’Connell, Vice President of Education and Student Experience and Chair of the Governing Board at TUS University at Sanctuary.
“As a sanctuary university, we will welcome refugees, asylum seekers and migrants into our community, create opportunities and encourage student engagement with people from diverse cultural backgrounds beyond the university campus. “
TUS already engages in a wide range of activities to support those seeking refuge, including organizing an annual International Refugee Week, community engagement with New Horizon, a local charity working with residents of direct sourcing, and the integration of refugee studies into curricula.
“The application for Sanctuary University designation has been compiled with considerable commitment from staff across TUS’s six campuses, proving it enables equality, diversity, inclusivity, and social responsibility,” Dr Chris McDermott, Professor of Law at TUS, explained.
“We have a strong mission and team in place within TUS to ensure that we are prepared to welcome refugees, international protection seekers and migrants into our higher education community and to support them in their academic success.