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Trinity College Responding in Times of Refuge

26 October 2017 - A project aimed at facilitating engagement between Trinity College Dublin and refugees and asylum seekers living in Ireland’s Direct Provision accommodation centres was launched recently at the Irish School of Ecumenics by Vice-Provost Professor Christopher Morash.

Lady Dufferin, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava

‘Learning to Build New Lives: Trinity College Responding in Times of Refuge’ is an initiative to help shape Trinity’s response to the current crisis in Ireland for those seeking refuge.

The project, which held a number of meetings earlier this year with asylum seekers living in and outside of direct provision, refugees, university staff and students, used the university space to discuss how Trinity might become a place which could assist people seeking asylum and refuge and ‘learn to build new lives.’

The meetings included intercultural gatherings and storytelling, as well as discussions around the barriers facing asylum seekers and refugees in accessing education in Ireland.

The project was led by Dr Gillian Wylie, Assistant Professor, International Peace Studies and Dr Fintan Sheerin, Lecturer in Intellectual Disability Nursing at Trinity’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. Dr Wylie commented, ‘increasing forced migration and the continuing arrival of asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland, places a responsibility on universities to respond. Education is vital to the integration and empowerment of people seeking refuge.’

Dr Sheerin outlined the central goal of the project: ‘We wanted to find out the views of refugees and asylum seekers about how our university can meet their needs, rather than the university community deciding for them’.

‘We are now in the process of implementing the project and talking to university senior management about creating a framework to realize the recommendations.’

The recommendations include setting up a Partnership Advisory Group which will bring together individuals from the university community and asylum seekers and refugees, with the aim of driving the recommendations of the project and promoting future university activities related to the issues of direct provision, asylum, refugee status and education.

Further recommendations include the development of networking pilot projects between the university  community and asylum seekers and refugees facilitating information sharing and career mentoring; working with Trinity Access Programmes to explore opportunities to include asylum seekers and refugees in the Foundation programme and in looking at other access routes to Trinity; and exploring the possibility of Trinity  providing new courses to meet the education needs of asylum seekers and refugees including extra-mural courses or language supports.

The project was funded by Trinity College Dublin’s Equality Fund which awards small grants to staff and students on a competitive basis in support of Trinity’s strategic goals for quality and diversity.

The 2017/18 Equality Fund is now open for applications. The application deadline for the current Equality Fund open call is Friday, 3 November at 5pm. For more details please click here.

Contact: Aoife King, Communications Officer | Trinity Long Room Hub | | 01 896 3895

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