It’s far too easy for us to forget that behind the term ‘refugee crisis’ there are thousands of individual human stories and lives. Those displaced from their homes in Syria and northern Africa have not only had to flee their homes but also have had their lives put on hold. While providing shelter, sustenance and clothing is important we must also ensure that opportunities for individuals are open and that communities are allowed progress and integrate into local societies.
As such I’m delighted to lend my support to the campaign below. This is call from friends and organisations operating in Greece for our local universities throughout the European Union to develop a scholarship programme for refugees to begin, continue or complete third level studies.
It would be an admirable act for our local universities in Belfast to open their doors and after all Einstein, Freud and Brecht were all refugees at one point in their lives. We need to create paths for those fleeing conflict, safe paths, legal paths, just paths.
Student ! The most frequently mentioned occupation of those refugees questioned in a survey carried out by UNHCR in various locations in Greece along the Greek-Turkish border.
Most refugees that are fleeing the conflict in Syria are, educationally, the flowers of their country. We, the PES Activists, cannot stand to see flowers withering. We are ready to take action and work together with progressive parties and citizens!
We ask from the European Union in collaboration with EU universities to undertake gender balanced mobility programs for young refugees or/and citizens coming from countries with high possibility of their citizens to be granted asylum and to offer them scholarships in order to be able to come safely and legally to study in our Union.
Scholarships should cover tuition fees, travel expenses and the cost of decent living in the reception countries. One position in each one of the higher education Institutions of the EU means 3300 young refugees per year should be offered a chance for a new life but also the educational background to rebuild their home countries the day after the conflicts.
But it means also something more. It means that they will also become our culture ambassadors that they will play a key role in the near future for the establishment of core values of the Union, like peace and democracy, in their home countries and they will be a permanent link of the Union and third countries.
Your Support, Their life, Our future
…we create paths, legal paths, just paths.