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UEA is a University of Sanctuary, an accreditation 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 University 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.

The Universities of Sanctuary initiative currently engages with sanctuary seekers in multiple activities, including 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 Sanctuary Scholarship programme

UEA is committed to helping reduce the barriers to participation in higher education faced by those seeking asylum in the UK. We are pleased to offer the following scholarships.

View this Scholarship

Welcome and Wellbeing Support

The sanctuary initiative works with student support services to provide tailored support to members of the UEA sanctuary community through a variety of streams of work including:

  • Welcome, Orientation and Assessment : All members of the UEA sanctuary community are invited to a one-to-one welcome meeting with Sophie North (University of Sanctuary Academic Lead) and Madi Dutton (University of Sanctuary Liaison Officer) where bespoke plans for support and links to services are made.

  • Peer Support, Community Development and Psychoeducation: All members of the UEA sanctuary community are welcome to monthly sanctuary drop-in sessions alongside other events and activities.

  • Sanctuary Community Led Participatory Art and Cultural Projects: In the 2022-2023 Academic year sanctuary led community participatory art and cultural projects included “The Suitcase”, “Families Beyond Boundaries” and “Sanctuary in The Kitchen”. Members of the sanctuary community, with support from the initiative, are currently developing the content for projects due to take place this academic year.

  • Access to free bicycles: All sanctuary community members and their family members are able to access free bicycles and accompanying repair service through an ongoing collaborative project with Norwich Bicycle Repair Coop

  • Linking to specialist trauma-informed support services: For students needing mental health support related to past complex trauma a referral can be made to specialist services.

UEA Refugee Week

Refugee Week is a UK wide festival, which celebrates the contributions, resilience and creativity of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Normally refugee week is held in June. At UEA, and many other universities across the UK, it is celebrated in March to fit with the university timetable. UEA Refugee Week offers us the chance to celebrate being a University of Sanctuary and consider further why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety. UEA Refugee Week will be held on 1-8 March in 2024.

Please visit the University of Sanctuary website for further details.

UEA Public Lecture Series

The University of Sanctuary public lecture series is designed to bring together people from across UEA and the general public to engage in debates on a diverse range of subjects relating to sanctuary, from maternity care to education and integration through sports. The programme can be found on the University of Sanctuary website.

Learn more about our work

Our dedicated website covers all aspects of our work.

UEA University of Sanctuary website

Contact us

If you have any queries or would like to contact the team, please use our general enquiries form.

Make an enquiry