Academic Dugnad is a term defining a special effort to welcome refugees and asylum seekers into European societies, first used by the University of Oslo.
Dugnad derives from the Old Norse dugnaðr, meaning help, good deed. It describes a group of people doing voluntary work together for a specific purpose, as an extraordinary effort to create something of lasting value. The dugnad spirit is considered an important part of Norwegian culture. The University of Oslo encourages other institutions to use the term Academic Dugnad, as well as a special logo designed by Hanne Utigard. UNICA, sharing the dugnad spirit, makes this page a platform to share and promote the best practices in academic solidarity.
UNICA joined 'International Partnership in Academia - an Ethical Challenge?' Conference in Oslo. The Conference was organised by the University of Oslo, 12-13 November 2015.
Are there academic values common to all cultures? Is it possible to incorporate an ethical standard into an international cooperation agreement? These and many other questions were discussed during the Conference.
On 12 November 2015, a meeting of representatives of UNICA member universities involved or willing to become involved in the Scholars At Risk activities was held at the University of Oslo as a pre-event to the Conference.
More details under this link.
The VUB studies programme has been explicitly opened to help refugees. The University also supports refugees with language courses to help them to prepare for future studies at the VUB. The offer comprises an intensive English (and Dutch) language course in 2016 summer semester. The focus of this programme has to result in the enrollment for one of the study programmes at the VUB.
A lot of donations have been collected at the University and distributed in reception centres. The University has also undertaken an initiative aimed at creation of scholarships for refugee students and has conducted language courses in reception centres with a participation of volunteer teachers. The medical staff of the University's academic hospital has also been involved in work at reception centres along with the Doctors without Borders workers.
The biggest initiative of the ULB so far was the creation of 10 Chairs (for 1 year with a possibility of renewal), which gives refugee academics the opportunity to pursue their research at the University.
You will find more information and latest news related to this university campaign of solidarity with refugees on this site.
The University of Copenhagen is seeking permission to offer admission and further education courses to refugees.
The University of Copenhagen offers to set up measures that will further a smooth integration in the study environment, for example through dedicated mentoring and shadowing programmes, and also organise special counselling services aimed at enterprises in relation to a quick transition to the job market.
The University suggests to the Minister that the government establishes a new targeted student finance system to ensure free education for relevant refugees, not unlike the system Denmark used successfully in the Baltics in the 1990s.
Tallinn University employees have expressed a wish to teach languages to refugees on a voluntary basis and integrate the issues of migration and asylum into teaching, research and development activities. The initiative group at the TU School of Humanities plans to give language lessons to refugees and asylum seekers from March 2016. In case of extended interest, they are willing to offer English and German courses in addition to Estonian courses.
Integrating the language studies and the issues of migration and asylum into the everyday life of the university is helped by the offices and organisations dedicated to refugee issues in Estonia.
Other initiatives of the University include the following: using university spaces as temporary housing/ as a venue for organising events for asylum seekers, entrepreneurial advice, collecting laptops for refugee centres, lending/donating books from different areas of science, opening up courses for asylum seekers, organising meeting spaces at the university where students and asylum seekers could meet each other, establishing cholarships for researchers with refugee background.
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle has been developing a special initiative aimed at supporting refugee students and academics. Prof. Emmanuel Fraisse (Vice-President for International and European Relations, former Member of the UNICA Steering Committee) is in charge of the local coordination.
Welcome to Freie Universität Berlin Program:
New Courses for Refugees at Berlin Universities
The Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU), the Free University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin are working together to provide refugees with regular access to studies.
In cooperation with the Free University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin (TU), the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU) offers four extra German courses and propaedeutics, or preparatory courses, as of the winter semester 2016/2017. Expanding on their offer for refugees, the HU also applied for funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)’s “Integra” programme, and received a sum of €189,000. The aim is to effectively prepare refugees who are interested in further education for regular studies.
Four language courses, preparatory courses, and one-to-one consultations
With funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the HU preparatory college and the Free University are running a pre-existing language course at the HU. Two new language courses are beginning at the HU in October 2016, and the TU Berlin preparatory college runs a further course. Subject-specific preparatory courses are further supporting refugees alongside the language courses, giving them an insight into the academic work and relevant terminology.
Programme and measures for refugees at Berlin universities
The Free University, HU and TU Berlin have been running special programmes for refugees who are interested in continuing their academic careers in Berlin since autumn last year. Together, the three Berlin universities have already advised 1769 refugees on how to proceed with their studies, while 670 are taking part in these programmes.
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) provides additional educational training to refugees. The UvA reaffirmed its commitment by signing a collaborative agreement with the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF, which assists refugees who have tertiary educational qualifications. The efforts of the UvA and UAF are aimed at getting motivated and talented refugee students who have the necessary tertiary qualifications to study at the UvA. Students who have a refugee background will be able to take part in an introductory programme at the university. The programme encompasses language education and study skills, also focuses on the UvA’s expertise in the fields of Dutch culture, visual arts, constitutional law etc.
In addition, talented refugees who have completed an academic study programme have the opportunity to do a work placement at the UvA, combined with a tailored training programme. To increase the level of support for refugees and persecuted academics within the university and society at large, the UvA and UAF will organise joint activities.
Norway, University of Oslo
Portugal, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
NOVA has been receiving small groups of students from Syria identified through a national programme coordinated by the former President of Portugal, Mr Jorge Sampaio. The students have integrated without significant problems and received accommodation in NOVA student halls.
Sweden, Stokcholm University
The University currently works on a programme to assist international academics (not only refugees) to become integrated quickly in the Swedish labour market. Korta vägen is an initiative of the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen, AF) and Swedish HEIs, in which Stockholm University is one of the partners. The aim of the initiative is to help foreign academics establish themselves professionally as soon as possible after their arrival in Sweden.
KCL STAR (Student Action for Refugees) has over 80 volunteers who are doing lots of work to support refugees. They have hosted a panel event with LGBT+ refugees and ex-detainees, raising awareness of the issues around LGBT+ asylum in the UK. Also they have held collections for personal hygiene and beauty products at King’s Strand campus for refugee women in Calais, run an outreach programme at a London school to help recently-arrived young refugees complete their GCSE and A Level qualifications, run weekly clubs for refugee and asylum seeking children in Battersea, South London, helping young refugees with homework and personal development as well as organising day trips for them.
The European Commission has launched the Science4Refugees initiative to help refugee scientists and researchers find suitable jobs that both improve their situation and put their skills and experience to good use in the European research system.
Science4Refugees matches talented refugees and asylum seekers who have a scientific background with positions at universities and research institutions that are 'refugee-welcoming organisations' and that have suitable positions available, including internships as well as part-time and full-time jobs.
More information under this link.
European Commission launched an EU Survey on 24 September 2015 among universities and student organisations. It has been further completed following a workshop organised on 6 October 2015 with 25 representatives of Erasmus+ National Agencies, universities and student organisations. The aim of the survey is to highlight practices introduced and followed in different parts of the EU.
Challenges of integration in society
Challenges of changing mentalities/opening minds
For more details, please click here.
European University Association
Refugee Welcome Map
EUA aims to showcase and document the commitment of higher education institutions and organisations in supporting refugees with the Refugees Welcome Map campaign. EUA is collecting information on the initiatives by higher education institutions and related organisations and networks to support refugee students and researchers, via a brief survey and presenting them in an interactive map, which will be continuously updated. The interactive map helps the refugees gain access to education and employment in higher education.
The Refugees Welcome Map will also serve as a platform for exchange of good practice and for dissemination of information, e.g. on collaboration and funding opportunities.
For more information about the Refugee Welcome Map, click here.
The Coimbra Group members take part in initiatives to help refugees get back into further education after being displaced from their home country. The updated list of initiatives per 4 January 2016 can be found under this link.