UNHCR and the European University Cyprus conclude a partnership agreement
UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the European University Cyprus conclude a Memorandum of Understanding, to benefit refugees in Cyprus through educational programmes and actions. The agreement, signed on the 17th of September 2019 establishes collaboration and provides for the development of relations between the two institutions in key areas such as a scholarship programme for refugees, research and awareness programmes as well as other actions aiming at empowering refugees.
“UNHCR very much welcomes and promotes such collaborations globally. Partnerships with academic institutions, such as the one we sign today with the European University Cyprus are essential at the present time when refugees face immense challenges in finding protection and integrating in the new countries,” said Ms. Katja Saha, UNHCR Representative in Cyprus and emphasized that “enhancing access to tertiary education for refugee youth will enhance the prospects for their self-reliance.”
The Vice Rector of Research and External Affairs of European University Cyprus, Professor Andreas Efstathiou, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the University, emphasised that with this agreement the University aims to support the efforts of UNHCR to enhance the prospects of young refugees for integration and access to Higher Education as in this way it fulfils its mission to serve the community. He also noted that the University aims to explore with UNHCR opportunities for other joint projects.
Investing in a refugee’s education is a collective endeavour with collective rewards, requiring the involvement of all levels of society to make the biggest gains. UNHCR hopes that at the forthcoming Global Refugee Forum, governments, the private sector, educational organizations and donors will unite to give their backing to this initiative – in the spirit of responsibility-sharing and collaboration that lies at the heart of the Global Compact on Refugees, which was affirmed one year ago.
The Memorandum of Understanding covers a wide range of areas, including a scholarship for one refugee in Cyprus for an undergraduate programme each academic year; promotion of international refugee law through lectures and workshops; development and implementation of community-based actions and joint research studies.
Last year, the Occupational Therapy Program of the European University Cyprus implemented, with the support of the UNHCR office in Cyprus, a pioneering program for refugees and asylum-seekers aiming at facilitating their integration in the local society. The programme is expected to continue this year.