On Wednesday 16 November 2022, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the University of the Aegean signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to advance refugees’ integration and socio-economic inclusion, as well as to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host community.
This collaboration will concentrate on implementing joint projects in the fields of education, research, identification of durable solutions for refugees, promotion of self-reliance, and access to social, economic and legal rights.
Maria Clara Martin, the Representative of UNHCR in Greece, commented that “We are very excited to sign this Memorandum of Cooperation with the University of the Aegean. Working with the academic community is essential, because they document all the work that is being done in refugee response and conduct valuable research. Together, we can offer refugees the chance to spend their time productively while they are on the islands, and the opportunity to seek a career as academics, IT technicians, or in any other fields they may desire”.
Professor Chryssi Vitsilaki, Rector of the University of the Aegean, noted that UNHCR does admirable work in areas crucial for refugees. “It is very important that UNHCR is on the Greek frontier shores, which gives us the chance to work together for the benefit of all those in need. When the first refugees started arriving on the shores of Lesvos in 2015, students and academics from the University spontaneously offered humanitarian aid. Since then, the University of the Aegean has carried out significant and multifaceted scientific and research work, which in cooperation with national and international institutions and Networks, such as “Inspire Europe” and “Scholars at Risk,” promotes and supports all efforts to assist people who have been forced to flee in order to ensure a better future for themselves and their families. Given that the refugee women and men who arrive here are full of potential, it is our obligation to offer them activities and tools that will support them in their daily lives, as well as in their future.”