The University of Amsterdam (UvA) will double its efforts to provide additional educational training to refugees. On Thursday, 18 February 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. ‘We call it a soft landing programme’, says Marjoleine Zieck, professor of International Refugee Law and dean of Admissions at the UvA. ‘The programme not only encompasses language education and study skills, but also focuses on the UvA’s expertise in the fields of Dutch culture, visual arts, constitutional law and so forth.’ In putting together the programme, the UvA uses the expertise of its faculties, the UAF and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), which has extensive experience in this regard.
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. Zieck: ‘This affords each participant the opportunity to increase their chances on the job market.’ The UvA hereby works closely with Projob, the Municipality of Amsterdam and the UAF.
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. This will include, among other things, an event at the UvA on World Refugee Day on 20 June. This year’s event will be combined with an open day for refugees at which they can learn more about the possibilities regarding participation in a study or work placement at the University of Amsterdam.
Mardjan Seighali, director of the UAF: ‘The UvA is moving forward with a clear vision and an eye for talent. This is exactly as it should be. Moreover, our partnership aligns nicely with a cosmopolitan, multicultural Amsterdam.’
The partnership between the UvA and UAF has a solid foundation. In 1948 the then rector of the UvA took the initiative for the creation of the UAF. Since then, the UvA and UAF have worked together closely with respect to refugee students, Scholars at Risk (SAR) and work placements for graduated refugees.