In June, [Refugees Welcome!] was honored to be featured at the United Nations Universities Join Together Conference. The conference took place on June 7 and involved participants from universities all over the world. Throughout the day, attendees presented on and discussed various projects related to refugees and immigrants and using campus resources and connections as a means of support.

De Monfort University (DMU) in Leicester has been leading the efforts to engage universities all over the world to be part of the UN’s Together campaign. DMU met with nine other partner universities in January to begin the effort, which aims to support refugees around the world. Led by DMU, the Universities Join Together efforts are a part of a larger Together campaign.

According to the UN, “TOGETHER is a United Nations campaign that promotes respect safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. Launched in September 2016, its aim is to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination… TOGETHER is a global initiative led by the United Nations that wants to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants.”

As of June, the Universities Join Together campaign had 37 partner universities. At the conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, representatives from some of these institutions presented their plans and organizational structures, which were then voted on to see which the network of universities would agree to try to implement. [Refugees Welcome!] Director, Charla Burnett, presented during the third session, which addressed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and particularly SDG 16: Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. View our presentation in the third session.

We were glad to receive positive feedback on our organizational structure and mission. George Anthony from the Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute commented, “What you just described is literally a hidden gem, and a model for the world… What you just described was literally a foundation that we need to give to all the other cities.”

[Refugees Welcome!] was honored to be able to share our ideas with representatives from universities around the world, and we look forward to attending future events and to networking with universities doing similar, important work!

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