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UNICORE kicks off again: 'university corridors' for refugee students

Now in its fifth edition, the project will give 61 refugees the opportunity to pursue their academic career in Italy. The University of Bologna is one of the 35 universities involved

UNICORE project students arriving at the airport (Photo: UNHCR/Alessandro Penso)

The fifth edition of the UNICORE - University Corridors for Refugees project has kicked off, giving 61 refugees the opportunity of pursuing their academic career in Italy. The students, currently refugees in Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, will be selected based on merit and motivation, through a public call for applications launched today.

The project offers refugees the opportunity to arrive in Italy regularly and safely to pursue their studies, in line with the goal of the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) of strengthening entry channels for refugees and achieving an enrolment rate of over 15% in education programmes in countries of first asylum and third countries.

The University of Bologna is one of the 35 Italian universities involved: it participates together with the University of Parma and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia with its degree programme in Food Safety and Food Risk Management.

The UNICORE project was born in 2019 from an initiative of UNHCR Italy and the University of Bologna with an initial pilot phase during which six students were hosted by two universities. It then expanded to involve more than 40 Italian universities that in five years have offered more than 180 scholarships to refugee students.

The project is made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UNHCR, Caritas Italiana, Diaconia Valdese, Centro Astalli, Banca Etica and Gandhi Charity, as well as a wide network of local partners who will provide the necessary support to the students during the Two-Year Master’s Degree programme, and foster their integration into university life. The selected students will immediately begin their path of inclusion in Italy thanks to Italian language courses that will be provided remotely by the Universities for Foreigners of Perugia and Siena and the University of Notre Dame.