The 8 Catalan public universities in solidarity with the refugees
The member universities of the Association of Catalan Public Universities (ACUP) organized a public meeting to present a statement expressing their commitment to work together to give support to refugees.
The event signalled the start of a series of actions that the Catalan public universities are to conduct under the slogan of ‘Universitats Refugi’ (Refuge Universities) #UniversitatsRefugi
On Tuesday 13 October, the 8 Catalan public universities, members of the ACUP, organized a public event to present the statement “The Catalan universities in solidarity with the refugees” through which the universities express their commitment to work together to give support to the refugees.
The presentation enjoyed the participation of the president of the ACUP, Enric Fossas, and the vice-rector of the University of Barcelona, Carme Panchón, who read the statement, available on the website www.acup.cat. Through this statement, the universities undertake to promote and facilitate the active involvement of their communities and initiatives, and actions related to the reception of refugees coming or who have come to Catalonia. In the statement, the universities cite the UNHCR report ‘World at War. Global Trends. Forced displacement in 2014’ to recall that at the end of 2014, more than 60 million people around the world had had to abandon their homes because of war or persecution due to gender, race or religion.
Then, several experts in the field of conflicts, migration and refugees discussed the current plight of refugees and the role of the Catalan universities in the light of the present reality. The speakers also shared ideas to be implemented in the coming months. One example is the contribution by the representative of the University of Barcelona, Pere Vilanova Trias, who spoke of establishing “a meeting point among all the Catalan universities in which refugee students and lecturers can connect”. The representative of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Ricard Zapata Barnero, compared the university with a “lobby” which must put pressure on governments and keep the refugee crisis out of electoral discourse.
Awareness-raising talks about the Syrian conflict, providing the newcomers with access to academic activities or organizing specific spaces and services to meet the needs of these people are some of the planned #UniversitatsRefugi actions that will be published on the website www.acup.cat.