"Universities should be a powerful lobby in order to support refugees" Prof. Pere Vilanova says
ACUP interviewed Pere Vilanova, Professor of Political Science and Administration. Constitutional Law and Political Science Dept (University of Barcelona)
Last week the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) talked with the Professor Pere Vilanova. He highlighted the importance on how universities can help the refugees. This interview is part of the campaign developed by ACUP, #UniversitatsRefugi, in order to promote and facilitate the active involvement of communities in their initiatives and actions related to the reception of refugees arrived to Catalonia.
The Catalan public universities are committed with the refugees arrived in Catalonia. Which are the main and the most urgent actions that should be implemented?
PV: I guess that various actions are needed. Obviously everything concerning validation studies or residency represents a handicap and formally we would not be able to deal with it. Universities, however, be a powerful lobby in order to make sure that the institutions responsible for these efforts accelerate the procedures, amend regulations, etc. Catalan public universities can also provide concrete things: language courses, legal advise, health and mental care, and boost a network of volunteers, among others.
Which could be the role of a European network in support and reception of refugee students?
PV: I would say that the actions could be similar to the ones Catalan public universities can do here, but on an European scale. I mean acting as a lobby at the European Union, but also helping UNHCR and Red Cross volunteers in the traffic fields, for example. Obviously there are many things that can be done, but first is necessary to look at which are most needed and what actions can be more efficient.