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University of Limerick announces UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships

Imran Sulaiman originally from England living in Dublin at the citizenship ceremony at the UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships. Picture: Sean Curtin/True Media

University of Limerick announces UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships

University of Limerick has been designated a University of Sanctuary in recognition of its initiatives welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into its university community.

President of UL, Dr Des Fitzgerald made the announcement on Monday (June 19, 2017) at the first Department of Justice and Equality Citizenship Ceremony hosted by the university. The ceremony saw 355 people from around the globe receive their Certificates of Naturalisation, officially becoming Irish citizens.


 UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships

Chima Egwim originally from Nigerian living on Albert Road, Cork at the citizenship ceremony at the University of Limerick.
Picture: Sean Curtin/True Media

“In being designated as a University of Sanctuary, UL has committed to a three-year action plan to promote access and to integrate those from a refugee and asylum background into third level education,” he stated regarding the UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships.

Dr Fitzgerald also outlined a number of initiatives run by the university which engages with people seeking sanctuary in Ireland. He described the award as a “huge honour for UL” adding “we will use this award to be a regional leader in promoting a culture of welcome, and to provide a space for the celebration of the richness and diversity a multilingual and multicultural group brings to our community, both culturally and economically”.

“We also pledge to use our knowledge and commitment to be a key driver in the movement to have the Limerick region designated as a Place of Sanctuary, promoting the integration, inclusion and welfare of refugees and asylum seekers for the benefit of society as a whole,” Dr Fitzgerald stated.

The University of Sanctuary award will be officially presented to UL on UN World Refugee Day (Tuesday, June 20). UL will now offer scholarships to up to 17 people, aged over 22 years and living in Direct Provision. Most of these 17 will begin the Mature Student Access Certificate (MSAC) in September for the academic year 2017/2018. Scholarships comprise a fee waiver and a contribution towards travel, on-campus subsistence, stationery, printing and IT requirements.

The Mature Student Access Certificate (MSAC) is a one-year full-time pre-degree course designed for mature students who wish to develop or refresh key learning skills and to undertake some foundation level academic studies, before applying directly for a degree programme.

From next year, refugees and asylum seekers currently in second-level education will also be eligible to apply for scholarships.

 UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships

UL 17 Sanctuary Scholarships in recognition of its initiatives welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into its university community. Picture: Sean Curtin/True Media

Dr Mairead Moriarty, Chair of the University of Limerick’s Sanctuary steering committee said: “The current refugee crisis tests the inner strength of our educational culture. At the University of Limerick, we firmly believe that a University education should be a possibility for all. We have been committed to providing access to our University for people from all backgrounds and we are delighted to extend this to people currently living in Direct Provision through our announcement of 17 sanctuary scholarships”.


About the  2017/2018 Scholarships at UL

Up to 17 scholarships are being made available for students on the Mature Student Access Certificate (MSAC) and the Higher Level Leaving Certificate Mathematics Programme for Adult Learners (HLLCMP). Fourteen offers for places on the Mature Student Access Certificate are in the process of being issued and the remaining scholarships will be awarded in coming weeks, subject to applicant eligibility for the programme. All scholarships are being offered to asylum seekers living in direct provision centres.

The MSAC is run by the Mature Student Office and the HLLCMP is run by the Mature Student Office in collaboration with the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB). 

About University of Sanctuary

City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. Our network of local groups includes boroughs, towns and cities across the UK and Ireland, all committed to building this culture of welcome across every sphere of society. City of Sanctuary operates under local group names which can be found on the group’s page. In Ireland, City of Sanctuary operates under the name Places of Sanctuary Ireland.

University of Sanctuary, an initiative to celebrate the good practice of Universities welcoming asylum seeking and refugees into their university community and foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for all. It aims to develop a culture of welcome for all those seeking sanctuary to spread through institutions of Higher Education. In particular, universities are encouraged to do everything possible to secure equal access to higher education for sanctuary seekers and to reach out to and support sanctuary seekers in their local communities who could benefit from University resources in a sustainable way.

More information on City of Sanctuary is available here 

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.