The United Nations Refugee Agency and the University of Nicosia conclude a Memorandum of Understanding, to benefit refugees in Cyprus and elsewhere through their collaborative efforts and a strengthened cooperation.

The agreement, signed today on the occasion of World Refugee Day, aims to commit the two institutions to joint activities in two key areas, namely, to provide increase opportunities for refugees to access tertiary education and to equip the University’s students and next generation leaders with specialized knowledge in international refugee law and practice.

“Innovative partnerships such as the one we have entered into with the prestigious University of Nicosia are essential particularly at the present time when we are confronted with many complex challenges accompanying refugees in their search for protection and lasting solutions,” said Mr. Damtew Dessalegne, UNHCR Representative in Cyprus.

The Rector of the University of Nicosia, Professor Philippos Pouyioutas, emphasised on the University Social Responsibility (USR) campaigns and initiatives, stating that “our actions are focused on both dimensions, supporting individual refugees and migrants, while also working with public bodies to improve support services”.

The Memorandum of Understanding covers a wide range of areas, including a scholarship programme for refugees in Cyprus; distance learning opportunities for needy refugees elsewhere; promotion of international refugee law through regular lectures and workshops; UNHCR internship scheme for graduate students; and joint research studies in the areas of refugees and migration.

“I very much welcome the willingness and readiness of the University of Nicosia to actively support the refugee cause in partnership with UNHCR,” added Mr. Dessalegne.  The University of Nicosia, participates through its affiliate research center CARDET, in the “Digital Tools for Inclusion of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants” project and is also the coordinating institution of the “Migrant Information Centres”, a project aiming to design and establish four Migrant Information Centres in Cyprus. Further to UNHCR’s request, the University offered two full scholarships for young refugees in Cyprus who meet the academic criteria but would not otherwise have the opportunity for a university education.