In January 2020, the University of Florence joined the Manifesto of the Inclusive University promoted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with the aim of "fostering refugee access to university education and research, and promoting social integration and their active participation in academic life".
In order to fulfil these objectives, the University is committed to promoting access to education for foreign students, with three lines of action aimed at beneficiaries of international protection and is committed to ensuring the academic freedom of researchers and teachers.
The University of Florence is also the coordinator of the "Being an inclusive university for refugee students: concepts, methods and tools" project, funded by the European University Consortium EUniWell (more info).
The University of Florence is a partner of the University Corridors for Refugees project - Unicore, promoted by UNHCR, in order to allow young refugees to complete their education, in a regular and safe way, by attending a master's degree course in English at the University of Florence.
The project, addressed in previous editions (Unicore 2.0 and 3.0) to refugees living in Ethiopia and in the last edition (Unicore 4.0) to refugees living in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, aims at broadening secure and regular access pathways to Italy and providing an opportunity for education, taking into account the refugees’ legitimate aspirations to build their own future autonomously.
Partners of the Unicore project are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Caritas Italiana, Diaconia Valdese, Centro Astalli and Gandhi Charity.
From the a.y. 2019/2020 the University of Florence has funded two scholarships each year (more info).
In 2020, the University of Florence joined the National coordination for the Evaluation of Refugee Qualifications (CNVQR) at the Academic Mobility Information Centre (CIMEA).
Under the CNVQR, the teaching staff and officials of the University of Florence are responsible for identifying practices evaluating the qualifications held by beneficiaries of international protection (individuals with refugee status or subsidiary protection) who already live in Italy and want to resume their studies. The evaluation of qualifications is possible even if the students' documentation is absent or incomplete due to the difficulty of finding it in the countries of origin from which they fled. The purpose of the evaluation is to:
The certificates allow beneficiaries of international protection, who have previously completed a useful study path for access to the university in the country of origin or in a country along the migration route to Italy, to enrol in universities in Italy.
Thanks to the agreement with CIMEA, the University of Florence has developed specific procedures for enrolment which consist of:
From the a.y. 2021-2022, for enrolment purposes, also the following category of residence permit may submit the CIMEA comparability certificate in place of the declaration of value: Victims of disasters; domestic violence; particular work exploitation; acts of particular civil value; special protection (art. 32 para. 3 of Legislative Decree n. 25 of 28 January 2008). In addition, the application for a declaration of authenticity is no longer required.
Starting from 2021, thanks to the collaboration with the Giorgio La Pira International Students Centre, the University has made available scholarships for students waiting for recognition of international protection (asylum seekers) and willing to start a university study path. The scholarships include monthly financial support and accommodation at one of the facilities of the La Pira Centre. Call for 2022/2023 - deadline 15 July 2022 (Italian webpage)
The University of Florence has prepared an administrative support and a specific tutoring activity for the newly enrolled students who are beneficiaries of international protection in order to orient and facilitate the participation in the educational system as well as in society.
The aim is to expand the information and access to the services of the university (such as the use of the services of the Right to Education Board, the Library System, the University Language Centre, the University IT Service), as well as the resolution of administrative and bureaucratic issues.
Contacts write to tutormulticulturali(AT)unifi.it
The University of Florence has joined the Scholars at Risk (SAR) network, which consists of 530 universities in 41 countries (including 28 Italian universities) which share the concerns about the limits placed on academic and research freedom in some countries of the world, governed by illiberal regimes.
The main aim of the network is to provide temporary shelter for teachers and researchers “at risk” from countries where academic freedom is not guaranteed and where their personal safety is threatened. The SAR – scholars at risk network also promotes advocacy activities through the organization of seminars and the production of specific reports on issues related to the violation of freedom of thought and the dissemination of critical knowledge, also through the involvement of scholars at risk hosted in the various Italian and foreign universities participating in the SAR network (go to the SAR Italia website).