Skip to main content

Oxford University is now a University of Sanctuary

We are delighted to say that The University of Oxford has received the University of Sanctuary award in recognition of its sustained commitment to being a place of welcome for people who have been forcibly displaced around the world.

This award recognises Oxford’s continued determination and initiatives to aid people seeking sanctuary, whether they be students, staff or members of the local community.
This is the first time a collegiate university has been recognised by the award. That means all 45 of Oxford’s colleges and halls have got behind this vision of welcome for all.

Oxford University has a long-standing history of being a place of safety. Support for individuals with lived experience of displacement includes the welcome for refugee academics during the Second World War and the recent assistance provided to students and academics affected by the war in Ukraine.

The University’s dedicated Refugee Studies Centre was established in 1982 and undertakes research, teaching, and outreach relating to all aspects of forced displacement.

Professor Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said:

“I am delighted that we have been awarded Sanctuary Status – it is a landmark in our history. I wish to acknowledge and thank all my colleagues from across the collegiate University who have worked with the city and county to make this a reality. Oxford has a long tradition of supporting peoples from around the world to find refuge. I look forward to welcoming those peoples and working to provide a safe and inspiring environment in which to pursue their ambitions and dreams.”

Alexander Betts, Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, said: 

“We want the University to be a place of welcome for people with displacement backgrounds. Being recognised as a University of Sanctuary is an important step on that journey. It reflects our shared commitment to increase scholarships for refugees, build awareness across the University, and collaborate with local community organisations that support asylum seekers and refugees. Refugees enrich our community through their skills and talents. The hope is that we can build upon this opportunity and do even more in future.”

Universities of Sanctuary is our national network which together collectively strives to make higher education institutions places of safety, solidarity and empowerment for people seeking sanctuary.