Vice Chancellor David Richardson released a statement offering UEA’s full support to Afghan students, linked in an email sent around 3pm today via the UEA intranet.
He begins: “The University of East Anglia (UEA) is deeply concerned at the distressing scenes unfolding in Afghanistan and calls for the UK Government to expedite the safe passage of affected students to take up their place to study in the UK.”
The statement calls “for the government to confirm that the decision to pause the Chevening programme in Afghanistan for the 2021-22 academic year has been reversed.”
The Chevening Scholarship programme is a fully funded one-year master’s degree at a UK university for prospective foreign students. Notably, the current president of Costa Rica and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt were both enrolled on the programme, along with around 50,000 alumni in positions of leadership and innovation within politics, development, science, and technology across the globe.
He adds: “We will continue to do all that we can to support and accelerate any required visas and funding as needed, along with the safe travel of Chevening Scholars to the UK.
The University is in contact with current and prospective students from Afghanistan, including Chevening Scholars, who were due to start their courses at UEA in September this year. Ongoing support from the University is available, including financial support, and this has been offered to those affected.”
Alongside offering support for ensuring the safe travel of students to the UK, he also noted UEA’s tradition as being one of the oldest ongoing Universities of Sanctuary, committed to develop a welcoming culture for students fleeing conflict and persecution.
“UEA is proud to be recognised as a University of Sanctuary, as part of the City of Sanctuary movement and is committed to helping reduce the barriers to participation in higher education. As ever, we will work alongside Universities UK to help and support those who wish to begin and continue their studies in the UK.”
The email also links to a contact email for those affected by the news in Afghanistan who wish to speak to someone in Student Services.
The statement responds to the Taliban insurrection in Afghanistan, resulting in numerous Afghan refugees, scholars, diplomats, interpreters, and development workers unable to evacuate. While the UK committed to take in 5,000 Afghan refugees this year under a new resettlement scheme, there are many who fear for their lives and futures.