Published on 20/06/2022
City of Sanctuary
  • City of Sanctuary supports groups and organisations to build a culture of welcome and hospitality
  • Aston University has become a supporting organisation of City of Sanctuary
  • It is committed to achieving University of Sanctuary status.

Aston University has become a supporting organisation of City of Sanctuary UK to demonstrate its commitment to helping people fleeing violence and persecution.

City of Sanctuary is a charity supporting a network of groups across the UK and Ireland working to build a culture of welcome and hospitality within their communities.

Earlier this year, the University opened a new Centre for Migration and Forced Displacement. The centre officially launched with an event bringing together designers, artists and academics to discuss how to investigate and publicise violence against migrants.

Other initiatives set up by Aston University to support refugees and asylum seekers include:

  • a new sanctuary scholarship scheme for students who have sought refuge in the UK
  • the student-led Enactus Society Chance for Change project, facilitating integration and employment for refugees
  • Supporting the Kozminski Foundation run by Kozminski University in Poland, which provides support for victims of the war in Ukraine
  • students in the University’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship undertaking PhD research into refugee entrepreneurship
  • funding for an emergency training package for Ukrainian interpreters, supporting local organisations in contact with Ukrainian refugees.

Dr Angela Jeffery, director of regional strategy at Aston University, said:

“Aston University recently launched its Civic University Agreement, outlining our commitment as an anchor institution to improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural life of our local communities.

“Becoming a supporting organisation of the City of Sanctuary is one of many steps the University is taking to support our region and society. We endorse the City of Sanctuary Charter and agree to act in accordance with its values. We are committed to achieving University of Sanctuary status by welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into the university community and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.”

City of Sanctuary chair, David Brown, said:

“As a diverse and vibrant university in a diverse and vibrant city, Aston University is in a really strong position to welcome and support asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants as they seek to build new lives in the UK, and to contribute their skills and energy to the University community, to Birmingham and to the Midlands.

“With colleagues in the City of Sanctuary movement, I warmly welcome Aston University’s commitment to become a University of Sanctuary.”

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Loer Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)74469 10063 or email:

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
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Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
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Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
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Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager

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