Published on 20/06/2024
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  • The donor expressed a desire to honour the legacy of St Hildegard of Bingen
  • The donation will support the Centre’s critical research and advocacy work
  • The announcement coincides with World Refugee day on 20 June 2024.

Aston University's Centre for Migration and Forced Displacement has received a transformative boost with the announcement of a £200,000 endowed gift. 

The donation will support the Centre’s critical research and advocacy work and marks a significant milestone in advancing its mission to address the challenges faced by individuals forced to migrate due to violence and displacement.

The donor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has conveyed a profound commitment to supporting those affected by involuntary migration. 

In a heartfelt statement, they expressed a desire to honour the legacy of St Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th-century German Benedictine abbess, whose life and teachings inspired them. St Hildegard, renowned for her spiritual insights and compassion, serves as a fitting symbol for the donor's dedication to humanitarian causes.

The gift was announced on World Refugee Day on Thursday 20 June 2024 during Refugee Week, the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

The donor said:

“I would like to name the Fund after St Hildegard of Bingen.

“It is my hope that my donation to the work of the Centre for Migration and Forced Displacement at Aston University may help others, people from countries across the world who are victims of violence, forced displacement, and involuntary migration.”

Dr Amanda Russell Beattie and Dr Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, founding directors of the Centre for Migration and Forced Displacement at Aston University, said:

“The endowed gift will see the establishment of the St Hildegard of Bingen Fund at Aston University, underscoring a commitment to sustainability in funding crucial initiatives. 

“By ensuring that the donation generates perpetual support through growth and interest, the University can continue its vital work in addressing the multifaceted challenges of migration and displacement.

“This generous gift will enable us to expand our research efforts, amplify our advocacy initiatives, and provide essential support to individuals and communities affected by forced migration.

“We are deeply grateful for the donor's generosity and commitment to advancing our mission.”

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7446 910063 or email:

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Sue Smith,
Head of Press and Communications


Sam Cook,
Press and Communications Manager


Nicola Jones,
Press and Communications Manager


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