UNI-CO-RE. University corridors for refugee students in Ethiopia


The creation of study paths and integration in Italy for young people with refugee status in Ethiopia is at the center of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Rome between the Farnesina, the University of Bologna, UNHCR and the Italian Caritas. With the aim of supporting the arrival in Italy of five students from the University of Macallè, determined to continue their studies by attending a two-year specialization course at the University of Bologna.

On September this year, the UNI-CO-RE project (University Corridors for Refugees) thus allowed 5 young people who had escaped from the dictatorship in Eritrea to arrive in the capital of Emilia, where they were welcomed by both a new academic path and a network of organizations, people and companies, united to offer them a new perspective for their future.

"We are still in an experimental phase," Alessandra Scagliarini, Vice Rector for International Relations at the University of Bologna told the press. "In order to start, we have established a partnership with the University of Macallè, in Ethiopia, where there are about fifty universities that give to young students the opportunity to get an education, but few offer higher levels than the three-year period. That's why many refugees who want to specialize further try to come to Europe: many leave illegally, putting their own lives at risk to continue studying, which is why we have tried to give them a safer alternative, a real opportunity to start a new life in Italy."

Biniam, Awet, Sami and Yohannes have in fact already begun to attend Master's Degree courses in Engineering in Bologna, while Hadish chose to study Economics at the Rimini Campus. Thanks also to the role of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which has managed and facilitated the delicate procedures for visa applications for the selected students, as well as to the involvement of a large network of partners: Archdiocese of Bologna, Caritas Italiana, ER.GO – Regional Board for the Right to Higher Studies of Emilia-Romagna, Federmanager Bologna - Ravenna, Gandhi Charity, Manageritalia Emilia Romagna and Next Generation Italy.

UNI-CO-RE, a project aimed at young people who see in our country a cultural reference point, is only a piece in the broader development of regular immigration channels for vulnerable refugees and migrants that Italy has long undertaken, involving civil society in reception and integration initiatives. Experimentally, the project will be implemented for the academic years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.