"Academic freedom and the freedom to study are human rights. Today these rights are being violated in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Help teachers and students leaving these countries regain their future". This is the message of the fundraising campaign that the University of Trento launched today on its website. A campaign that invites all citizens to take action once again for an important cause: support those who flee from war and danger and want to continue studying and doing research. The campaigns comes after the many initiatives launched in recent years by the University of Trento for students and scholars at risk, to which the people of Trentino responded with great generosity.
The purpose of the campaign is the raise money through spontaneous donations to fund various types of scholarships. Some will support students pursue undergraduate and graduate studies, others will be given to scholars for postgraduate research activities, doctoral scholarships or research grants. The project aims to help refugees and asylum seekers and individuals who have not yet been able to leave Afghanistan and Ukraine, and in particular those who are discriminated against for their ethnicity, gender or disability.
Donating is simple: just visit www.unitn.it/fundraising on the University's website and follow the instructions. Donations to the University of Trento are deductible from income tax.
"The dramatic situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine reminds the academic world, political institutions and civil society to be responsible in order to protect and enhance the culture and scientific knowledge of the members of the Afghan and Ukrainian university communities that are currently being persecuted," says Rector Flavio Deflorian. "We also wanted to do our part by supporting people whose lives are at risk with concrete measures. In fact, the University will anticipate the resources necessary for the scholarships and research grants, hoping to cover the costs thanks to the generosity of the people of Trentino, who have always been sensitive and ready to respond to our appeals. It is a bet that, I am sure, we will win".
"Through Futura and Sar, the University of Trento is receiving an increasing number of requests for support from students who have been forced to leave their country, and consequently to interrupt their studies or research work," explains Ester Gallo, Rector's delegate for Academic and international solidarity. "We were focused on the situation in Afghanistan. Now we are receiving many requests for help from Ukraine as well. These countries are two "symbols", and however are not the only ones where university communities are the target of persecution and violence. We have decided to take action to help the two countries through a single project, which is a real programme of scientific inclusion and which can also be extended to other countries and situations. We will not only evaluate the risk aspect alone, but also the qualifications and the CVs of the people we will welcome".
The project is aimed primarily at Afghan and Ukrainian citizens who are in their respective countries but have had to abandon their studies or research work in universities or research institutions. Applicants may also be in the countries of first reception, in Italy or in a Member State of the European Union, and have applied for or already obtained asylum (refugee status or subsidiary protection). Finally, applications are also welcome from scholars who have already been assessed by the Scholars at Risk network or by another recognised international organisations such as the Scholars Rescue Fund or the Council for At Risk Academics.
Fondazione Caritro: 100,000 euro have already been allocated for people at risk
Fondazione Caritro announced its participation and provided its support for this initiative of the University before the official launch of the campaign. "Given the attention that the Foundation dedicates to supporting research projects, training courses and the development of human resources, as well as actions aimed at facilitating the social inclusion of disadvantaged people – comments Mauro Bondi, president of Fondazione Caritro – investing in the Scholars at risk and Futura projects was fundamental, and that is why we allocated an amount of 100,000 euro to co-finance scholarships, doctoral grants, research grants and expenses, while simultaneously supporting the goals of the University of Trento. In light of the recent events that have taken place internationally in the last months, it seemed particularly urgent and necessary, not only from a humanitarian point of view, but also to guarantee the right to education and research, to further increase our commitment and the idea that Trentino is a welcoming and inclusive community".