Gospel Ozioma Nnadi at the graduation ceremony | Source: University of Parma
Gospel Ozioma Nnadi at the graduation ceremony | Source: University of Parma

Gospel Ozioma Nnadi is a young refugee who fled Nigeria and passed through Libya before achieving a happy ending with a degree in computer science from the University of Parma.

The story of refugee Gospel Ozioma Nnadi has a happy ending, after starting with an escape from Nigeria and time spent in Libya.

On September 24, Nnadi graduated from the University of Parma with a degree in computer science, the first in the university for a refugee student and the first graduation ceremony at the Sciences and Technologies Campus since the start of the coronavirus emergency.

Nnadi's thesis professor, Alessandro Dal Palù, was also present at the ceremony.

Escape, arrival in Italy, then degree

The University of Parma said the young man fled from Nigeria in 2016, following persecution of his family. After being put in prison in Libya he managed to arrive in Italy, and after various transfers to different Italian cities he landed in Parma. He applied for refugee status and meanwhile pursued his desire to study computer science.

Thanks to the support of the university's Plan for Refugees, Nnadi was able to enrol in 2017. When he received refugee status during his third year, he was able to benefit from a scholarship, ER.GO.

"I'm very grateful for the gift of life, for having succeeded in graduating in computer science despite the difficulties, especially with the Italian language," he said.

"I've very happy that in these years I've met people who welcomed me, even with a simple smile. I arrived in Italy in November 2016 and I started attending Italian language lessons with the help of volunteers. In June 2017, I received an Italian language certificate at the B1 level.

"Thanks to the refugee inclusion and integration programme at the University of Parma, I was able to enrol in the university degree programme in computer science and took Italian lessons at the same time, which allowed me to understand the lessons well. With the possibility of accessing library services until midnight, I managed to pass the exams, and now here I am.

"My deepest thanks to the university's students, professors, and administrative personnel," he said.

A story of 'welcoming and effort'

Sara Ranieri, the university's prorector for didactics and student services, said Nnadi's story is one of "welcoming and effort".

"Welcoming on the part of the university, which has an ad hoc plan for refugees and was continually by his side, and effort and great willpower by the student, who achieved an important personal milestone. The University of Parma is proud to have accompanied him," Ranieri said.


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