Syrian refugee Rim recently moved from Nigeria to Italy to study at the University of Siena. She received a scholarship through a program supported by UN refugee agency UNHCR.
Rim recently reached Siena, in central Italy, where she will study at the local university. She was able to move from Nigeria to Siena because she received a scholarship through the Unicore project, which was devised by the UNHCR as a way to offer refugee students a way to continue on their academic path at universities in Italy. Rim will be pursuing a degree in “Language and Mind”. As part of her scholarship, Rim will get free housing during her studies.
She was born in Syria and studied in Tishreen University in Latakia. After graduating, she became a French teacher at schools in Hama, Syria. However, when the Civil War broke out, she fled to Nigeria with her husband, where they were given refugee status.
The meeting with the Dean of the University of Siena
After her arrival in Italy, Rim met with the Dean of the University of Siena, Roberto Di Pietra, on Wednesday (January 18).
Dean Di Pietra said he wished Rim "a fruitful continuation of her studies at the University of Siena."
“I am happy for the positive result of the project and for the fact this scholarship was awarded to this student”, he said.
Professor Federico Lenzerini, the Dean’s delegate for research students coming from crises areas, was also present at the meeting, together with Director General Emanuele Fidora and Professor Vanna Micheli from the Caritas NGO in Siena.
“Participation in the Unicore project confirms the commitment of the University of Siena to support refugee students and it strengthens our collaboration with UNHCR and other humanitarian associations involved”, commented Lenzerini. “The selection process was not easy, because all candidates deserved to be chosen, at least from the human point of view. We were however at least able to award one scholarship and we hope that today may represent a starting point for a commitment that we hope increase in the future."
Refugees staying in Africa receive scholarschips from Italian universities
The University of Siena in June 2020 released “a manifesto as an inclusive university” and joined the project Unicore. It is among the more than 30 Italian universities who have agreed to welcome refugee students from several African countries including Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon as part of “Unicore 4.0”.