UWE supports students from countries in conflict

Issue date: 16 March 2009


University of the West of England Staff and students from the University of the West of England have set up the UWE International Student Support Fund to support students from countries in conflict. The decision to offer financial support is in response to UWE students raising humanitarian and education issues connected with countries in conflict like Gaza.

Following discussions with UWE students the University is to provide scholarships and a fund to support students from countries in conflict, particularly in Africa and the Middle-East. The University will fund scholarships up front and an initial fundraising target of £30,000 has been set with a view to supporting two students through their full three years of Higher Education, although it is hoped that this will increase over time.

Senior staff at the University, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve West and Deputy Vice-Chancellor John Rushforth, kicked off the fund with an initial personal donation of £500 each.

Steve West, Vice-Chancellor said, “The University prides itself on providing opportunities to all in the UK. With nearly 2,000 of our students from overseas, it is important for us to extend the same principles to those beyond our shores. Students have rightly highlighted this as an important issue for their University and we are pleased to match their commitment. Students themselves will drive the fundraising campaign and I'm sure they will get great support from staff and alumni.”

Dom Passfield, SU President said, “This is another great demonstration of a listening University that works together with its students to support contemporary issues that concern them.”

Joe Eastell one of the student campaigners at UWE said, “This is one small step in the right direction and one the staff, management and students at UWE can be proud of.”

Staff Unions were equally enthusiastic with a spokesperson for UCU commenting, “The UCU branch is pleased that the management has responded to this student initiative in such a positive way and we look forward to the University coming together to extend educational opportunities to people who would otherwise be left behind.”

An online donation facility has now been set up for this fund, which incorporates arrangements for gift aid and also deduction from salary. This can be found at:

The UWE International Student Support Fund

The University is also involved in other overseas support including working with the government sponsored Disasters Emergency Committee.

UWE has a strong track record of supporting international students. It was recently recognised in the 2008 Xcel Awards, where Bonaventure Feka Ngode, a political refugee from Cameroon, was recently judged Humanities Student of the Year. These awards, run in conjunction with The Voice, honour the achievements of outstanding ethnic minority students, who are nominated in one of thirteen subject categories by their universities. For full details of Bonaventure's story.
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