Camilo José Cela University (UCJC) has welcomed 40 male and female students from Afghanistan who will be able to start or resume their studies within the framework of the second edition of the Integra Project. The pioneering scheme in Spain aims to facilitate access to student refugees and consists of a comprehensive and transversal training program in different disciplines to help these young exiles to achieve solid and all-round personal, social and academic integration in our country.
Sixteen male and 24 female students have had to interrupt their academic training and urgently leave their country due to threats of repression from the new Taliban regime. The Afghan community, recently arrived in Spain, is essentially made up of entire families, with a total of more than 2,400 people, among whom are young people with initiated university training.
“We are very proud to welcome you to Camilo José Cela University. An open, plural, supportive and independent university. Here you will find not only the knowledge and experiences that will educate you academically, but you will also find an inclusive international and multicultural community that will undoubtedly contribute to your personal growth. The Integra Project represents our commitment to transfer resources, knowledge, capacities and sensitivities to help the people who need it most, because we believe that education is the most powerful weapon to transform realities”, pointed out Emilio Lora-Tamayo, rector of UCJC, in welcoming the students to the university.
Camilo José Cela University, through its Foundation, has been working closely with UNHCR and with various NGOs that currently manage the reception of these refugees, to analyse the social, psychological, formative and family conditions of students and thus be able to make an adequate selection of candidates for this second edition of the Integra Project.
“In the selection of candidates, we wanted prioritise education for women since the responsibility for adequate social integration rests on them. On the other hand, it is the group that has had the most difficulty in their country of origin due to the cultural repression imposed by the Taliban, which is why many of them have been restrained and persecuted precisely for aspiring to a qualified higher education”, said Ignacio Sell, director of the Camilo José Cela University Foundation.
The scheme will offer an initial year at university in which they will aim to acquire language skills, emotional intelligence tools, psychological support, democratic and constitutional values, communication and expression skills and strategies.
From the second year on, they will have access to vocational training studies of their choice so that they can rapidly access job opportunities or be able to access university degrees. The 40 students are living in different parts of Spain, so Camilo José Cela University is offering part of the course online.
The UCJC Integra Project
Camilo José Cela University launched the Integra Project in 2016, being the first Spanish university to host young university students from areas of the world suffering from war or terrorism, regardless of their religion, nationality, ideology, politics or ethnicity.
Last year ten young people from the first edition of the Integra Project graduated, including students from Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan. These students chose to study degrees in Transport and Logistics Sciences, Film, Law, Physical Activity and Sports and Nursing.
The European Parliament granted the 2018 European Citizen Award to Camilo José Cela University, in recognition of the Integra Project.