Spanish universities offer refuge to Ukrainian academics


In just ten days, the war in Ukraine has unleashed an avalanche of refugees. According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 1.2 million people have been forced to flee their country after the attacks of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a result, the EU’s interior ministers unanimously approved last week an “exceptional measure” called temporary protection and temporary protection, “the European Commission explains on its website.

The plan includes a residence permit for the duration of protection (one to three years), access to work, housing, social security, medical care and education for minors, among other rights.

Spain takes a step forward

But Spain, and especially the Spanish university world, wants to take a step forward and is exploring the possibilities of providing jobs for Ukrainian refugees from the university world. For example, the rector of Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC) issued a statement saying that “a procedure is underway” for the university’s departments to “invite teachers from Ukrainian universities to study for an initial period of three. months”. URJC will start with a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 ‘professors.

The Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) has made a similar proposal. Both faculty and management have suggested a research period, a visit or some sort of scholarship for Ukrainians, a teacher from the Faculty of Geography and History said.

The University of Alcalá also wants to include visiting professors. They hold classes and may therefore be eligible for longer than one year. Carlos III University is also evaluating the possibility of welcoming refugee Ukrainian professors, as it has done with Afghans previously. It is not yet known exactly how this will take shape and is examined by person and function. It could be, for example, doctors or PhD students. Finally, sources from the University of Seville also confirm that “the possibilities are being worked out”.

Own movement

Many professors have already made proposals on their own initiative. For example, the aforementioned professor of UCM and Jesús García Laborda, dean of the faculty of Alcalá, who wrote a letter to his rector and also addressed the universities of the Balearic Islands, Salamanca, Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia with the idea of ​​’receiving the professors worthily’. An idea that, according to him, “could be delivered to the Conference of Rectors (CRUE) and, if adopted, could be ten professors per university, amounting to more than 1,000 professors”.

Support from the Ministry of University

Currently there are already “international projects with Ukraine”. During a meeting with the Rector of the University of Granada, Pilar Aranda, the Minister of the University, Joan Subirats, said he wanted to “pay attention to the people who have had to leave Ukraine and want to come to Spain to study or practice the their profession. ” providing them with refugee status and the necessary support ”.

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