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City of Sanctuary Awards

City of Sanctuary offers Sanctuary Awards to recognise organisations which are able to demonstrate commitment to our values and vision of welcome as outlined in our charter.

University of Sanctuary Awards

University of Sanctuary Awards are offered by the Universities of Sanctuary stream of City of Sanctuary.

The Universities of Sanctuary award recognises and celebrates the good practice of universities welcoming sanctuary seekers into their communities and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.

The first University of Sanctuary awards were given to the University of Edinburgh and the University of Warwick in 2017. By the end of 2019 there were 14 recognised Universities of Sanctuary and at least 40 other HEIs working towards recognition. The rapid growth of the University stream reflects the strong tradition of Universities supporting sanctuary, which Universities of Sanctuary awards formally recognise, and also the positive growth of research-led initiatives across the HE sector that are striving for Universities to be welcoming and inclusive spaces for all.

Why become a University of Sanctuary?

Becoming a University of Sanctuary enriches campus life and academic discussion by bringing new perspectives and cultures together.

Becoming a University of Sanctuary also contributes to the delivery of institutional strategies relating to equality, diversity, inclusivity, social responsibility, and sustainability.

Through becoming a University of Sanctuary, universities can:

  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to supporting equal access to higher education
  • Extend the scope of Widening Access and Widening Participation work in a way that explicitly values diversity
  • Take clear steps towards creating a university environment that is a welcoming to all, in a way that directly contributes to increasing inclusivity
  • Learn how to develop teaching and learning on the themes of migration and sanctuary
  • Develop new strands of public-facing outreach and community engagement work that contributes to social responsibility efforts
  • Become a part of a dynamic group of universities working to improve the culture of sanctuary in higher education and in society generally

Following accreditation, Universities will be listed as a University of Sanctuary on the University of Sanctuary website and will be able to promote their recognition. Each year, all Universities of Sanctuary are celebrated at the Universities of Sanctuary conference.

How to become a University of Sanctuary?

A University of Sanctuary award is given to a Higher Education institution that can provide evidence of their commitment to developing initiatives that align with three core principles:

Learn: develop and promote learning about what it means to be seeking sanctuary.

Embed: take positive action to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within the institution, at all levels, and for the long-term.

Share: celebrate your vision, achievements, what you have learned, and good practice with other universities, the local community and beyond.

Full details on the application process and minimum criteria can be found in the Universities of Sanctuary resource pack.

There is one application form for all awards (including those for universities) but we provide guidelines and minimum criteria which are specific to universities. The Universities of Sanctuary Programme Coordinator will provide feedback on applications before an assessment through an appraisal visit. Click here for contact details

Accreditation Fee

From March 2020, universities will be charged an accreditation fee of £3000 on receiving the University of Sanctuary Award. There will be a subsequent renewal charge of £3000 every three years as part of the re-accreditation process.

Universities are encouraged to contribute the full fee on accreditation. It is also possible to pay £1000 each year for three years.

For further information, please see the Accreditation and Re-Accredication Fee guide. 

NOTE: We are aware that every HEI is different and in situations where difficulties arise, please contact us to discuss adjustment. Each request of this kind will be assessed on its own merits and a final decision will be made by the University of Sanctuary Steering Group. We also encourage institutions to consider a larger solidarity contribution where possible.