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Queen’s University launches its Civic Mission: A commitment to collaboration and inclusivity

Today marked an important milestone for Queen’s as the University launches its civic mission by pledging to become a Civic University and University of Sanctuary.

In seeking to become a Civic University, Queen’s further recognises the unique and privileged position of universities in shaping the world we live in through their social and civic responsibilities.

The proceedings took place at Queen’s with a live event compèred by Donna Traynor an address by the University’ Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Greer, and panel discussions from representatives across the business, community and education sectors.

Speaking at the event, Queen’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Greer said:

“Queen’s has always played a pivotal role in the social, cultural and economic backdrop of Northern Ireland.

“Over the years we have produced a skilled workforce of graduates in many disciplines, worked with external partners to address shared challenges locally and internationally, and been a place for open debate and dialogue.

“The signing of today’s pledges to become both a Civic University, and University of Sanctuary, will see us build on these strong foundations.”

Initiatives such as co-designed community-based projects in the Greater Shankill and Market areas, and Queen’s Civic Commitment to South Belfast, have delivered hugely positive impacts and demonstrate how an inclusive partnership approach between communities, policymakers and academics can work towards lasting change.

Later this year, Queen’s will also celebrate its first cohort of students emerging with Level 4 Certificates in Youth Leadership and Community Action, a course delivered through community partners in cross-community organisation RCITY and facilitated by youth group Foróige.

Queen’s has shown great commitment through the years in helping those hugely able, but highly unlikely, to participate in Higher Education, overcome obstacles that stand in their way.

The path to achieving Sanctuary status will reaffirm the University’s dedication to this objective by its intent to welcome people seeking sanctuary through facilitated access to higher education and support to local refugee communities.

The move will further endorse Belfast’s City of Sanctuary status, passed as a Council motion in April 2022, and build on recent support measures made by Queen’s such as increasing provision of fellowships for at-risk academics, and Copty Scholarships for Palestinian students.

Welcoming today’s pledges, Dr Ryan Feeney, Vice-President of Strategic Engagement and External Affairs, states:

“Queen’s University is committed to tackling disadvantage and improving outcomes for everyone in our society, particularly for children and young people, and for those who face a greater degree of obstacles in accessing higher education.

In collaboration with partners across the public, private and third sectors, we will use our position to help solve the challenges faced by individuals and communities at a local, regional and global level.”


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