Education Beyond Borders launches

Education Beyond Borders brings together work across the University of Edinburgh, including funding, support, collaborative and staff and student-led initiatives to ensure access and pathways to education for displaced scholars.

Young woman looking hopeful

Education Beyond Borders

The University’s new initiative, Education Beyond Borders, will support students and academics from across the world who have been forcibly displaced due to conflict, violence, or persecution.

This includes a sector leading package of support for forcibly displaced students and academics, including a new scholarship programme and expansion of our fellowship programme for academics at risk, working with national and international partners including UNHCR and Cara (the Council for At Risk Academics).

We are delighted to launch Education Beyond Borders which brings together all of the important work being carried out across the University in relation to forced displacement and access to education for displaced students and academics. Supporting those who have been forcibly displaced doesn’t just benefit scholars on our scholarship and fellowship programmes – it benefits the entire University. Bringing diverse experiences to our campus – in person and online – enriches our global community, fostering resilience, empathy and the transformative impact of education.

Sarah Hoey
Deputy Head, Global Community

Launch event

Group photo with EBB representatives and event panelists.
Back row L-R: Dee Isaacs, Dr Georgia Cole, Amanullah Ahmadzai, Kainat Riaz, Professor James Smith.\nFront row L-R: Sarah Hoey, Stephen Wordsworth, Ms Katie Barringer, Professor Graeme Atherton, Foni Joyce Vuni and Alan Mackay

Education Beyond borders launch event took place on 23 January 2024 at Playfair Library Hall, Old College.

The event commenced with a welcome by Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University. Setting the stage for the discussions to follow, he emphasised the pivotal role of Education Beyond Borders, casting an umbrella over our current and ongoing work and guiding us towards a longer-term approach for displaced people.

Universities' roles are to educate and provide space for free academic pursuits and therefore the University of Edinburgh is to continue to be a place of safety, solidarity and sanctuary for scholars to continue their studies and their research.

We have one of the largest and most diverse communities in the United Kingdom. The Principal stated that we will remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a safe space to all of our diverse communities no matter their background. This is a commitment that is not new for the University, but is being reaffirmed with the launch of Education Beyond Borders.

 In conversation with...

Panelists speaking
Mr Amanullah Ahmadzai and Ms Kainat Riaz

Dr Georgia Cole, Chancellor’s Fellow, School of Social and Political Science chaired a discussion between, Ms Kainat Riaz, Global Youth Ambassador and Co-Founder of Beydaar Society and Mr Amanullah Ahmadzai, Cara Fellow and PhD Student (Law), University of Edinburgh.

Amanullah Ahmadzai and his family were forced to leave their home in Afghanistan in May 2022. Since then, Amanullah has been able to continue in his academic profession as a Research Fellow at the Edinburgh Law School. 

Read Amanullah Ahmadzai's story

Kainat Riaz and her family were attacked by the Taliban and forced to leave Pakistan in 2012. She arrived in the UK, not being able to speak any English. Since then, Kainat has been raising her voice on women's rights and girls education, believing that education is key.

Learn more about the Beydaar Society

Windows on the World

Dee Isaacs giving a presentation on her project: Windows on the World
Dee Isaacs

The event took a creative turn with "Window on the World," a presentation by Dee Isaacs, Senior Lecturer at the Reid School of Music. Windows on the World is a creative arts programme for children living in refugee camps. Dee says, “Music is the universal language and creates an environment that takes people outside of the situation they’re living in momentarily.” 

Find out more about Windows on the World

Access and opportunities to education for displaced scholars

Panel discussion
Mr Stephen Wordsworth, Ms Katie Barringer, Professor Graeme Atherton and Ms Foni Joyce Vuni

Later in the event, Sarah Hoey, Deputy Head of Global Community, University of Edinburgh, expertly chaired a panel discussion on 'Access and Opportunities to Education for Displaced Scholars'. This brought together Ms Katie Barringer, Head of Educational Progression - Refugee Education UK (REUK), Mr Stephen Wordsworth, Executive Director, Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), Professor Graeme Atherton, Director, National Education Opportunities Network and Ms Foni Joyce Vuni, Mastercard Foundation Scholar and Lead Researcher (Nairobi), Refugee-Led Research Hub (Advisor). Their insights delved into the urgent actions required to minimise inequalities and improve access to higher education for displaced individuals.

A future where education knows no borders

The Education Beyond Borders launch ignited conversations, inspired collaborations, and planted the seeds for a future where education knows no borders.

Related links

Learn more about the Displaced Student Scholarship, Academics At-Risk Fellowship, our staff and student-led initiatives and partners we work with.

Visit the Education Beyond Borders website

Displaced Student Scholarship

We are offering up to thirty scholarships to study postgraduate programmes at the University starting in September 2024.

Find out more about the Displaced Student Scholarship

Academics At-Risk Fellowship

Working in partnership with Cara, the University has up to ten fellowships per year. Recent support has been offered to academics and their families from Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Ukraine, who have a range of interests across our three colleges.

Find out more about our Academics At-Risk Fellowship

Contact us

Contact the Education Beyond Borders team