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Piedmontese Universities together for the “PIU-AEI” project, aimed at fair, welcoming and inclusive universities

25 February 2022

The meeting started with the reading of the joint note on the Ukraine’s conflict:

“Peace building and keeping by peaceful means is a key vocation for universities.

Piedmontese universities share great concern about the dramatic conflict in Ukraine.

The four universities, being part of the University Network for Peace, express their strongest condemnation against the use of violence and war, endorsing the appeal released on February 23rd by the UN Secretary General on the respect of United Nations Charter’s principle and the need to establish a ceasefire and to embark a phase of dialogue and negotiations.

The universities look at all the people and institutions dramatically affected in these hours, deeply sharing their grief, hoping that this conflict can rapidly cease and working to turn this concern into concrete action.

They are thus activating procedures to welcome colleagues affected by the conflict allowing them to work in a safe environment, as well as to support students affected by war.”

Politecnico di Torino, Università degli Studi di Torino, Università del Piemonte Orientale and Università di Scienze Gastronomiche were among the first signing the UNHCR Manifesto for an Inclusive University, aimed at guaranteeing better living, studying and working conditions to refugees and asylum seekers hosted in Piedmont.

Today, the PIU-AEI - Piemonte Università Accoglienti Eque Inclusive Project gave birth to an active and networking involvement of the institutional and third sector local actors, in order to address policies, design strategies and shared initiatives aimed ad reinforcing the existing measures. The goal is also to provide harmonised responses to unanswered issues, setting conditions to mitigate the tragedy affecting refugees, asylum seekers and people coming from complex countries and territories with economic and politic fragile backgrounds, or not sufficiently protected in Italy in terms of assistance and support. Specific attention goes to female refugees, asylum seekers or “refugees-like”, since their rights are particularly in danger.

In order to initiate a citizen’s public table on “Fair, welcoming and inclusive universities” supporting initiatives aimed at ensuring better living, studying and working conditions, the Rectors of the four Piedmontese universities invited Turin Major Lo Russo and Piedmont Region President Cirio, together with the involved Bodies and Institutions, i.e. Città di Torino, Città di Vercelli, Città di Bra, Regione Piemonte, EDISU, IRES Piemonte, UNHCR, Prefettura di Torino, Questura di Torino, Prefettura di Vercelli, Questura di Vercelli, Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione Ufficio Pio, Fondazione CRT, Fondazione CRC, Ufficio Pastorale Migranti.

The aim of the project is to set, among the promoting universities and in synergy with local Institutions and stakeholders, conditions of inclusiveness, equity and hospitality. Such conditions would indeed permit to foreign students, already part or interested in entering the University community – but risking their positive integration and/or departure due to objective limits (poverty or loss of residence permit, visa, status or residence) – to find the right conditions to live and study in Piedmont region. Moreover, the project intends to guarantee to the most promising human resources, living in developing countries or having a refugee, asylum seeker and "refugee-like" status, to access Piedmontese universities and study/work by realizing their full potential as part of an academic and territorial community that offers them organised and easily accessible services in terms of economic facilities, clarity of procedures and necessary documents.

To this end, Piedmontese Universities are committed to embrace Inclusion in their strategic plans. They also intend to make potential beneficiaries aware of the existing instruments and opportunities, to develop specific supporting measures for accessing and continuing their studies and to ease the professional integration of recent graduates included in the PIU-AEI project. Next spring a public event will be organized to launch the project and discuss it with the participation of representatives of the regional Third Sector.