Since 2017, UCLouvain has set up a specific programme to welcome refugees who wish to resume academic activities. Each year, people from all over the world join this programme. The university has extended the Access2University programme to include students and researchers affected by the conflict in Ukraine who have had to flee the country. Access to courses, seminars, social, cultural and sports activities on the UCLouvain campuses, they will benefit from individualised support. Do you want to take action? You can support the programme.
UCLouvain immediately opened a special edition of its solidarity programme, Access2University, for refugees from Ukraine.
The Access2University programme offers academic and extracurricular activities to refugees who have had to interrupt their university activities. It consists of three components: learning French, university courses in UCLouvain faculties, and individualised support (orientation, methodology, administrative procedures, psycho-social support, financial support, social integration, etc.).
People forced to interrupt their academic activities in Ukraine and who have or are applying for protection or refugee status in Belgium. People who are waiting to apply for protection status can already apply to A2U. The programme is aimed at bachelor and master course students who wish to participate in courses, as well as PhD students, researchers and academics who wish to participate in scientific activities.
We want to help Ukrainian students and academics who have found refuge in Belgium, by immediately allowing them to participate in university life at UCLouvain – courses, seminars, laboratory visits, student activities, sport, culture, and more.
Belgian rectors – via the Conseil des recteurs et rectrices (CReF) and the Vlaamse interuniversitaire raad (VLIR) – announced the suspension of academic relations with Russian universities that signed the Russian Union of Rectors declaration of support for the Russian army and the decisions of President Putin. « However, in order to not penalise students currently studying abroad, those who wish to do so will be able to complete their academic year in Belgium or Russia. However, future student exchanges will not be organised as long as these universities support flagrant violations of democratic values … We will continue to welcome individual Russian degree-seeking students who choose to study at a Belgian university. This welcome policy is important because we do not want to make individual Russian students victims of the choices made by their regime. »
Refuting reports that Russian students are being excluded from Belgian universities, the Académie de recherche et d’enseignement supérieur (ARES) (Academy for Research and Higher Education) gave « our support to the student community, whether Ukrainian or Russian. We actively defend the freedom to study, teach and contribute to scientific research. »
After Russian scientists signed an open letter condemning the invasion of Ukraine, the European network The Guild, of which UCLouvain is a member, highlighted their “immense courage” and demanded that they “be shielded from any negative repercussions under the universal principle of academic freedom.”
International consequences, impacts on energy prices, discourse construction, cyberwar risk, etc.: to answer journalists’ (and the general public’s) questions, UCLouvain provides the media with a regularly updated list of experts .
- Comment arrêter de verser chaque jour des centaines de millions d'euros à la Russie (L'Écho)
- Se détourner du gaz russe prendra du temps et de la volonté (Le Soir)
- Guerre russe en Ukraine : les leçons du précédent géorgien (The Conversation)
- La Russie refuse de comparaître devant la Cour internationale de justice : "Un très mauvais signal au droit international" (rtbf.be)
- La cyberguerre, le combat invisible qui peut toucher les Belges au premier plan: "Bruxelles est un nid à espions"(Le Vif)
- QR le débat sur le conflit russo-ukrainien : jusqu’où ira cette guerre ? (rtbf.be)
If you would like to make a donation to improve and expand UCLouvain’s reception of Ukraine refugees, go to getinvolved.uclouvain.be/soutien-ukraine.
You can also make a transfer to the account of the Fondation Louvain/UCLouvain (IBAN: BE29 2710 3664 0164; BIC: GEBABEBB); in the “communication” field type “Access2University – Ukraine”.
For UCLouvain students and staff who wish to contribute to the Access2University programme by integrating refugees in academic activities (participation in courses, seminars, laboratory visits, internship offers, office access) or extracurricular activities (sponsorship, socio-cultural or sports activities, etc.), click the following link (restricted access via the intranet): https://intranet.uclouvain.be/en/myucl/university/want-to-support-the-access2university-initiative.html.
If you are neither a student nor staff member of UCLouvain and would like to offer your services to the Access2University programme, contact UCLouvain at A2U-Ukraine@uclouvain.be.
A call for volunteers was launched within the university community to identify activities that staff and students could offer. We have already received about 100 offers of services (internship places, office access, participation in courses or seminars, translation, buddies, etc.). This is a wonderful show of community solidarity.
Once they arrive at UCLouvain, people benefiting from temporary protection owing to the war in Ukraine are offered two housing possibilities :
- Partner and citizen initiatives : Citizens can express their availability to host lodgers via the Plateforme citoyenne d’hébergement (Citizen Housing Platform) and/or their municipality. In the framework of the Access2University programme, UCLouvain teams then relay their hosting request to the platform’s partner, the Plateforme citoyenne d’hébergement du Brabant wallon, and ensure that housing is indeed allocated to the refugees integrated into the programme. The university can also contact the municipalities to find out how much housing can be made available in each of them.
- UCLouvain community : UCLouvain community members who wish to make a flat or room available can also make themselves known via the following link (restricted access via the intranet): https://intranet.uclouvain.be/en/myucl/university/want-to-support-the-access2university-initiative.html Once contact has been established with the refugees joining the Access2University programme, UCLouvain will act as a liaison between them and the UCLouvain hosts.
In practice : No minimum or maximum duration of housing provision has been agreed with the UCLouvain community volunteers to date. Nor is there a minimum framework for the size or layout of lodging space; what is proposed is agreed to by the hosts and the refugees.
If you wish to respond to frontline aid requests, UCLouvain invites you to turn to specialised organisations that have the infrastructure and facilities to provide effective assistance to the Ukrainian population. The 1212 initiative distributes donations to the following seven NGOs: Caritas International, Belgian Red Cross, Médecins du Monde, Handicap International Belgique, Oxfam Belgique, Plan International Belgique and UNICEF Belgique.