Western Responds to the Syrian Crisis


As millions of Syrians flee civil war to seek asylum in Europe and elsewhere, Western University announced today a multi-pronged approach to help support refugee families, students and scholars.

“Western’s response to the crisis in Syria is grassroots in nature and reflective of the very human and instinctual concern being expressed by people and communities across the country and around the world,” said Janice Deakin, Western’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic). “At Western, we are able to leverage some existing programs that offer support to international students and scholars in need, and we also have passionate colleagues doing scholarship and community outreach in the area of migration and ethnic relations who are playing a leadership role. It’s heartening to see support coming from all corners of our campus.”

Refugee Sponsorship Fund

Western, led by the Faculty of Social Science and in partnership with the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre, is raising funds for a G5 Private Sponsorship Application for a Syrian refugee family. The initial goal is to raise funds to sponsor one Syrian refugee family to London, at a cost of $30,000 for a family of five refugees. If more than this amount is received and commitments from individuals to become part of a sponsorship team are made, this can be expanded to include more refugee families. For more information or to donate to the fund, visit https://ssc.uwo.ca/refugee_sponsorship_fund.html

“As Canadians, we are proud of our history of bringing in refugees in need of protection in times of crisis,” says Victoria Esses, Director of Western’s Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations. “We made a large contribution to welcoming refugees through the 1970s and 80s, but have been more resistant in recent years. The Refugee Sponsorship Fund is our small contribution to making a difference today.”

Syrian Refugee Awards

Western is working to establish 10 Syrian refugee student awards that will cover tuition and living costs for up to 10 Syrian students admitted to Western as early as January 2016. To be eligible for a Syrian Refugee Award, applicants must be Syrian citizens or residents with satisfactory academic standing who have been admitted to begin studies in a Western University degree program.

Scholars at Risk Program

As a member of the Canadian section of Scholars at Risk, Western is able to host identified scholars who face severe human rights abuses in their home country so that they may continue their work in a safe environment. Through this program and other avenues, Western is currently working to identify Syrian scholars that could be brought to the university.

To learn more, visit https://uwo.ca/helpsyria/

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Ledgley, Senior Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85283, sledgley@uwo.ca


Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.