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UK Higher Education Humanitarian Group

Addressing a global challenge

Over 100 million people across the world are forcibly displaced. Amongst those forcibly displaced are talented scholars and academics. Unable to continue their studies, research careers or access higher education, the world risks losing their knowledge and contributions forever. The UK higher education sector has a proud tradition of supporting those forcibly displaced due to conflict, violence or persecution and has a leading role to play in responding to this global challenge.

The Group works to advance, coordinate and catalyse support for forcibly displaced academics and students across UK higher education.

Chaired by King's College London and the University of Edinburgh, the group has representatives from across UK universities and sector groups including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and Universities UK International.

Key priorities

  • Connect key organisations and universities in supporting access and pathways to higher education for forcibly displaced students and academics.

  • Accelerate action in the UK higher education sector contributing to the global compact target of fifteen per cent of refugees accessing higher education by 2030 (UNHCR).

  • Support sustainable planning, knowledge sharing and exchange across UK higher education with regard to forced displacement of academics and students.

  • Provision of support and strategic advice with regard to challenges around access for those forcibly displaced in accessing higher education and sector responses to humanitarian emergencies.


  • Dr Leonie Ansems De Vries (King's College London)

  • Alan Mackay (University of Edinburgh)


  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • Council for At Risk Academics (Observer)

  • Universities UK International

  • Refugee Education UK

  • Professor Cara Aitchison (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

  • Professor Rachael Langford (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

  • Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin (King's College London)

  • Jhumar Johnson (Open University)

  • Sarah Hoey (University of Edinburgh)

  • Dr Nick Gill (University of Exeter)

  • Rachel Sandison (University of Glasgow)

  • Philip Horspool (University of Leicester)

  • Aleks Palanac (University of Leicester)

  • Dr Julian Skyrme (University of Manchester)

  • Joane Jacobs (University of Manchester)

  • Professor Judith Rankin (University of Newcastle)

  • Adonis Marden (University of Oxford)

  • Professor Linda Morrice (University of Sussex)

  • Sarah Harder-Collins (University of Winchester)

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