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King’s Sanctuary Programme


The 10-year vision of the Sanctuary Programme is to realise the educational potential of forcibly displaced young people.

The Sanctuary Programme was formed in 2015 in response to the humanitarian crisis created by 60 million people fleeing from Syria and other conflict zones. The programme aims to initiate and lead on projects that create positive opportunities for young people whose education has been disrupted by these conflicts.

In addition, the programme aims to enhance understanding of the forced migration crisis among staff and students at King’s and to develop opportunities for them to make a positive contribution.  

At its heart, the Sanctuary Programme represents our commitment to serving society and making the world a better place.



Flagship initiatives

With a shared interest in innovative digital pedagogy, student support and delivery, PADILEIA consists of three universities – King’s College London, Al Al-Bayt University in Jordan, and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon – as well as Kiron Open Higher Education (a digital-education NGO) and FutureLearn (a leader in online learning).

PADILEIA is increasing access to higher education for refugee and disadvantaged host communities in Jordan and Lebanon. PADILEIA’s education offering consists of blended academic programmes, including short online courses, targeted online learning and classroom-based learning. Its target learners are displaced individuals living in Jordan and Lebanon; however, the project has seen thousands of online learners from around the world also benefit.

In June 2018, King’s launched two free short online courses in English on FutureLearn, which learners can join from any device, computer or smartphone with an internet connection. These courses enable refugees and displaced people to resume their studies, learn everyday conversational English, and develop transferable skills for their futures. They also provide a foundation for learners to advance onto higher education programmes. To date, 492 refugee and disadvantaged Jordanian and Lebanese students have completed a King’s College London short course in English. While the course content was specifically designed around the study interests of communities in Jordan and Lebanon, they are open to all people in the region and beyond. There are currently 54,097 learners on the English courses worldwide.

The PADILEA partnership also runs two 8-month foundation programmes in Jordan and Lebanon for over 100 students a year, led by the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and Al Al-Bayt University in Jordan, alongside custom-made online study programs using massive open online courses (MOOCs) and blended activities run by Kiron Open Higher Education.


Since 2016, King’s has provided Sanctuary Scholarships for students who are asylum seekers or have been granted limited leave to remain and have no access to Student Finance. The scholarships comprise full tuition fee support and help with living costs per academic year of an undergraduate programme. To date, King’s has offered twenty scholarships – eleven in previous years and nine for September 2019.

One of the most recent recipients said: ‘This Sanctuary Scholarship is hope renewed for me and my family. Words can’t truly express my gratitude, it is a blessing and a fresh start for me. My aspirations to go to a world-renowned university and begin to realise my career ambitions are being fulfilled and it all feels like a dream!’ 

Find out more about the Sanctuary Scholarships here

Find out more about support available at King’s for forced migrant students here


Making a difference

Forced migration particularly impacts young people, disrupting their education and potentially creating a ‘lost generation’ with few prospects. To help prevent this scenario from occurring, King’s will continue to harness its expertise in education, online resources, existing international partnerships, knowledge of the affected regions, and ability to initiate and lead on projects that create positive opportunities for forcibly displaced young people.

The Sanctuary Programme will also support the meaningful contributions that the King’s community can make to alleviating aspects of this global crisis. Due to the widespread issues created by forced migration, everyone at King’s can make a difference.