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UMSU and Administration partner to help Syrian refugee Student

December 15, 2015 — 

In November 2015 the University of Manitoba announced it would provide in-kind and financial support to a Syrian refugee who will begin studying here in January 2016.

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union  (UMSU) has since partnered with the University of Manitoba to equally share the associated costs, such as tuition and residence costs, and immigration and travel fees.

“When we heard that the University of Manitoba had committed to bringing in a Syrian student refugee as soon as January 2016…we wanted to partner with them. Many of our members want to do something positive in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, and what better way for our university community to come together than to sponsor a Syrian student,” says Jeremiah Kopp, President of UMSU.

For their part, the University of Manitoba and UMSU are supporting the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) local committee, a student group that has helped refugee students pursue post-secondary studies in Manitoba since 1981 through WUSC’s Student Refugee Program; they won a Lieutenant Governor’s award earlier this year. To date, the university’s WUSC committee has sponsored 27 students from places like South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Vietnam and Ethiopia.

“The situation in Syria is very serious and the University of Manitoba wanted to find a way to help, that also aligns with our mission,” says David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Manitoba. “After examining a few options we concluded that supporting student refugees through WUSC, so they can pursue a transformative education, was the best and fastest way we could be of assistance.”

In 2016, the University will increase its support for the WUSC local committee. This additional support will allow the local committee to increase the number of students sponsored per year, from one up to four.

Enabling students to become global leaders is part of the outstanding student experience the University of Manitoba supports through its Front and Centre campaign. The University of Manitoba is committed to attracting and cultivating global leaders. You can help the University of Manitoba in immediately supporting a student today by donating here.

“I commend the University of Manitoba for its leadership on the refugee crisis. It was one of the first universities in Canada to commit to bringing Syrian student refugees to Canada, as early as January 2016. It’s also very encouraging that the University of Manitoba Students’ Union is partnering with the U of M to support the WUSC local committee, demonstrating a university-community approach to this refugee crisis,” says Chris Eaton, Executive Director World University Service of Canada.

As an example of the transformative nature of the WUSC program, at Spring Convocation 2015, WUSC celebrated the success of Daniel Mach, a WUSC Scholar who fled from what is now South Sudan. David Arenas, Service-Learning Coordinator at the University of Manitoba, honoured him in an Instagram post.

“Every WUSC Scholar has a remarkable story and an inspiring dedication and drive to succeed despite the most challenging obstacles,” says Arenas, who oversees the WUSC local committee.

“This program provides a transformative opportunity for the sponsored students and their peers at the university. Through their contributions WUSC scholars enrich our community in incredible ways. It’s wonderful news that with the new support from the University of Manitoba we will be able to sponsor more of these outstanding scholars.”



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