A network has now been established of more than 100 universities world-wide to highlight the massive issue of forced migration and promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in a bid to improve the lives of millions by 2030.

The network began as 10 founding universities in January 2018 after a conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (DMU) was asked to take the world lead for higher education institutions and, with nine partners, formed the Universities #JoinTogether network, which shares knowledge and best practice for engaging with refugees and migrants.

The network’s work was recognised by the United Nations in the summer of 2018, with DMU being asked to expand on the work of the #JoinTogether project and become the Global Hub for Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions.

At the network’s conference in January 2019, the work towards highlighting the aims of the 17 goals and in particular SDG 16 was incorporated into the work of the network.

The network is a platform for sharing best practice and we are checking our actions against pledges made and activities agreed.

We also collaborating on new project ideas and research developed and discussed at conferences. One example of this is DMU’s current project with University of Pennsylvania to develop a handbook for universities wishing to undertake effective outreach with refugees and migrants.

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The founding network universities, along with DMU, were:

Evansville University is a private Christian university in Indiana, USA. It opposed President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and welcomes students from over 50 countries.

Frederick University is one of the biggest private universities in Cyprus and is based in two campuses in the capital Nicosia and Limassol. The university has provided social services to refugees and asylum seekers in Cyprus.

Guilford College is a liberal arts college located in North Carolina in the USA which has a large commitment to advancing positive social change. The college founded a scheme called ‘Every Campus a Refuge’ and has hosted a total of 32 refugees on their campus whilst assisting their resettlement.

Humboldt University is a university in the centre of Germany’s capital, Berlin. They have launched a number of programmes to help refugees, including a refugee law clinic set up by students to provide legal support for refugees in the Berlin region.

Montclair State University is based in New Jersey, USA, and has over 20,000 students. The university has given scholarships to a number of refugees to enable them the chance to have a good education.

University of Pennsylvania is a prestigious Ivy League university in the American city of Philadelphia. Penn runs a refugee clinic which provides medical support to over 75 refugees each year. Several student-run groups on Penn’s campus are also working to help refugees through advocacy, education, fundraising and other resources.

University of Santa Maria is a university in the southern region of Brazil. The university has launched an initiative focused on vulnerable refugees and immigrants who have recently arrived in Brazil to give them access to vocational, technological and higher education degrees.

University of Science and Technology Beijing is one of China’s most important universities. It is one of the most influential universities in the country and greatly values contributions to society.

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Connecticut, USA. Dozens of Wesleyan students have helped refugees all over the world by volunteering with community organisations, coordinating events, fundraising and engaging in advocacy efforts.