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On 4 July, the Scholars at Risk Network will join forces with De Jonge Academie to host the conference, “Refugees in the Art Sector & Academia: Where do we stand in Flanders?”. The aim of the event is to increase public awareness on the topic of refugees in the arts sector and in academia, and to make an inventory of the current situation in Flanders, looking at challenges and opportunities. 


The VUB will be represented with active participation from Prof. dr. Sonja Snacken, Vice-Rector International Policy, and Zafer Kizilkaya, a Turkish PhD student political sciences at VUB. They will share their experiences and understanding of current policies regarding the refugee crisis in terms of academia.


Prof. dr. Sonja Snacken will explain how VUB set up the Welcome Student-Refugee Programme, what it has achieved so far and how it will be further developed into a more comprehensive offering for these refugees who wish to study.

Prior to the public conference, Marie Aurousseau will represent the VUB at a workshop for representatives of Belgian Higher education institutions. During this workshop, participants will learn about ways to get involved in Scholars At Risk-related activities in Belgium.


VUB is an active member of the Scholars at Risk network (SAR). The network protects scholars who suffer from threats to their lives, liberty and well-being by organising temporary research and teaching positions at institutions within their network. They also provide advice and referral services. For the past two and a half years, VUB hosted Dr. Felix Kaputu to enable him to finish his PhD in May 2017. Dr. Felix Kaputu was falsely accused of supporting rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was forced to flee the country due to inhumane treatment including confinement and denial of access to basic needs. Starting in November and for 6 weeks, a film booth will be set up on campus showing a very short film about the life and social engagement of Dr. Felix Kaputu. 


The refugee crisis prompted VUB to launch the Welcome Student-refugees Programme. 11% of the refugees arriving in Belgium are students who were forced to flee their home countries and stop their studies due to conflicts. The Programme aims to give potential students with a refugee background a chance to resume or finish their education so they can contribute to and integrate into society, thereby creating a better future for themselves.


For more information on the event including the programme, and if you would like to attend the conference, please register:


More information:

Scholars at Risk:

De Jonge Academie:

VUB student-refugee programme: