Sanctuary at Mansfield
Mansfield College was founded to welcome to Oxford University people traditionally excluded from higher education, and – in conjunction with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights – we are proud to stand up for equal dignity, respect and rights for all. According to the UNHCR, while half of refugees worldwide are under the age of 18, only about 3% enter higher education and funding is a major barrier.
From October 2021, thanks to new support from the Council of Lutheran Churches, Mansfield College will offer a fully funded graduate scholarship for an outstanding scholar who has been forced to migrate from their home and has sought sanctuary in the UK.
We are delighted that through our shared commitment to supporting refugees, we have re-established Mansfield’s historic partnership with the Lutheran Church. From the mid-1950 to the 1990s, Lutheran pastors were trained at Mansfield through a tutorship established by the Lutheran World Foundation (LWF) in co-operation with the Council of Lutheran Churches. The Council of Lutheran Churches developed from communities of refugees coming together after both World Wars, to build places of sanctuary and stability as strangers in a new country.
The Council of Lutheran Churches Scholarship is intended to meet the needs of a highly able student whose education has been disrupted by forced migration and reflects Mansfield’s continued commitment to the College’s founding principles. This Scholarship will cover living costs and, in partnership with the University of Oxford, all fees.
The new Scholarship is part of an initiative by Mansfield, working with Somerville College, which is also launching a Sanctuary Scholarship, to engage more closely with people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom. We commit to learning what it means to be seeking sanctuary, and celebrating sanctuary seekers’ contributions to society, through a varied programme of activities that will include: student-led and College-supported initiatives; collaborations with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights; and an annual event organised jointly with Somerville College.
Mansfield and Somerville Colleges are together applying for University Colleges of Sanctuary status. This scheme, which grew from the City of Sanctuary movement, involves pledging to provide the most welcoming and accessible environment possible for refugees and asylum seekers.
These scholarships reflect the University of Oxford’s broadening efforts to support refugees. The Oxford Students Refugee Campaign, a student-led initiative, has provided financial support for seven refugee students at Oxford in recent years and work is taking place to create new provision across the collegiate university.
“This scholarship is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Mansfield College, but even more wonderful is this opportunity to support a cause very close to our own hearts and history – supporting those seeking sanctuary.”
The Rt Revd B Jørgensen, Chair, Council of Lutheran Churches
“I am delighted that our community was universally so supportive of offering a refugee scholar the opportunity to study at Mansfield, and that Mansfield and Somerville Colleges are working together to apply for College of Sanctuary status.”
Helen Mountfield QC, Principal, Mansfield College