The programme Students at Risk (StAR) aims to offer students worldwide, who are at risk of being formally or de facto denied the right to education in their country of origin, an opportunity to take on and complete their studies in Switzerland.
Swiss students benefit daily of freedom of education and research. For many students in the world, this human right is not a given. The right for education is worldwide under pressure and is regularly a target for politically motivated attacks. Alone in the academic year of 2020-21, 332 attacks in 65 countries on higher education institutions have been registered. A high number of unreported cases is to be expected. Especially students who are more exposed due to their human rights activism are often affected by such attacks.
We as Swiss Student Union (VSS-UNES-USU) would like to contribute in the name of solidarity with our fellow students worldwide by helping students at risk.
The idea of StAR was already brought up in 2012 in Norway by two student organisations SAIH and NSO. Germany followed in 2021 with the “Domin Hilde Programm” of DAAD with a similar idea and implementation. With the project of VSS-UNES-USU, Switzerland now also contributes to the international freedom of education and research. It perfectly complements the already existing project “Scholars at Risk“, which focuses on postdocs.
In the long term, the StAR program aims to create a safe environment for students at risk in which they can realise their right to education. This also includes the prospect of a free development of personality and the possibility to contribute to society. With an academic degree and an international network, students are empowered to work for humanitarian causes anywhere in the world.
The programme was launched in August 2022 and is in the set-up phase. A pilot phase with the admission of first students is expected to take place in 2024.
- Press release VSS-UNES-USU (German), August 24, 2022
- Factsheet, December 8, 2022
- Project dossier, February 2, 2023
Would you like to support the project financially? Please contact us through the above-mentioned contact address. We are happy about any contribution.
Project Manager Students at Risk: David Di Santo