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Press Release: WUSC calls on Canadian universities, colleges and cegeps to increase support to Syrian refugees

OTTAWA, September 9, 2015 – World University Service of Canada (WUSC) has called upon the presidents and leaders of post-secondary education institutions across the country to increase their support to Syrian refugees through the Student Refugee Program.

Already active on over 65 campuses, WUSC’s Student Refugee Program empowers students, faculty and staff to sponsor young refugees to resettle in Canada and continue their education.

“WUSC has played a leadership role in bringing refugees to Canada and supporting them in receiving a high-quality university education. These students become empowered to contribute to their home country and our own,” says David Turpin, Chair of WUSC and President of the University of Alberta. “We invite all universities, colleges and cegeps to join us in our outreach.”

Former students of the program have gone on to work for government and the United Nations. Human Rights Lawyer for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Alfred Orono Orono, earned his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Alberta through the Student Refugee Program.

Founded by WUSC in 1978, the program has sponsored over 1,500 refugees from 37 countries. Uniquely Canadian, it is the only program of its kind to combine resettlement with opportunities for higher education.

This August, WUSC welcomed eight young Syrian refugees – as part of a much larger cohort of refugees students – to study on campuses across Canada. These include the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, Carleton University, the University of Winnipeg, the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. But more could be done.

“We challenge academic institutions to help continue Canada’s proud history of responding to the needs of refugees during times of crisis,” announced Chris Eaton, Executive Director of World University Service of Canada. “We ask them to join our efforts in expanding the reach of our internationally-recognized Student Refugee Program to support more youth to realize their full potential.”

Many leaders of Canadian post-secondary education institutions have already contacted WUSC to learn how they can increase their support to Syrian refugees and others impacted by the global refugee crisis. WUSC seeks to work with these institutions to increase the funding and support for this program so that they can welcome more students to Canada.


About WUSC: World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a non-profit organization working in international development. Through a unique network of academic institutions, private sector partners and volunteers, WUSC provides opportunities for education, employment and empowerment to disadvantaged youth around the world. The Student Refugee Program depends on the partnership of Canadian post-secondary education institutions, hundreds of student volunteers and on individual donors to keep the program operational. To find out more, please visit

For more information, please contact:
Stephanie Leclair, Senior Communications Officer, WUSC
[email protected] | 1-613-761-3714 |1-800-267-8699 x3714


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