U of R celebrates role of education

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: January 24, 2023 10:00 a.m.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General of ENESCO, has dedicated this year’s International Day of Education to the girls and women of Afghanistan.
Audrey Azoulay, Director General of ENESCO, has dedicated this year’s International Day of Education to the girls and women of Afghanistan. University Advancement and Communications

The University of Regina joins in recognizing January 24, 2023, as the fifth annual International Day of Education as declared by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

UNESCO recognizes education as a human right, a public good, and public responsibility and Audrey Azoulay, Director General of ENESCO, has dedicated this year’s International Day of Education to the girls and women of Afghanistan who have been denied their right to learn, study, and teach. It is calling for an immediate lifting of the ban restricting their access to education.

On December 20, 2022, the Taliban in Afghanistan banned women from attending universities, further restricting women’s education in the country as girls had already been banned from attending high schools since the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021.

Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations who served from 1997 to 2006 declared, “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” He also asserted, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Jeff Keshen said, “As an institution of higher learning, the University of Regina has always supported – and will always support – girls’ and women’s right to receive an education. As noted in our 2020-2025 strategic plan, All Our Relations: kahkiyaw kiwâhkômâkaninawak, through our commitment to well-being and belonging, the University of Regina is dedicated to cultivating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment where everyone feels part of the community.”

In 2022, four deserving students, including Samuel Sasuk, received the Dr. Jack Boan Student Refugee Award, a scholarship that was specifically for refugee students.

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Recipient of a 2022 Dr. Jack Boan Student Refugee Award Samuel Sasuk is a second-year computer science student.  Credit: Samuel Sasuk

Sasuk, a second-year computer science student at the U of R, was displaced from his home South Sudan due to the civil war and went to Uganda in 2015. He stayed in a refugee camp there until 2019 when he was sponsored by the World University of Canada (WUSC).

“Through WUSC I was able to come to Canada and Regina and began taking English as a second language classes as my English was not so good,” said Sasuk. “Once I completed those classes I entered the U of R and started my studies here. Because of the pandemic I was only able to take a few classes to begin with and I was also working, so it was very hard. 

“Receiving the Dr. Jack Boan Student Refugee Award really helped me concentrate on my studies and take more classes as I didn’t have to work. I feel very fortunate to have come here, everyone has been awesome and welcoming. I’ve always been able to get help with my studies whenever I needed it and my instructors have been very helpful. I would definitely choose to come to the U of R again.” 

While this award is no longer being offered, the University of Regina recently created a special fund to help students, affected by war or other forms of political violence in their home countries, continue their studies at the U of R.

Project Resilience establishes scholarships, provides emergency funds, and delivers other supports for these students and their families. Financial assistance provided through this program includes scholarships equal to tuition and course fees for qualifying students. As well, the University provides a stipend of $1,000 a year to cover the cost of books and supplies. Four new award packages will be made available each year and will be renewable for an additional three years. This means that within a few years, up to 16 students will be financially supported at any given time.

Donations to Project Resilience, can be made at the U of R’s Give Now portal.

Other awards supporting refugee students include the Syrian Crisis Refugee Award, which is also available to ESL and graduate students. This award is for both permanent residents/refugees.

Applications for undergraduate awards for the Winter 2023 term close on February 1 and can be made online at the Student Awards Management System.

Graduate students can apply for or learn more about awards available for them at the Graduate Awards Portal (GAP). Applications for Winter 2023 term awards opens on February 1 and closes on February 28.

Well-being and belonging is one of five key areas of the University’s strategic plan All Our Relations: kahkiyaw kiwâhkômâkaninawak. The University of Regina provides positive social, environmental, economic, and health impacts through our reciprocal relationships with our communities. In 2024, the University of Regina will celebrate its 50th anniversary as an independent institution, providing an opportunity to evaluate and communicate how we meet provincial, national, and global societal needs.