Balliol Sanctuary Fund is launched

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Balliol has launched the Balliol Sanctuary Fund, to provide a secure home for students fleeing conflict and repression. The ambition is to fully fund one undergraduate and postgraduate at Balliol on an ongoing basis.

A tradition of welcome

Balliol is proud to have a long history of welcoming scholars seeking sanctuary since at least 1639, when Nathaniel Canopius fled from persecution in Constantinople to study at Balliol.

Balliol took in Belgian refugees in 1914 during the First World War; welcomed Jewish scholars fleeing Germany and Austria following Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s; enabled Hungarian students to pursue their studies at Oxford following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; and supported refugee scholars from around the world through the Balliol JCR’s Refugee Scholarships in the 1970s and 80s. More recently the College co-funded a Rhodes Scholarship for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine in 2016, awarded the Balliol Students’ Scholarship for a refugee student in 2018 and with the generous support of Old Members and friends gave sanctuary to two Ukrainian scholars displaced by war in 2022.

Sanctuary for future generations

Today, ongoing conflicts and human rights abuses worldwide mean that increasing numbers of bright students are forced to flee their countries and stop their education, often experiencing violence and significant trauma.

Launching the appeal, the Master of Balliol, Dame Helen Ghosh, said: ‘For centuries, Balliol has offered sanctuary to students fleeing persecution and conflict. Now more than ever, I believe we must secure that tradition for future generations.’

Speaking of promising students who have had education stolen from them by circumstances beyond their control, she continued: ‘We have an opportunity to welcome them to Balliol, and support them through our wonderful community to make the most of everything on offer here at Oxford.’

What the fund will support

Gifts of all levels will help to fund scholarships for students seeking sanctuary, covering their full tuition and living costs. The initial aim of the fund is to provide on an ongoing basis at least one undergraduate and one postgraduate sanctuary scholarship. Every donation made towards this goal will be doubled, thanks to partnerships between the Balliol Sanctuary Fund and a range of College and University funds.

How to give

If you would like to continue the College’s tradition of welcome and help support students fleeing conflict and repression to come to Balliol, please visit the Balliol Sanctuary Fund giving page.