Democracy and participation, Migration


Blurring borders at the University of Valladolid. The academy as a facilitator for the integration of migrants and refugees


Who is behind this?

Pedro Campuzano Cuadrado

Médicos del mundo - Castilla y León


Who is joining forces?

Médicos del mundo Castilla y León


Universidad de Valladolid



Idea pitch

We aim to transform the university into a safe and welcoming space for migrants and refugees. We want it to become a tool that improves the employment and future expectations of these people and makes it possible to bring about changes so that migrants and refugees can raise their own voices and build new dynamics.

We are an NGO that works for the defence of human rights and, with that goal in mind, we have partnered with the University of Valladolid.

Where will your project idea take place?

Spain, Castille and León region, in the provinces of Valladolid, Soria Palencia and Segovia.

What is the local challenge?

Castille and León is a Spanish region with a great territorial dispersion in which a big part of the population lives in rural areas and shows a high degree of aging. Due to demographic dynamics and lack of opportunities, the migratory balance is negative, with young population migrating to other areas of the country or abroad. Its population density is one of the lowest in Europe.

About 5% of the population are immigrants —well below the national average—, who face barriers to integrate in the community, especially in rural areas.

On the other hand, the University of Valladolid has campuses in small cities such as Palencia (78,000) and Soria (39,000). The challenge of our project lies in promoting the participation of migrants and refugees within the University.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

This idea arises from the diagnosis made in the Congress "Human migrations and refuge: tragedy or opportunity?" (27-29 February 2020) in which we participated, together with the University of Valladolid, with different working groups formed by migrants and experts on multiple areas.

The ideas we propose will increase the effective participation of migrants and refugees in the community, making them the main actors of various projects and favouring their itinerary of integration, training, employment and permanence in the areas in which we work that need migrant population, especially young people, to settle down in them.

Who are you doing it for?

In the diagnosis made during the aforementioned congress, young migrants, especially refugees, expressed the difficulty in accessing university.
The preparation required and the difficulties they found to validate their titles were two of the main issues mentioned, especially with respect to refugees, who often had high professional qualifications but found it difficult to accredit them in Spain.

5% of the population is foreign, i.e around 170,000 people who will be the target of our actions. Under this project we hope to work with at least 1,000 migrants and 100 refugees, facilitating their integration in the University and the community, and to indirectly collaborate with some of the over 20,000 university students involved in awareness initiatives on migration and interculturality.

How do you plan to get there?

- Create an intersectoral table of universities, public institutions and migrant associations.

- Generate a protocol for the access and admission of students applying for and benefiting from international protection to university studies in Castille and León.

- Dynamize the University Transition Training Program for migrants and asylum seekers (language, career guidance, emotional intelligence, culture of peace and human rights, sustainable human development).

- Conduct awareness actions (talks, film forum...) on migrations and refuge led by migrants themselves.

- Design actions to accompany migrant students.

What are the expected results?

The success would be for the University of Valladolid to become a space for interculturality and a driving force for the inclusion, participation and leadership of migrants and refugees.

At the end of the year we should:

- Have generated changes in the policies and procedures of admission to the University that affect over 1,000 migrants and refugees.

- Have trained more than 150 migrants and refugees.

- Have reached, through our awareness actions, more than 400 people from the university community.

- Have in place a continuous accompaniment process benefiting more than 40 migrants.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Enhanced participation of migrants and refugees must be one of the pillars of work for strengthening of democracy in Europe. This is especially important in the current context, characterised by the increasing number of refugees and the rise of hate speech that tries to segregate part of the population. It is also important that migrants can raise their own voice, promote their leadership and become involved in the participatory construction of society.

Racism, xenophobia and extremism are real risks that threaten democracy in Europe. Developing a real, tangible project of integration and joint University-migrant efforts can be a good practice that demonstrates that interculturality delivers wealth and democratic strength.

What is your story?

Médicos del Mundo is an entity with 30 years of experience advancing migrants’ rights. Promoting that the most vulnerable people take an active role in defending their rights is one of its main pillars. Our technical and volunteer members have participated in the diagnosis of this project and firmly believe that it can be a transformative action for migrants and refugees, as well as for our region.

€ 30700,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 36700,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Personnel costs 28000 EUR
Public relations and dissemination 1500 EUR
Travel costs 1200 EUR



Idea created on May 27, 2020

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