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New Accord provides opportunities for researchers displaced by war

The leaders of 10 high-level science centres based in Trieste and Friuli Venezia Giulia have agreed to develop research and study opportunities for scientists forced to flee from war and conflict in their home countries. The agreement was signed on Monday 17 September 2018 at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, a UNESCO Category 1 Centre.


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The ten international and Italian institutions “will offer opportunities to affected scientists to enrich their professional skills, to foster their human and professional development and integration, and encourage their reintegration in their country of origin once conditions allow,” the agreement says.

Exactly how many have been displaced is unknown, but some estimates conclude that thousands have fled in recent years from such countries as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Many are now in neighboring countries such as Colombia, Jordan, and Turkey, while others have arrived in Europe and North America. Many have been unable to resume their work because opportunities and programmes are lacking.

The accord is the outcome of a year-long initiative by the research institutions to develop a framework to support scientists, social scientists, medical professionals, engineers and advanced students who have been forced to flee from their home countries. This was part of a broad set of recommendations(link is external) to support refugee scientists produced in May 2017, during a workshop co-organized by The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS), a UNESCO programme.

Trieste and Friuli Venezia Giulia are recognised as a major hub for science, with many institutions focused at least in part on building scientific strength in the developing world. The new agreement notes that the region’s scientific institutions “have a consolidated experience in ’science diplomacy’ which has led them to play an international leadership role.”

The following institutions have agreed to the accord:

Science in Exile (trailer)

This new documentary film from TWAS presents the stories of four scientists who have fled conflict zones in recent years, seeking safety.


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