UCL support for students and staff from Afghanistan
27 August 2021
UCL is working swiftly to support everyone working or studying with UCL who is currently in Afghanistan or is affected by the distressing and dangerous situation in the country.
All students who hold Afghan nationality have been contacted to understand their position and find out where help is needed. The majority who are normally resident in Afghanistan have been able to leave, and we have supported a small number who are currently in third countries with visa guidance and accommodation costs where needed. Several students have not been able to leave the country and we are in touch with them to offer whatever advice, advocacy and other support we can; we hope that information on future routes out of the country following the end of evacuation flights will be forthcoming swiftly.
We are not aware of any directly employed UCL staff resident or working in Afghanistan, but we are concerned about the safety of a number of field researchers recruited to UK research council funded projects on which UCL is a partner. We have been advocating for these researchers to be included on evacuation lists through all channels we have access to and academics across UCL have been working through a number of networks, including CARA (the Council for At Risk Academics), to lobby for researchers at risk and offer routes to study or work in the UK where possible. Details of all students and researchers who need support to leave Afghanistan have been collated and submitted to relevant government departments both directly and through sector groups such as Universities UK, and we will continue to update those as long as it remains necessary and effective.
Many staff and students are extremely fearful for family members who remain in Afghanistan; while there is unfortunately little UCL can do to alleviate their situation, the Student Support and Wellbeing team is providing care for students, and staff can call on Care First.
This is an extremely difficult and fast-moving situation, and UCL will do everything it can on behalf of students, staff and partners who now find themselves in a difficult or dangerous situation. If anyone is aware of anyone in the UCL community affected by the events in Afghanistan and in need of any kind of support, please alert Abigail Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is coordinating these activities.