Students and staff from across the European Union are welcome at Welsh Universities, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said today (Tues 5th July).
Addressing concerns raised in the aftermath of the referendum, she has set out how those from across the EU studying at universities in Wales are still valued and wanted members of the education community. The Education Secretary also praised EU staff who are vital to the Welsh higher education sector.
Kirsty Williams said:
“There is no escaping that the recent referendum has unleashed uncertainty and worry. In some cases it may have roused the spectre of racial tensions. I want to send a message loud and clear that students and staff from across the European Union are still welcome at Welsh Universities. Those already studying here, and those who are planning to come are still welcome, our places of learning are still there for you.
“Welsh universities will continue to recruit and teach students from across the world. The long, proud tradition of European students coming to Wales has helped us foster our relationship with many countries. There are thousands of people who have a special place for Wales in their hearts after studying here. Our country will remain a tolerant, accepting and safe place where people from any nation can pursue their academic ambitions. Let me be clear, we will not tolerate any form of racial abuse whether on our campuses or within the wider communities in which we are rooted.
“Lets not forget EU staff are vital to the operation of our universities. We attract some of the best minds from across Europe to teach here and importantly carry out research that will benefit the people of Wales, from developing life-saving medicines to clean energy. This will not and must not change. Our universities are central to our social and economic future and they thrive through the diversity of the people who come to them.
“The Welsh Government is determined to protect Wales’ reputation as a friendly and tolerant place to study and carry out world-class research. Whatever the long-term implication of the vote, we remain an outward looking and welcoming nation where we are committed to sharing knowledge across national borders.”