Date: Sunday, 22 October 2023
The first student to arrive with the Unicore university runners graduated from the Earth Sciences department of the University of Pisa
PISA — The first student to arrive with the Unicore university runners , aimed at promoting refugees' access to university education in Italy, has graduated in Pisa . His name is Mehari , he is originally from Eritrea and has a degree in Exploration and applied Geophysics.
For Mehari, a great result came after a long journey that took him to Pisa together with Tesfalem , who will graduate in Computer Science and Networking in a few weeks.
The young man defended his thesis at the Department of Earth Sciences , with professor Adriano Ribolini as supervisor. “It's a great day for me and it's nice to be surrounded by the people who supported the Unicore project – commented Mehari – In Pisa I lived very intense years, I arrived in the difficult period of the pandemic and it was hard, but with the help of all I managed to reach the finishing line of graduation. Now I hope to stay here, for my future I hope for a doctorate or a job in my sector".
Mehari's achievement was celebrated by the entire university community. Present at the discussion of his thesis were the rector Riccardo Zucchi , the vice-rector for cooperation and international relations Giovanni Federico Gronchi , the contact person for the Unicore project for the University of Pisa Marcello Di Filippo and some representatives of the Office for International Relations. Together with them there were representatives of the large network of local partners of the project: Caritas Italiana, the Waldensian Diaconia and the Waldensian Church, the Sante Malatesta Association, the Doctors with Africa CUAMM, the University Language Centre, the Interdisciplinary Center for Peace Sciences and the Dsu Toscana, which throughout the study cycle ensured students the necessary support (including economic) and encouraged their adaptation to university life, particularly in the difficult period of the pandemic. Among these were Francesco Paletti, responsible for the poverty and resources observatories of the Diocesan Caritas of Pisa, Adriana Papagna representing the Waldensian Diaconia, and Linda Graziadei of the Pisa Group of Doctors with Africa CUAMM. Also complimenting the new graduate was the former rector Paolo Mancarella, who after signing the Manifesto of Inclusive Universities, had firmly joined the Unicore Project.
"Through the Unicore project, the University of Pisa welcomed two refugee students from Ethiopia starting from the 2020-21 academic year – recalls Professor Giovanni Federico Gronchi – This action is fully included among those that can be implemented within the Manifesto of inclusive universities, again promoted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with the aim of promoting refugees' access to university education and research and to promote social integration and active participation in academic life, to which our University has joined with conviction"
“We are very proud to celebrate Mehari, our first graduate of the Unicore project – said the rector Riccardo Zucchi at the end of the thesis discussion – On this occasion I feel obliged to thank all the organizations that helped the two boys who arrived from Eritrea to integrate into their new life in Pisa. All this demonstrates once again that the mission of a university is always to encourage cultural growth, knowledge and dialogue even among those who come from difficult situations such as war contexts. Precisely in recent days the CRUI, referring to the recent conflict that broke out in the Middle East, recalled how universities are, by their very nature, places of meeting and dialogue between cultures, as well as the development of critical and rational thinking, tools to look to for all peace building".