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History Chilean Exiles in the UK

The World University Service (WUS) programme for Chilean refugee scholars (1973-85) was a unique project in British history. The programme was developed out of an originally small initiative by a group of United Kingdom academics organised around Academics for Chile (AFC). WUS supported a significant number of Chileans who were imprisoned or in severe social need during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). Over ten years, the programme succeeded in assisting more than 900 Chileans - academics and students - to continue or complete their studies in the UK.

Our aim

This website aims to contribute to the reconstruction of the experience of Chilean academic refugees in the UK. It also aims to bring to the forefront the role of the organisations and citizens involved in the Chileans reception in the UK during the dark years of Pinochet's regime.

The WUS programme was innovative in many ways. However, very little work has been done to examine the importance of the scheme both to Chilean diaspora and the continuing development of refugee and aid policies in the UK. To this end, we have developed this website.

Additionally, it seeks to become a platform to promote a dialogue between the people involved with the Chilean diaspora (Refugees, British citizens, authorities and institutions that helped and welcomed academics and students) and new generations. The objective of this site is to facilitate the exchange of experiences, testimonies, ideas and memories of exile and return.

This project is one of the outcomes of the International Symposium ‘Memories of Exile and Return’ held in 2010 at the University of Warwick.