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Useful links and resources

On this page you'll find useful links and resources for discovering more about sanctuary and work to support people seeking sanctuary.

Salma Zulfiqar

Salma is an international artist and activist whose work revolves around refugees and asylum seekers. Inspired by the research project 'Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat' led by Professor Vicki Squire of Warwick's Department of Politics and International Studies, Salma created 'Routes to Peace?'.

Click here for more about 'Routes to Peace?'

This piece is permanently located at the University of Warwick, with each "peace dove" representing a woman carrying her story with her (the scrolls). Visitors to the exhibition can also listen to audio recordings of the women telling their stories:



Other works by Salma include a poem produced with refugees and partly influenced by the 'Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat' research project - 'We Are Searching for Life' - and her art piece 'ARTconnects', promoting global solidarity and mental wellbeing for vulnerable women in particular.

Click here for more about 'We Are Searching for Life'

'We Are Searching for Life' is a short film which calls for safe migration while highlighting the struggles of social inclusion and the lives of refugees and migrants in the UK


During COVID-19, Salma has been working on a piece called ‘The Migration Blanket’ and supporting Refugee and Asylum seeker women throughout COVID-19 via online workshops.

Click here for more about The Migration Blanket

The Migration Blanket is a collaborative artwork created during COVID-19 by refugee and asylum seeker girls and women around the world and international artist and human rights activist, Salma Zulfiqar. The artwork shines a light on the need for compassion, tolerance, and acceptance of refugees and migration and gives refugee and asylum seeker girls and women a voice through creative expression. The artwork is a call for solidarity with refugees as we head into lockdown again.

Please note that this project took place online during these extremely challenging circumstances at the height of COVID-19 earlier in 2020 connecting vulnerable girls and women in the West Midlands, London and Manchester, UK to a global community where they broke the cycle of isolation, learned creative skills and about human rights . They contributed to this international collective digital artwork, breaking boundaries and creating new friendships during the global pandemic which has crippled societies around the world. The positive impact of this project on their lives has been wide ranging.

Notable Alumni

Find below information about notable alumni from sanctuary seeking backgrounds:

In 1975, General Yakubu Gowon was overthrown in a military coup, escaped to the UK, and was offered a place at Warwick. There is a folklore in Nigeria that says that the British authorities and Warwick stood solidly behind General Gowon and ensured he remained safe at Warwick University.

In 2018, then Vice President of Nigeria - Professor Yemi Osinbajo - delivering his keynote address during a Warwick Africa Summit stated “if I was ever to lead a revolution and it failed, like Gowon I would head for Warwick University; a place of freedom and refuge; I will remain here until the dust settles." See Professor Osinbajo's speech in full here.

Photo: General Yakubu Gowon (second from right), Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria. 05 October 1973. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata.

In 1977, freedom fighter Bience Philomena Gawanas (Warwick Law Alumna) left Namibia and went into exile. During that time, she lived and taught in SWAPO refugee camps (South West African People's Organisation) in Zambia and Angola. Between 1979 and 1981, She lived in Cuba and taught Namibian exiled children in schools there. Subsequently, she had the chance to study at the University of Warwick and obtained a LLB honours.

Bience Gawanas is the Under-Secretary-General, Special Advisor on Africa to the United Nations. She has served as Special Adviser to Namibia’s Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. Prior to this, she was Special Adviser to the Minister of Health and Social Services. A champion of women’s health and rights in Africa, she has been commended for her role in initiating far‑reaching campaigns, such as the continental Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

Read more about Bience Gawanas in this profile, put together by the Law School and Warwick Alumni team.

Photo: Portrait of Bience Gawanas, UN Special Adviser on Africa. 09 May 2018. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Resonate Festival - Sanctuary

Resonate Festival had a ‘Sanctuary Month’ during June 2021, there are a few resources from the events held during the month that are available on the University website, as follows (there is more information about each project at the link):

"I would like to say you and your team along with the Sanctuary scholarship team have done a wonderful job for including us all and I have never felt left out of this wonderful community here at Warwick."

Sanctuary Student, Warwick Manufacturing Group