Aircastle - Bridging Communities with the DCU University of Sanctuary Programme

Sarah Clarkin is Executive Vice President, Legal and a director of Aircastle (Ireland) Limited. In this piece, she explains what has inspired the leading aviation company to support the DCU University of Sanctuary programme since 2018.
Can you tell us a bit about Aircastle’s connection with DCU?

We reached out to Dublin City University in 2018 when we learned about the University of Sanctuary programme. Aircastle has a small presence in Ireland but, like our colleagues in our US head-office, we wanted to increase our local involvement in social justice and community initiatives and give back in some small way. We were looking for something meaningful in the education sector with which we could get involved; education and innovation is so important for all of us. This search coincided with a sense of unease that was building in relation to the experiences of people in direct provision in Ireland. We were very moved by the stories of the candidates for the Sanctuary programme and very impressed by the professionalism of the team at DCU. The University of Sanctuary programme is rightly a source of pride for DCU and shows commitment to the university’s vision of transforming lives and society, a commitment that we are delighted to support.

What inspired and continues to inspire your long-standing support for the University of Sanctuary programme?

We love that we can offer support to students embarking on their journey in further education, but we are especially inspired by the young people who benefit from the University of Sanctuary programme. The resilience and fortitude they have shown in overcoming the challenges life has thrown at them and getting to this stage of their career is impressive and humbling.

“Facilitating the inclusion and advancement of people who have taken shelter in Ireland is a privilege and we know that affording them these opportunities will benefit the university community now, and all of us in the future.”

The University of Sanctuary programme welcomes refugees and asylum seekers into the university community and fosters a culture of inclusion for all. How does this align with Aircastle’s own values as a company?

Aircastle is an international aircraft leasing company with aircraft on lease with airlines across the globe. Working in the aviation industry, we play a role in bridging communities. We know that humanity moves forward when people of different backgrounds travel across geographic divides. We have a passion for air travel because we know how it enables collaboration, innovation, cultural enrichment, and often healing.

We believe in and celebrate equity and equality in the workplace. We also believe that having diverse team members with unique voices and perspectives is a strategic advantage in a global business such as ours. The University of Sanctuary’s mission aligns well with these values as the programme lifts people up who might otherwise be marginalised and provides a platform from which they can take their place as impactful citizens. Aircastle is passionate about inclusion in the workplace and in society and we know this passion is shared by the University of Sanctuary programme at DCU.

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