Leave No One Behind: Launch of 2019 GEM Report UNESCO

Leave No One Behind: Launch of 2019 GEM Report UNESCO

On Tuesday November 27th, the Global Education Monitoring Report on Migration, Displacement and Education was launched at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome. The event was hosted by UNESCO and opened a window on the education for migrants and refugee by analyzing what have been done by governments until now. Ministers, academics, civil society, youth and UNESCO Chairs were present during the launching of the report; among them Franco Bernabè, President of the Italian National Commission of UNESCO; Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO; Anna Cristina D’Addio, Senior Policy Analyst GEM Report, Fr. Fabio Baggio, Under-Secretary, Migrant and Refugees Section, Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.  For our UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, it was a moment of sharing the mutual principles on equal education in developed and developing countries.

The 2019 GEM report focuses on “presenting evidence on the implication of different types of migration and displacement for education but also the impact that reforming the curricula, pedagogy and teacher preparation can have on embracing diversity,” Stefania Giannini.  This report serves as a guide for teachers and governments to determine education objectives for future multicultural generations.

Franco Bernabè opened the discussions claiming that “in order to have social development it is crucial not to build walls but bridges,” rephrasing and broadening the subtitle of the report. The encounter of different cultures is what is needed to increase our societies.

Since our societies are becoming more multicultural, it is fundamental that our teachers are well prepared to communicate and teach children from different backgrounds. It is important to underline that the language used to study and to communicate are not the same.

Indeed, within the 2019 GEM Report are listed seven recommendations, which the main are the following: 1) teachers should receive more support to satisfy the quantity of roles and tasks that they are called to achieve to educate migrants and refugees. 2) Other Italian cities should look at some inclusive activities already established, for example, in Milan and Turin. 3) Governments should insist more on gathering data to estimate better the dimension of migration within their country.

Anna Cristina D’Addio also emphasized the importance of increasing trainings for teachers: “it is relevant that they have the right workflow tools to make these kids, the new generations part of our communities.” Often teachers do not feel supported and well prepared to work in a multicultural environment. According to a survey done in France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Spain and United Kingdom, teachers agreed that adjusting the new requests in favor of migrants’ education brought much work and caused frustration due to the lack of support.

The second part of the conference was dedicated to discussions and opened questions. Eugenio Bruno of il Sole 24 Ore, chaired two round tables pointing out interesting arguments around the launching of the report. First, he asked to Fr. Fabio Baggio the Vatican point of view of the situation of migrants’ education, which should be based on the development of centered education.  Mario Giro (Former Deputy Minister and Community of Sant ’Egidio), quite surprised, commented that finally UNESCO focused its research not only on the safeguarding of cultural heritage but also on education. Prof. Livi Bacci (University of Florence), on the other hand, introduceed the concepts of the Global Compact and its repercussion on Italian politics. Finally, Prof. Alberto Melloni (UNESCO Chair for Religious Pluralism and Peace), commented that the matter to migration (not an issue) linked to the religious aspects is not well considered in Italy.

Anna Cristina D’Addio welcomed representatives of international organizations such UNHCR, IOM, and Save the Children in the second round table. Ana de Vega, Paola Alvarez, and Francesca Bocchino discussed the difficulties of accessing the education not only for children but also for adults. Often migrants are collocated in different classes increasing the number of migrants that leave education at early stages. Another factor that pushes away people from education is the bureaucracy and its complex procedures, problems which the 2019 GEM Report is committed to change and improve.

As a UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights that promotes bioethical and human rights principles based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was illuminating being present during the launching of the 2019 GEM Report and contributing with our activities and mission. In this context it is important to underline the constant work that our UNESCO Chair has been doing through the project EUROSOL and CivicAL to improve and understand the nature of migration flow.

Civic Education for Social Inclusion – CivicAL

Civic Education for Social Inclusion – CivicAL

 

Civic Education for Social Inclusion – CivicAL

 

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Sydney J. Harris

The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights for the last year has been involved and active in raising awareness of the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe, specifically in Italy. Within the project European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL), co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, the UNESCO Chair was committed to overcome the misconceptions regarding migrants and refugees in Italy by organizing a debate on  “Human Dignity and Human Rights of Refugees”.

As a continuation of this project, the UNESCO Chair has signed an agreement to participate in Civic Education for Social Inclusion (CivicAL) project within the Erasmus + programme coordinated by the Altius Francisco de Vitoria Foundation, Spain. The aim of this project, which started in October 2018 and will end in September 2020, is to give to migrant and refugee adults access to civic education to integrate more fully into the community. In other words, CivicAL is responding to the increasing demands of the European Union (EU) to be a large family of multiethnic and multicultural societies, to witness in each state to a growing diversity due to the migration flows where a national cultural identity is compatible with a European identity.

While much has been done, the level of knowledge of the EU, its policies and institutions, is not enough. This is particularly valid for adults in disadvantaged situations, such as those who are migrants, of an ethnic minority background, refugees and recently arrived migrants. The current proposal will address the gap in civic education for adults in disadvantaged situation in six EU countries. The consortium is composed of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Romania from different public and private sectors. In two years, the consortium is going to develop the Trainer’s Manual entitled “Civic Education for Disadvantaged Learners” and the EU citizenship game, both translated into six EU languages

The UNESCO Chair team involved in this project will be focused on:

  • Organizing the kick off meeting;
  • Developing unit 3 of the manual: EU citizens’ rights and responsibilities;
  • Developing level 2 of the game: Learn the citizens’ rights and responsibilities
  • Organizing Regional CivicAL Forum to disseminate the development CivicAL output, tested and available for free use by the project targets.
  • Opening and managing Facebook Group.

Moreover, to facilitate the aforementioned project, the UNESCO Chair will also provide a Code of Ethics to guide the work of the consortium.

“As Professor of Philosophy of Law, International Law, and Chairholder of UNESCO Chair, I granted the request to participate in CivicAL project, because I think it is fundamental to understand that on one hand migrants’ rights need to be respected, and on the other, migrants have their responsibilities towards the host countries. Education is a pillar in the existence of a person, a tool that frees minds and gives access to opportunities. As a UNESCO Chair, which seeks to Foster the Art of Convergence and Cooperation in Global Ethics, in EU, it is our duty to provide education tools to migrants, but it is also their responsibility to be committed to it.” Alberto Garcia, Chairholder of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights.

 

“Refugee Crisis Background and Solutions”, 16th April. Nicosia, Cyprus

“Refugee Crisis Background and Solutions”, 16th April. Nicosia, Cyprus

According to the Cyprus Mail Online, an average of 70,000 people trying to escape the war zones reaching Europe have been stuck in Cyprus, Italy or Spain. These countries share a common path: huge waves of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers who want a better life and thus risk everything they have, even their own life: “It is better to die in the sea than in the desert.– Mohamed

Since last March representatives of these countries along with UK, Bulgaria, Poland, and Lithuania have been gathered to discuss the migrants’ and refugees’ situation within the EUROSOL project funded by the EU.

On the 16th April, the UNESCO Chair collaborators Serena Montefusco and Kevin Ramirez took part in the conference organized by the University of Nicosia Research Foundation, Cyprus, entitled “Refugee Crisis Background and Solutions” with the European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL) project. Once again the eight partners of the EUROSOL project, including UNESCO Chair, gathered together to discuss the refugee crisis that the European Union (EU) is facing, specifically Cyprus.

 

After the introduction and greetings by the Rector of the University and the explanation of the progress of the project by the coordinator Clara Ubeda, the day of discussion developed in four different sessions:

  1. “Refugee crisis: States’ Sovereignty vs. Human Rights. Debate by Law Students”
  2. “Refugee Crisis: Psychological Impact on Individuals and Families. Debate by Psychology students”
  3. “Refugee Crisis: Solutions and Interventions Based on Solidarity and Human Rights”
  4. “Refugee Crisis: Towards Durable Solutions”

 

UNESCO Chair collaborator, Serena Montefusco was involved as a moderator in the first round table in which students of the Faculty of Law presented on the principle of non-refoulement. The three students analyzed both the right to asylum and the principle of non-refoulement under the European law.  Giving an overview of the laws, protocols, regimes implemented by the EU it was possible to argue how the law is not transparent and distant from the actual reality. In other words, there are many laws that regulated the right to asylum that are not always clear and followed neither in their integrity nor partially. This concept was confirmed by Montefusco when presenting her collaboration with an NGO (ASCS – Associazione Scalabriniana alla Cooperazione e Sviluppo) in Italy that develops social inclusion programs in favor of migrants and refugees. Presenting the role that the UNESCO Chair has in this project, she also referred to her volunteering experience collected with migrants and refugee in both Rome and South of Italy where the level of exploitation and corruption is extremely high. The round table was moderated not only by Montefusco, but also by Emilia Strovolidou (UNHCR, CY) who gave another detailed perspective of the refugees’ situation in Cyprus. The numbers are frightening considering how many people have been stuck in both Italian and Cyprus coasts and shelters not allowed to obtain the refugee status or threatened to be send back to their country of origin. As pointed out by the psychology students, migrants and refugees face different types of traumas at the different stages of their journey.

The second round table, moderated by Asya Rafaelova-Eneva of the Altius Francsico d Vitoria Fundation (Spain) and Bistra Choleva-Laleva of BIDA e.V Kultur un Bilding (Germany), one of the eight partners of the EUROSOL projects, analyzed, thanks to the Psychology students, the psychological impact that being an immigrant might cause to individuals and family. Indeed, there are a lot of studies that have seen that these people are affected by PTSD that cause panic attacks, depression, difficulties in maintaining relationships, suicidal thoughts, sleeping problems and others. These students presented three different cases of three Somalian girls who were affected by these symptoms due to the tremendous journey that they take to reconcile with their families in different parts of Europe. In cases of traumas, not only the work of psychologists is fundamental to get through the fears, but also social workers play a crucial role in the process of a successful social inclusion.

The third round table moderated by the University of Nicosia Research Foundation Director Stefanos Spaneas and Beata Palac, representative of the Poland partner within the EUROSOL project, presented the impressive work and the role of social workers in refugees related matters. Students of the social work program at the University of Nicosia emphasized the importance of values such as freedom, dignity, equity, and solidarity and rights such as the right to education, work and to have a house. Social workers promote the mutual integration among locals and migrants through a multidisciplinary work (psychologist, lawyers, interpreters, …) to ameliorate the migrants’ situation providing them training courses to find better jobs position to give back to society.

The last session was dedicated to discussing possible solutions and to analyzing some programs that are already implemented and that are better the life of many. Introduced by Dr. Despina Cochliou, the representative of the Erasmus Plus program, the program could share the language courses that the European Union is providing for free. As well known, the knowledge of the local language when one is forced to move to another place is fundamental. Many people in the audience did not know that funds are not only implanted in Cyprus but also in other different countries. Thus, it seems that the European Union needs to improve the way the news is spread. Yet, it is reassuring that there are people that dedicate their lives to this type of work that informs migrants that there are possibilities and accessibility to these programs. Next, Dr. Despina Cochliou introduced an NGO named AWARE (Cyprus) which is a communication and counseling agency which is committed to raise awareness of refugees related matters. They own a constantly updated website and active profiles on social media allowing the share of the latest news and  connection among different ethnical groups. The session concluded with the testimony of two refugees that had the possibility to recreate their life in Cyprus. They are both well-educated Syrians, one of whom is working as a leader, mentor and life coaching and the other of whom obtained two bachelor’s degrees in Law Banking and Economics. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing their names, but they serve as an example of a successful social inclusion.

The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights that bases its values ​​on the 15 points of the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights (2005) has the responsibility to pursue the safeguarding of human rights in the recognition of the dignity of both locals and migrants through interreligious and multicultural dialogue. Since 2009, the Chair has been committed to achieving the objectives established since its foundation: promoting the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics through its areas of interest that allow a continuous dialogue between experts on bioethics principles.

 

The Migrant’s Influence in the EU Labour Market: Positive and Negative Aspects. Study Case: Italy

The Migrant’s Influence in the EU Labour Market: Positive and Negative Aspects. Study Case: Italy

On Monday February 19th, the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights collaborators Serena Montefusco and Kevin Ramirez took part in the event host by BIDA e. V. Kultur and Bildunng, at the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Berlin.  As part of the eight partners of European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL) project, co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, BIDA e. V. Kultur and Bildunng gathered different experts in the field of the migrant’s influence in the EU labour market.

 

The first session opened with the presentation of the Fundación Altius Francisco de Vitoria on the main aspects, aims and prospects of EUROSOL project by the European Director Clara Úbeda Saelices. The event moved on to Javier Jimenez opening the round table introducing the migrant’s influence at the EU labour market in Spain. He pointed out that there is a great number of Romanian migrants due to the similar language and that they are mostly employed in the service sector. The discussions moved on to the presentation of the VHS Hildburghausen, an organization that provides education for adults aiming at improving social inclusion and job solutions. Finally, the representative of the UNESCO Chair, Serena Montefusco had the chance to be part of the round table analysing the migrant’s influence at the EU labour market form the Italian perspective.

 

Serena Montefusco started giving information how institutions are dealing with the great number of migrants arriving in Italy. At the European level, she saw that soft low and funding activities have been implemented to improve the labour market and integration of migrants. For example, in 2016, thanks to the Action Plan on the Integration of the Third Country Nationals and the New Skills Agenda for Europe, it was possible to implement new tools aiming at helping integrate newcomers and local stakeholders assess their qualifications and skills. Moreover, Europe is offering significant funding for labour market integration. Yet, these funds are granted by each Member State and reach cities indirectly. At National level, institutions are responsible for labour law, social security, and active employment policies. Even though decentralized member states, such as Italy, face a formal devolution of responsibilities, the national government sets out an integration plan, objectives, and managing public employment services.

 

According to the latest report of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), most migrants, male and female, are employed in low-skilled occupation such as the service sector, agricultural, construction, cleaning, and catering. Their positions have a great impact on the pensions system and in raising the birth rate. It is important not to forget that migrants and refugees cannot be treated as a panacea to address population trends. These can be considered negative aspects of the labour market in Italy since most of the time newcomers are high skilled and not well integrated. Another negative aspect pointed out by Serena, is that migrants are exploited in the countryside during the harvest of tomatoes in the South of Italy. More specifically, she presented the project Io Ci Sto Camp organized by the Diocese of Manfredonia and the Scalabrinian Missionaries. This Camp is an opportunity for service, meeting and sharing between volunteers, migrants and the local community in the province of Foggia. The Camp promotes the autonomy, integration and commitment of migrants in the Italian territory, opposing injustices and breaking down prejudices, accompanying volunteers in a training course in migration, alongside the local Church and civil society to promote the meeting and integration between migrants and the community.

 

In the second round table, representatives of Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania, and Cyprus shared their experience in the field pointing out the different issues that their country is facing regarding the flow of migrants. In Bulgaria, due to the different political language it is challenging to address the issue properly. In Poland, the government is against the acceptance of refugees which makes even more difficult discussion and dialogue among the population. In Lithuania, the migration flow is different from the Italian and Cyprus one: most of migrants arriving in Lithuania are from the nearest countries and the acceptance is at a good level. Finally, Cyprus is facing a similar situation as Italy meaning that most refugees and migrants that arrive are Syrian and African who see these two countries as their first aid to move up to the north countries to have a better life, jobs, and education.

 

One of the Chair’s chief areas of interest since 2009 has been Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion. The Chair is thus deeply concerned with promoting and protecting the common human rights of all of all peoples. Migration is a complex phenomenon that affects individuals of all creeds and cultures. Thus, the Chair’s experience in fostering the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics enables her to join diverse groups of individuals committed to creating more just and welcoming societies.

 

 

Dialogue and Debate. Refugees: Threat or Opportunity?

Dialogue and Debate. Refugees: Threat or Opportunity?

The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights presents a Public Forum Debate on “Human Dignity and Human Rights of Refugees” as part of the European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL) project co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union. The Forum will be divided in three sessions with three themes related to refugee crisis from a bioethical and human rights perspective. Gathering experts, refugees, migrants, policymakers and other stakeholders from different backgrounds, the aim of the forum is to promote intercultural dialogue and find some creative solutions and proposals through information, knowledge and expertise sharing, discussions and cooperation in best solidary practices dealing with the current challenging crisis that refugees endure.