21 August 2019 A Festival of Learning and Exchange of Experience took place in London on 15-16 August. The topic was “Migrants and Refugees as Re-Builders”, the result of a three-year Cross-Border Intercultural and Societal Entrepreneurs partnership, co-funded by Erasmus+ of the European Union. The result is a curriculum, Self-Assessment and Social Micro-Indicator Tools, all available online in seven languages.
The project is aimed at adult educators and people responsible for supporting migrants and refugees to settle into their new communities, rebuild their lives, and eventually contribute to the development of their countries of origin. This civil society initiative has brought together activists and academics from Hasan Kalyoncu University in Gaziantep, Turkey, the Progestión Association in Madrid, Spain, the Kista Folkhögskola in Sweden and was led by Initiatives of Change UK.
The festival of learning and exchange was the result of three years of intensive dialogue and learning. It attracted the interest of the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Ruth Bush who admitted she had not been quite sure what she was coming to! However, responding to the presentations, she said: “I’m impressed and relieved to see the practicality, rigor and compassion (of the programme).” She briefly referred to identified challenges in this field, concluding: “I now have something to offer.”
Among the participants were activists, members of immigrant and resident communities in the UK, as well as some Diplomats. The IOM (International Organisation for Migration) Regional Representative from Gaziantep, near the Turkish border with Syria, remarked that he intends to “pursue this partnership” with the Migrants and Refugees as Re-Builders network.