Two garagErasmus leaders, Claudia Zilli and Velimir Tasic, took part in the EU-US Young Leaders Seminar on Migration 2017.

This event took place from 2-5 April in the headquarters of the European Union, Brussels; and it was co-organized by the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the U.S. Department of State, and the Fulbright Commission. The seminar was part of the celebrations for the 30th Anniversary of the Erasmus+ Programme, the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, and the 70th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan and the Fulbright Programme.

Over 50 young leaders from Europe and the United States of America, either current beneficiaries or alumni of the Fulbright Programme, the Erasmus+ Programme, and other EU funded Programmes, participated in this event. This high-level group was made of graduates and professionals from different nationalities, ages, academic disciplines and professional backgrounds; with the general scope of discussing, sharing and comparing experiences regarding the multidimensional process of integration of migrants and refugees in the receiving societies.

Representatives and speakers of different governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the Delegation of the EU to the US; the EU Directorate-General for Education and Culture; the EU Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion; the European Economic and Social Committee; and the Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practices, among others, were also invited to further enrich the contents and the discussions of the seminar.

The program included a plenary session on “Integration Policies in the EU and the US”, featured by well experienced speakers from both sides of the ocean, who broadly described the main characteristics of the immigration systems under analysis; the historical differences that have shaped the (periodically changing) political postures towards new arrivals, both in Europe and in the United States; and the more imminent challenges currently faced in both geographical areas.

There were also panel discussions on economic, educational and cultural integration of migrants and refugees; as well as breakout sessions, leaded by some of the participating graduates and professionals. These were selected according to previously gained specific knowledge and professional experiences in particular intervention areas that were strongly related to the topic, such as Labour integration, Vocational Education and Training, Entrepreneurship, Gender Issues, and Media and Public Opinion.
The EU representation was integrated by members of the Erasmus Student and Alumni Association, ESAA, and by members of the INTEGRIM Marie Curie research training network. On behalf of ESAA, there were representatives of the four organizations under the umbrella association: GaragErasmus, Erasmus Student Network, Erasmus Mundus Association, and Oceans Network.

GaragErasmus leaders, Velimir Tasic and Claudia Zilli, did successfully lead two breakout sessions on Entrepreneurship and Migration, and Gender and Migration, correspondingly.

On one hand, Velimir (a GaragErasmus – Entrepreneurship leader; co-founder of ESAA entrepreneurship incubator; and a Ph.D. Graduate in Project Management from the University of Warsaw, Poland) highlighted the importance of migrant entrepreneurship as a multidimensional and multi-stakeholder process;  one particularly capable of fostering the development of intellectual and cultural skills of immigrants and refugees, that consequently influence in a positive way people’s possibilities to integrate into the host societies.

On the other hand, Claudia (a GaragErasmus Representative for ESAA Erasmus+ Promotions WG; PhD Graduate in Sociology from the University of Milan; and currently English and Cultural Diversity Teacher for native and immigrant young children within the Trilingualism project of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol, Italy) spoke about the transversal role of Gender in any kind of migratory process, “there is no gender-neutral migrant, since a person’s sex, gender identity and sexual orientation, shape every stage of the migration experience” cit.; and particularly focused on the experience of ethnic intermarriages as intercultural micro-labs, and potential outcomes of migrants’ integration processes.

With such a highly skilled and varied group of people, discussing a very complex topic, the seminar clearly showed to be a good opportunity to deepen some of the main opportunities and difficulties that the entire world is currently facing; to exchange academic and non-academic point of views, good practices and applied programs, that have showed to be successful in different contexts. In this way, the main aim of the event, thus fostering academic and cultural understanding and promoting intercontinental collaboration, was fulfilled with further expectations for the future.

If you valued this article, please do share it via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other media. If you are looking for a speaker and/or facilitator on these topics, you can always contact Claudia and Velimir. Thank you in advance for the opportunity to collaborate together, by sharing an open and insightful vision about Entrepreneurship, Gender, and Human Migration.