Having known the EUNET crew for many years, and having long shared an enormous kinship of spirit and values with them, IUC’s executive director – Nina Nørgaard, recently attended a seminar in Vienna with fellow colleagues aimed at brainstorming ideas on how to tackle predicaments revolving around Euroscepticism, Nationalism and integration of refugees. A select number of questions were discussed by the participants in a World Cafe to allow for an effective and flexible exchange of perspectives.
Following some disheartening developments in Europe, sparked by waves of migrants from war-zone countries, the choice of topics would barely strike us as odd or irrelevant. Acknowledging that political statements/actions are not consistent with what the circumstances of the moment require, and recognising that we cannot make enlightened choices and take sensible decisions without taking everyone’s input into consideration, the participants strived to address the issues put for discussion in their entirety and complexity in order to be able to offer creative solutions to how education on such matters should be approached.
By exploring the misconceptions surrounding the debate on migration, and the cultural falsehoods that have estranged us from the spirit of cooperation, the participants worked towards envisioning a course of action that is more aligned with 21st century developments, as opposed to relying on outdated knowledge and mode of thinking, displayed by some of those people who espouse populist ideas. Their notoriously short-sighted view is often perpetuated by the media, which should instead serve to inform and educate rather than cloak issues with confusion and vagueness. Social media, in this context, could play an instrumental role in reinforcing positive narratives where alternative viewpoints are duly addressed, and narrow conceptions of migrants are transcended. Such and other observations have prompted the participants to search for best practices while highlighting the potential gains from working with others, pooling energies and combining resources.
An extensive review of their discussions and conclusions have now been brought in Visual Form.
A report on the outcome of the meeting is to be presented by Nina on the 6th of May.