Between 7-10 February 2019, in Brussels, as part of the Together Moving Forward (TMF) programme, the European Students’ Union (ESU) organised a Capacity Building Seminar, with the aim to share ideas, concerns and experiences on the topic of inclusion of newcomers in European society and access to education.
During 3 days, and through non-formal learning methods, the 21 participants from 15 different countries developed skills and knowledge on how to design and implement a meaningful project at the local, national or European level. A clear focus was given on newcomers’ effective participation from the beginning of the project -and not only as a consultative body or as participants. The trainers also presented clear and concrete project management tools to support the group through the application process.
To give some inspiration and tips to the group, Feras Abo Dabboseh, the founder of the bookshop and cultural centre Lagrange Point, recommended to the participants to ‘do small things first’, and raised the value of having a strong team, with a different type of profile and skills. Julia Mehr and Ronny Röwert, through their current experience with the project ‘Cast your Voice’ (supported by TMF) highlighted the importance to “talk to people who do not necessarily have the same opinion or background”, but also to accept mistakes, learn from them and be able to adapt plans.
The fruitful discussions and dynamism of the participants proposing positive solutions confirmed to ESU and the Together, Moving Forward programme, to keep advocating for inclusive higher education systems. Rudi Osman, President of the Union des Etudiants Exilés (France), also a participant to the seminar, raised a fair point asking “How many Erasmus students did you meet during your studies? And on the other side, how many refugee students were you studying with?”. You probably have the answer.
The Seminar was part of the Together, Moving Forward programme, funded by Open Society Foundations, based on the experience acquired during the previous and current editions of the programme. This project gives opportunities to students and newcomers to build positive refugee-host interactions and initiatives across Europe. Since 2017, ESU has supported more than 28 projects, at a local and national level. And now we are in the process to select new ones!
Find more information about the ongoing projects: here.