At the Youth Project Gala in Timisoara
Patricia Casandra Papuc
On 5 December 2018 I participated in the 8th edition of the annual Youth and Youth Project Gala as a member of the jury, celebrating the best youth projects conducted by NGOs and other entities in Romania’s Timis county, as well as the most active volunteers, volunteer coordinators and youth workers, high school councils, etc.
As always, the Gala gave awards to projects in several different categories, and this year also saw the addition of a special category to mark the centenary of the 1st World War as well as the unification of Romania in 1918.
The Gala took place at the Casa Tineretului (Youth House) in Timisoara, run by the FITT foundation, which is the only youth centre in Romania with a quality label from the Council of Europe; and one of only 11 of this type in the world.
During the day, there were different activities and workshops, including the presentation of a major research mission to assess the quality of youth projects in Europe. The undertaking is a collaboration between youth centres in several European countries and had guest speakers from Spain, Germany, Finland and Slovenia.
At the evening’s awards ceremony, jury members gave out prizes to all this years’ winning projects. I awarded the prize for best project in the category of Education, which went to the people behind “Robomaniacs”. Earlier in the year, they organised an exchange experience for students passionate about robotics. The event included competitions both for beginners and those at an advanced level.
I was also part of choosing the overall winner for best youth project 2018. The prize went to the students at the IT faculty from the university in Timisoara who created a framework for intercultural dialogue between 100 young people from 33 countries during an 11-day long conference in the city.
It was a great honour for me to take part in celebrating projects for young people, and it was an inspiration to see so many passionate souls together in one place. In addition, being back at the Youth House in Timisoara brought back very special memories for me as this was also where we held our first IWB international human rights conference, Let’s Talk About Refugees, in November last year.
The Youth Gala was financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity and Timis Regional County.
My experience at CIFE Summer Programme
I was invited for the second time as a speaker at the “Summer University Programme“, the 15th edition organized by CIFE (which is a private institution of higher education and research, founded in 1945, having its head office in Nice and branch offices in Istanbul, Brussels and Berlin).
This programme was focused on migration and refugees across Europe and was taught in French.
One of the organizers of this programme is Laura Spătaru Negura who is also one of the founding members of Issues Without Borders and a teacher at Nicolae Titulescu University, which is one of the organising partners.
The summer school took place in several places: 29 July- 31 July 2018 in Bucharest (Romania), 31 July-2 August in Slobozia (Romania) and 2 August-5 August 2018 in Silistra ( Bulgaria).
The programme gathered students from different countries such as France, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, Ecuador. The participants got the chance to discover parts of Romania and Bulgaria, visit the surroundings, discover the culture and create great memories.
The programme included interesting lectures among which I can mention “Security in its many facets“ ( held by Raluca Miga Besteliu, professor at Nicolae Titulescu University), “The Impact of Civil Aviation on migration and its consequences on migration“ ( held by Sorana Paun-Pop, Politehnica University in Bucharest), “Islamic Terrorism, weapon in the psychological war“ ( held by Rosemarie Olanescu, specialist in security and islam), “Terrorism: definition, movement, coverage “ ( held by Francois Dieu, Sociology Professor at Toulouse University and Director of the Study and Research Police Center), “Security and the fight against terrorism in Europe (held by Laura Laura Negură Spătaru, lawyer and Teaching Assistant at Nicolae Titulescu University).
My presentation was on: “ IWB (Issues Without Borders) for refugees: actions to raise awareness. “
During my lecture I presented IWB actions to raise awareness on the refugee issue, thus presenting all the conferences that I have attended on behalf of IWB (in Cyprus, Georgia, Belgium, Romania)
I also presented our first promotional clip, from the first international conference on human rights that we organized in Timisoara in November 2017 .
Furthermore I presented Refuge D’ Amour, a short film about a syrian women who obtained the refugee status in France. This short movie is meant to depict a different side of the refugee issue and it aimed at sensitize people.
After my presentation I engaged with students in a Q & A, trying to see what they think about migrants and refugees, what was their opinion about our actions to raise awareness and how they see the future of Europe in terms of migration.
I was happy to see that the students shared their thoughts during the discussion and they also gave me many ideas for our future petitions.
I had a great time, not only during my presentation but also after it, when I joined the group and explored Bucharest together, visiting the House of the People and other important places .
I hope I will be invited next year as well!
Congratulations to all the organizers, especially to Marie France Perdigon and to Laura Negura Spătaru!
My experience at the international student conference Constant
By Patricia Papuc
On the 20th of April 2018 I was invited as a speaker at the Nicolae Titulescu annual student conference: Constant.
Constant is an international event (http://constant.univnt.ro/constant_2018.html) organized by Nicolae Titulescu University, Miskolc University (Hungary) and Angel Kanchev University (Bulgaria), in partnership with the Nicolae Titulescu International Law and International Relations Foundation, the Nicolae Titulescu Students’ Association (ASUNT) and the Bucharest University Publishing House Nicolae Titulescu.
This conference represents an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to develop and present studies in interdisciplinary fields such as legal sciences, economics and social and administrative sciences.
I was invited to this international conference by the rector of Nicolae Titulescu University, where I am currently enrolled on a phd program. I am doing my phd in International Public Law and my thesis is analysing The Role of International NGOs in tackling the Current Refugee Crisis.
My lecture was on “Non Governmental Organizations’ Role in Raising Awareness on the Refugee Issue.” During this presentation I introduced Issues Without Borders to the audience, talking a bit about the platform and about our team, continuing with a description of IWB for Refugees, our current project meant to propose changes to the current EU legislation on asylum.
Because the presentation was focused on how to raise awareness on the refugee issue I described some of the activities conducted by our NGO. Issues Without Borders was present at the international conference on migration organized by the European Parliament; our members were also speakers at various international conferences on migration and we also organized an international human rights conference in Timisoara (Romania) called Let‘s Talk about Refugees.
After describing these activities I presented Refuge D‘Amour, a short clip that weco-produced together with 4everfilms productions. It it a short film about a Syrian woman who obtained refugee status in Paris, and is meant to depict a different side of the refugee crisis.
The program was well-organized, the students were engaged in all the discussions and they asked many questions.
Congratulations to the organizers, I had a great experience. Thank you for inviting me.
Let’s talk about short films focused on refugees!
Together with 4everfilmsproductions (Oana Merdariu – president & Daniel Pop – artistic director) we organized a conference on refugee integration at Unirea High School in Targu Mures, Romania. Unirea High School is our former high school.
There were around 120 participants at this conference, between the age of 16 and 18 years old, all students at this high school, as well as some of our former high school teachers, the principal and other teachers who found out about this event and wanted to attend.
We were offered the opportunity to present our short film Refuge D’Amour, a short film meant to depict a different side of the refugee crisis. This short film was filmed in Paris and it presents the story of a Syrian woman called Waed who lives there as a refugee. In this short film we are presenting the idea of freedom, of being home sick, of being in love. It is a story meant to sensitize people and show a different face of the refugee issue.
After presenting the short film we discussed it with the students present. We wanted to know their opinion about the short film; what freedom means for them. We also wanted to know what they think about the media’s role in presenting refugee stories and their integration. Furthermore, we talked about ways of producing short films related to this topic. They were very engaged in this discussion and shared some of their personal experiences with us.
We also presented a trailer about our first international human rights conference; a conference that we organized on the 10/11th November 2017 in Timisoara, Romania. This promotional short film presents moments from our conference, from our presentations and also explains some of our future plans which are all related to our current project IWB for Refugees. IWB for Refugees is a project aimed at mapping a new European legislation on migration through national and international petitions where we will offer our recommendations for the member states of the European Union.
Sharing our future projects with the students was a good opportunity to get to know them better, hearing their thoughts on these topics and stimulating their curiosity.
We also spoke about our idea of creating a cultural youth centre in Targu Mures, a centre aimed at organizing various events, from theater shows to dance lessons, concerts, art expositions, etc.
After our presentations we had a Q&A session with the participants where we asked them several questions; if they had ever volunteered, if they would volunteer for an NGO and about the importance of volunteering.
We were very surprised to see that most of them had volunteering experience, they were volunteering for different NGOs/student unions; they were also curious about our projects, about the youth centre and they wanted to know more about refugee integration and how we can better integrate refugees in our society.
We were very happy to be back in our former high school; it brought back a lot of good memories. All in all it was a lovely experience and we will go back for more interactive sessions where we can raise awareness and discuss about important topics!
Thank you to Unirea High School for believing in us, we were honored to be there!
My experience at CIFE Summer Programme
On the 1st of August 2017 I’ve attended as a speaker the international summer school Romania/Bulgaria organized by CIFE, programme focused on migration and refugee rights across Europe, taught in French. CIFE is a private institution of higher education and research, founded in 1954 with its head office in Nice and branch offices in Berlin, Brussels and Istanbul.
I was invited at this summer school by Laura Spataru-Negura, one of the founding members of Issues Without Borders, who is teaching at Nicolae Titulescu University (the university where I am currently enrolled in a PHD programme). Nicolae Titulescu University is one of the organizing partners of the summer school, besides CIFE, and the European Law Institute of Sofia.
Due to this partnership, the summer school took place in several locations: July 31 – August 1st in Bucharest (Romania), August 1st – 3rd in Slobozia (Romania) and August 3rd – 6th in Silistra (Bulgaria). The programme gathered students from different countries, such as Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Turkey, and it was held in French. The participants had the chance to discover all the cities where they attended lectures, discover the culture of the area and exchange ideas thus creating lasting memories.
The programme included interesting lectures among which I mention (in a chronological order): “The inviolability of human rights in migration. Different types of rights in favour of migrants” (held by Laura Spataru-Negura, University of Nicolae Titulescu), “The contribution of civil aviation in the migration process and the protection of the right to life” (held by Sorana Paun-Pop, Politehnica University), “The Route to the Balkans. Geographic aspects concerning the history of migrants in the Balkans” (held by professor Michael Hermans, HEC Liege in Belgium), “Migrations, law and barriers: two-speed Europe or two-truths Europe?” (held by professor Atanas Semov, University of Sofia, Director of the European Law Institute of Sofia), “Human Rights in Europe” (held by professor Evgeni Tanchev, University of Sofia, Attorney General at the European Union’s Court of Justice).
My lecture’s topic was on “Debates on migration management. The role of NGOs”. Because I wanted my presentation to be more interesting for students, I’ve presented my experience at Brussels in the European Parliament, where I’ve attended a conference on migration management as the president of the NGO Issues Without Borders.
In addition to the Power Point presentation I also initiated a debate with the students, a long Q&A session and I was very happy to see a lot of positive feedback.
The programme was very well-organized, I was given the opportunity to attend a lovely dinner at Caru’ cu Bere in Bucharest (the most iconic restaurant in Bucharest, in my opinion), one evening before my lecture.
I must confess that I felt very good in this program and that I will attend it next year for sure, if I will be invite it. I highly recommend it!
Congratulations to all the organizers, especially to Marie France Perdigon (director of CIFE’s summer programmes – http://www.cife.eu/en/4/summer-university-programmes_6-1) and to Laura – thank you for inviting me!
The Good Lobby Programe
By Patricia Papuc
On the 22nd of June I attended the Good Lobby Inaugural Event & The Launch of the EU Pro Bono Awards on behalf of Issues Without Borders.
This event brought together EU officials, lawyers and other professionals, civil society actors and academics to publicly build a case for pro bono in Europe. On this occasion, The Good Lobby and its partners also officially launch the EU Pro Bono Awards to acknowledge and celebrate the most successful instances of pro bono co-operation between citizen experts and civil society organizations carried out within the past twelve months at the EU level.
The speakers included: Emily O’ Reilly (European Ombudsman); Alberto Alemanno (Founder of The Good LobbyJean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris, Director of the EU Public Interest Clinic, New York University School of Law ); Lamin Khadar (Co-founder of The Good Lobby, Pro Bono Associate, DLA Piper Amsterdam); Tony Venables ( Founder, European Citizens’ Rights, Involvement and Trust (ECIT) Foundation, Director of Maison des Associations Internationales (MAI); Onno Brouwer( Partner, Freshfields Amsterdam); Philip Buisseret (Secretary General, CCBE); Helen Darbishire (Vice-President and Executive Director, Access Info Europe) ; Ed Rekosh (Founder of The Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet), Director of Human Rights Initiative, Visiting Professor of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law); Michael Diedring Director (European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) Maria Orejas-Chantelot (Policy and Programmes Director at European Foundation Centre (EFC).
Furthemore The EU Pro Bono Awards have recently received the High Patronage from the European Parliament.
The programme of the event was the following: after the registration of the participants there was a key note speech and Q&A section by Emilie O`Reilly (EU Ombudsman). It continued with a presentation of a survey: „ What do EU NGOs Need and Expect”?, a roundtable „ A need for pro bono at the EU level”, a presentation of the Good Lobby and Q&A, a launch of the EU Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, concluding remarks, lastly a reception at the place of conference, where participants were encouraged to network. The event ended in a very constructive way and the participants were already very excited to attend the „proper training” which took place the following day on the 23rd of June.
The following day , the 23rd of June was a busy day for us participants because we attended many trainings and workshops.
The first section was section intitled „ Make your voice heard” , where Alberto Alemano gave us some suggestions in how to state our case to EU policy makers.
The second section was called :” The Good Lobby Tool Box” which included the following presentations : the first tool box„ How to make a FOIA request”( Helen Darbishire-Acces InfoEurope &Onno Brouwer-Freshfields Amsterdam); the second tool boox „How to lauch a Citizens Initiative” (Carsten Berg-Citizens Initiative); and the third tool box „How to submit a complain at the EU Ombudsman” (Fergal O`Regan-EU Ombudsman Office)
The third section of the conference was called „How to spread the word” and this involved a workshop „How to set up a digital campaign in the EU and case studies”, training performed by Riparte il Futuro, We move and Old Co (Priscilla, Virginia, Federico, Gaulthier).
The fourt and last section was intitled: „The Good Lobby Pro Bono Simulation” and this involved a Role Play : „How NGOs and Law Firms Can Work Together”. Based on a hypothetical scenario, participants (in small groups) were supposed to simulate a request for pro bono assistance, it`s processing by a law firm and the delivery.
Lastly there was a farewell and concluding remarks.
My favourite parts of the conference were the presentations made by Karsten on the Citizens Initiative since Issues Without Borders is also planning to launch in the future a Citizens Initiative in order to map a new EU legislation on migration and the last part, the role play because the role play gave us participants the opportunity to think outside the box, prepare and deliver a presentation under time pressure and we also received valuable feedack after this.
All in all I would like to thank the Good Lobby platform and particularly Alberto Alemanno, who also offered us a copy of his book „Lobby for Change” , a book I highly recommend.
This conference offered me valuable information and I am even more enthusiastic about the work performed by Issues Without Borders is terms of the refugee crisis and it`s future work because this is just the beginning.
The High Level Conference on Migration Management at the EU Parliament
On the 21st of June I attended together with Elena Schigirev (also a member of Issues Without Borders) the “High Level Conference on Migration Management” organized by the EU Parliament.
The conference was aimed at finding solutions to the migration crisis and deliver on the expectations of EU citizens.
The participants at the conference were: political leaders, policymakers, stakeholders and practitioners.
The speakers included important figures such as : Antonio Tajani (President of the European Parliament); Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission); Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission); Dario Scannapieco (Vice-president of the European Investment Bank); Markku Markkula (President of the European Committee of the Regions); Dimitris Avramopoulos (European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship); Julian King (European Commissioner for Security Union); Johannes Hahn (European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations); Louise Arbour (United Nations Special Representative for International Migration); William Lacy Swing ( Director General of the International Organisation for Migration).
The discussions were around strengthening the EU`s internal security, discussing on the root causes of migration and ensuring a stable social and economic environment in non-EU countries as well.
The conference was divided in the following way:
There was first an introduction section, furthermore there were two round tables at the same time, the participants could choose the one that they wanted to attend:
The first round table was on “Managing asylum and migration” , with included presentations related to: “Better sharing responsibility for asylum seekers, accelerating asylum procedure”; Addressing legal migration gaps; Promoting integration; Addressing irregular migration; Implementing return decisions; „Ensuring coherence with the Union’s human rights policy”.
The second round table which took place in parallel was on “Promoting stability and prosperity in third countries” which included presentations related to : “Fostering economic and cultural diplomacy to ensure prosperity, tackling root causes”; „Addressing humanitarian needs”; „Helping partners prevent or manage crises on their own”; „Enhancing third countries’ capacity building in border management and asylum”; „Ensuring coherence with the Union’s human rights policy; Ensuring democratic scrutiny of international cooperation tools”.
I chose to attend the first round table because it was more related to the work Issues Without Borders is conducting now, while Elena attended the second one because it is more related to her job. This was anyway a wise decision since we spent time after the conference and shared our thoughts from both rounds tables.
The conference continued with another round table “Strengthening the EU internal security” and lastly there was a closing session with the leaders of the political groups.
Even though there were many interesting and viable solutions raised, they have no binding force. So there are some solutions to the problem but without a political will, without consensus change is very hard to implement.
Even so, I was very happy to attend this conference, because I heard many important figures discuss about a topic that I am highly interesting in, I got the chance to exchange ideas with some of the NGOs that were given the opportunity to offer their opinion at the conference and I spend a great day in the European Parliament, an amazing building, with an amazing history.
Hopefully if next year there will be another conference on migration management Issues Without Borders will also be given the opportunity to make it`s voice heard and offer it`s expertise on this topic.
IWB was presented at the international conference “Punishing International Crimes in Domestic Courts: Sentencing, Incarceration and Reintegration”
On the 12th of June I attended a conference organized by VU University in Amsterdam called “Punishing International Crimes in Domestic Courts: Sentencing, Incarceration and Reintegration”.
I was invited to this conference by Adina Loredana Nistor, vice president of Issues Without Borders and a very close friend of mine.Adina graduated with a masters in Criminology at VU University and is still highly involved in many activities related to this great University.
The event that we attended was organized, as I previously said by VU University, together with the Center for International Criminal Justice, NSCR and NWO.
The moderators of the conference were Barbora Hola and Joris van Wijk, both professors at VU University.
The conference was divided into 4 panels followed by a final discussion and drinks.
The 4 panels were the following:
-panel 1: “Theoretical Considerations “, where papers like the following were presented: “Penalty in criminal law on war crimes” ( Chair for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, University of Turin, Italy, Gianluca Ruggiero).
-panel 2: “Former Yugoslavia”, where papers like the following were presented: “Domestic Trials for International Crimes- Challenge of Prosecuting and Sentencing Perpetrators of War Crimes in Croatia” ( Maja Munivrana Vajda).
-panel 3: “Latin America and Europe”, with papers such as: “Sentencing factors in cases against the most responsible for acts constitutive of international crimes: The Peruvian experience” (Post Doctoral Research Fellow, PluriCourts, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo).
-panel 4: “Africa and Europe”, with papers such as: “Punishing the Core Crimes in Ethiopia: A comparative analysis of purposes and factors in Sentencing” (PHD Candidate International Criminal Law, University of Groningen).
The conference was very interesting especially because all the topics were challenging, the authors raised a variety of issues, offered their suggestions and encouraged the participants to be active.
I highly appreciated the Q&A section because it led to a lot of brainstorming, many questions generated other questions, so I left the conference even more curious to discover more on this topics, which I think is great.
I thank you Adina and VU University for giving me the chance to expand my knowledge on International Criminal Law and to meet so many qualified professionals from across the globe, who were so happy to share their expertise with us, both in the formal setting during the conference as well as in the informal setting, at the post-conference drinks.
My experience at the “Challenges of the Knowledge Society” conference
I have just returned from the 11th International Conference “Challenges of the Knowledge Society,” which took place between 12th -13th May 2017 in Bucharest
The event was organized by the Nicolae Titulescu University, along with the Foundation for Law and International Relations Nicolae Titulescu, the Complutense University from Madrid and the Dueto University from Bilbao.
The main organizers were lecturer PHD Andreea Stroe and professor PHD Mircea Damaschin.
Several reputed professors and specialists took part in this conference, among which: Augustin Fuerea PHD Professor in EU Law, Bogdan Micu, Associate Professor in Criminal Procedure and Dean of the Nicolae Titulescu Law Faculty, Viorel Ros PHD Professor in Intelectual Property Rights/ former president at the International Commercial Arbitration Court (Romania) and others.
The conference started with a plenary session where our rector Gabriel Boroi held the opening speech, which was followed by three lectures:
-The first one was “New trends in business models in the EU” lecture held by Marta Enciso Santocildes, Associate Professor PHD, University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain
-The second one was “Fighting Crime in the Knowledge Society” , lecture held by Pinar Mermis Kartal, Associate Professor, PHD, Galatasaray Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey.
-The third one was “Human being trafficking in the European Court of Human Rights-case law”, lecture held by Laura-Spataru Negura, Assistant Professor, PHD, Nicolae Titulescu University, Bucharest, Romania and one of the founding members of Issues Without Borders. Laura`s presentation was highly appreciated by the auditorium. I would like to emphasize the fact that among the renowned specialists present in the amphitheater there was also Laura`s PHD coordinator professor Nicolae Popa who is the former president of the Romanian Supreme Court of Justice and of the Romanian Constitutional Court and professor Corneliu Barsan, the former Romanian judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
After the plenary sessions there were five panel session divided in the following way: Juridical Sciences, Economic Sciences, Administrative and Political Sciences and IT in Social Sciences.
I participated in the Juridical Sciences panel, in the International Public Law subsection, with my paper “UNHCR and Non- Governmental Organizations Role and their joint efforts in tackling the European refugee crisis from its inception until present times”. I am currently a PHD candidate at Nicolae Titulescu University, my PHD coordinator being Mrs. Raluca Miga Besteliu. I am very happy that I was given an opportunity to be a PHD candidate and have professor Raluca Miga Besteliu as a coordinator, she is helping me a lot to shape my PHD thesis which analyses the role of UNHCR/ IOM/ International NGOs in tackling the refugee crisis as well as a a case study: our work in Issues Without Borders and our plan to map a new EU legislation on migration.
After the panel discussions we had a lunch break where we continued to debate on several specific academic problems , a very nice walk in the Old town of Bucharest, and a Romanian traditional dinner at the beautiful restaurant Caru` cu Bere, dinner attended also by our pro rector Mister Mircea Damaschin, professor in Criminal Procedure, one of the conference`s organizers.
The following day, on Saturday, the 13th of May, there was a closing ceremony at Nicolae Titulescu University, a Bucharest city tour, and a lunch at Hanu` lui Manuc another well-known Romanian traditional restaurant.
Laura and I had a great time at the conference, we got the chance to present our papers, meet other foreign and Romanian participants and exchange great ideas with them not to mention the fact that we also enjoyed showing them Bucharest, presenting them the city, parts of our history, and presenting them Romanian traditional food .
It was a great experience and we are already looking forward for the next edition of the “Challenges of the Knowledge Society” conference next year.
If you are also interested in attending this conference, please write me in order to put you in contact with the organizers. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Impressions After CIFE’s Summer Programme On Migration
I have just returned to Romania after a few days in Rome, Italy, where I was invited to share my experience on human rights law and European Union law in a summer/autumn programme organized by CIFE (for those who do not know about CIFE or CIFE’s summer programmes, please see http://www.cife.eu/fr/4/programme-universitaire-d-ete_6-1) in collaboration with Università La Sapienza and Centro Italiano di Formazione Europea.
The programme organized in Rome (September 25, 2016 – October 1, 2016) had as topic Migrants in Europe: Borders, Human Rights and International Security, and it was really cross-cultural (reuniting students from Austria, Bresil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo/Albania, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and lecturers from Italy, Estonia and Romania – actually my colleague Hamed has an incredible life story and is difficult to come under just one country – from Iran, settled in Estonia, working in Norway).
My presentations have addressed the issue of human trafficking as a new modern form of slavery (where I have tackled the irregular migration issue) and EU’s commitments to solve it.
At the end of the programme, we have organized a role-play by dividing the students in four teams (migrants, activists, opposers and Italian authorities). I must confess that the role-play was great, the students have impressed me with their capacity of using the information received and getting into the skin of characters (I have to underline that some of them were actually graduate, with experience in human rights). I am so sorry they did not agree to record it – it would have been a great tool for other students (I attach however a few photos in order to have an idea – I hope my students and colleagues will not mind).
Additionally, I have told them a few things about Issues Without Borders platform (who was created from the passion for human rights law) and showed them a video about it. The students were very interested in learning more and I really hope we will collaborate in the future.
As for the organizing team, I have to admit that I know Marie-France Perdigon, who is the manager of the summer university programme, for many years and our collaboration has always been great. I have also really loved our Italian host, Cristina Giudici, who is professor at the Unesco Chair in Population, Migrations and Development at Università La Sapienza in Rome and the President of Centro Italiano di Formazzione Europea.
After the summer programme, Marie France and Cristina have organized an alumni meeting that was great, giving us the alumni the possibility to reconect and to socialize (I am also an alumni of CIFE after attending different summer programmes – this was the manner I have discovered the CIFE). At this alumni meeting, I was invited to be part of a debate panel about BREXIT.
Marie France’s proffesionalism and thoroughness, the high level of the students and lecturers, as well as the partners and locations chosen, are arguments that make me each year to follow CIFE’s path and to deliver lectures in different parts of the world. I really hope that next year I will be invited again (in another summer programme or again in Rome, especially that I made a wish at the Trevi Fountain… and I have to get back to Rome again)!
Congratulations CIFE for doing such a spectacular work with your summer programmes! You should be really proud of your ambassadors!
Borderless Europe - Blessing or Burden?
I was invited as a speaker and as a participant at the conference „Borderless Europe- Blessen or Burden” in Cluj Napoca-Romania from the 6th to the 9th of May 2016. This conference was organized by AEGEE antenna-AEGEE Cluj with the support of the Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri (AAFB).
During the conference there were pannel discussions, workshops, Q&A sessions connected to the following subjects: „Borderless Europe vs borders in Europe”; „Europe in crisis- Schengen in suspension”; „Our image of refugees: change of perspective”; „Socio-cultural borders in Europe: the borders that define us”.
We also watched a movie called : „The Great Disaster Europe”.
We also discussed topics such as: „Socio-Economic Borders in Europe and the idea of a Universal Basic Income”; „A leap of faith-utopian thinking and acting in the 21 century Europe; Towards a Borderless Europe-what`s next?”
I was invited to offer my expertise on the migration crisis which is affecting Europe, representing thus the international human rights NGO Issues Without Borders, Issues Without Borders being one of AEGEEs partners since the beginning of 2016. My workshop was intitled: „Issues Without Borders petition: IWB for Refugees! Europe needs new legislation on migration”
I presented our current project „IWB for Refugees” explaining participants that based on the same set of guidelines our team of researchers is conducting research on the member states of the European Union (analyzing the national legislation on refugees and the way the current EU legislation is transposed in the national system, conducting interviews with refugees, showing how media is depicting the issue, presenting also their social life, cultural life, access to education in these EU countries. After briefly presenting the research I also emphasized the use of the research, sending our research in 3 different directions:
at a national level in every single member state
directly as a petition to the EU Parliament
raise 1 000 000 signatures needed for the Citizens Initiative, pass it through the EU Commission which will implement a new EU directive, our researchers are also going to be part of the implementation process in the member states.
I really liked the fact that the participants coming from different EU countries seemed very interested in our project, they asked several questions, started telling stories from their own countries about the refugees issue, even offered recommendations for our petition and some are interested in joining our platform.
It was a great experience because we also got the chance to know each other better, we had social and cultural events in the evenings, even a farewell dinner during the last evening, celebrating 25 years of the AEGEE local antenna- in Cluj Napoca. The organizers were very supportive through out the entire event so thank you AEGEE Cluj for everything, thank you AEGEE, Vision for Europe and last but not least the Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri (AAFB).
IWB for Refugees: AEGEE European Planning Meeting and to the next phase
Some of the best experiences come from bringing people together, sharing ideas, being challenged by difficult questions. Therefore, when Issues without Borders (IWB) was invited to presents its expertise on the issue of migration at AEGEE’s annual European Planning Meeting that was held in the Netherlands, I was excited to attend and discuss our project. IWB is conducting a detailed analysis on asylum procedure and refugee law in the EU member states for almost a year now and I participated as a guest speaker. I also had the pleasure of being part of the audience and listen to other presentations and hear different points of view and feel the pulse of the debate.
The topic of the 2016 session “Refugees in Europe – Europe ‘vs.’ the rest: change of perspective?” – a subject that is actually the main focus of the IWB organization
I attended the event for the two discussion panels, the first one as part of the audience and the second as a guest speaker and IWB representative.
# Panel 1: Europe vs “the rest”: do we need the others to define ourselves?
The building of fences amid the refugee crisis has not only brought in physical borders, but also mental ones. The panel discussion aimed to reflect on the meaning of considering ourselves as European citizens and how it affects the relations of Europe to the rest of the world, especially the refugees who want to come to Europe. How can the reactions of different European countries be understood, in regards to the ‘other’? Are we building a ‘fortress Europe’ also in terms of European identity and values?
# Panel 2: Finding solutions to the current migration challenges – is there still space for solidarity in Europe?
The aim of the panel was to provide a space for reflection on the consequences that the current migration crisis in several levels; from the perspective of European identity and values, of freedom of movement, of human rights, and economy and growth. From a different perspective, each one of the speakers had to reflect on three questions: 1) is there still space for solidarity in Europe?, 2) how can the situation look like in the future?, and 3) will the current migration influx bring a change of perspective in the current European values?
I discussed about Issues without Borders, the core values we stand for, and about the IWB for Refugees and the research we conduct in the EU member states through our volunteer members. I gave an overview on how the project is an analysis on each EU member state legislation on refugee law and whether it is in line with international law, on how the media present the situation, and on how the refugees themselves experience the process. I underlined the fact that we, as members of our societies can and have to be pro-active and be the ones that create the change we want to see.
The debate was lively, we discussed the effect of the media and how hate speech can be counteracted, on how can there be more dialogue between citizens and their governments. We talked about the work that can be done at the micro level by each individual and its impact, and at a macro level, be it as a community, a state or as European Union. I have really enjoyed learning more about the work of the Peace and Justice Foundation, and the Kiron University that offers free studies to the refugees. It is always exciting to see the many ways in which people get involved and take initiative in different projects they believe in.
Next phase: IWB citizens’ initiative
The research we have been conducting for the past few months is ready to be published, and I am excited for the next phase in the “IWB for Refugees”. We will analyse the results from our 28 states’ reports and draft a European citizens’ initiative that will address concrete, long term solution for the “refugee crisis.”
The following period, 31 March-30 June will be dedicated to a close study of the EU state reports and for drafting the “IWB for Refugees” petition. This legislative initiative will be sent in three distinct directions:
At the national level in every EU state
At the European Parliament
It will be registered at the European Commission.
Together with our partners “The Development Researchers”, “Citizens Right Watch”, “Global Magazine”, “AEEGEE Europe, and supporters from the Copenhagen University, Vilnius University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and other partners, we will gather the 1,000,000 signatures necessary for the initiative to be successful.
With its members and collaborators, IWB aims at being part of the implementation of the European Directive at the national level in each member state.
My experience at the International Model United Nations Nigeria (IMUNN) 2015
The International Model United Nations Nigeria (IMUNN) 2015 conference held in Lagos, Nigeria between 4th and 9th August was the first edition of its kind. I found it privileging to participate in the Summit, serving as Vice President to the General Assembly for Asia (VPGA Asia).
Having encountered several challenges in my efforts to participate in MUN Conferences in the past, good fortune allowed me to finally participate in an MUN event at the Ghana International Model United Nations (GIMUN) in 2014. The event was held in Accra, where I served as the Turkish delegate in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN).
Fond memories from my first diplomatic experience were still strong, so much so that I perhaps longed for another MUN type event, something which in the end I found in IMUNN.
IMUNN 2015 plenary sessions were held at the Centre for Management Development (CMD) Shangisha, Lagos State. I could not help feeling nostalgic returning to the areas where I grew up and was schooled as a child. Adding to this generally nostalgic tone was the chance I had to once again meet with colleagues I had previously encountered at GIMUN 2014.
IMUNN 2015 began with the arrival of officials and delegates. After warm hearted but informal welcome sessions, officials proceeded to a training session facilitated by the President for the IMUNN2015 General Assembly, Joseph Mensah. After this training period the delegates participated in an orientation session facilitated by the Secretary General for the IMUNN 2015 General Assembly, Chibueze Ofobuike.
The summit formally commenced on 6th August with the inaugural plenary session of the IMUNN 2015 General Assembly. Participating in that event were guests from international diplomatic core circles who were actively involved in the session. Drawing inspiration from the conference theme ‘Consolidating on the MDGs through the SDGs’ and seeing the event as a prelude to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held in September 2015 in New York, was helpful. Having ratified the Post 2015 Agenda/SDGs as its focus, those members of the international diplomatic core present, including the Ghanaian Consul General to Nigeria Mr Kwabena Okubi-Appiah, the South African Consul General to Nigeria Ambassador Mokgethi Sam Monaisa and a representative from the Nigeria Institute for International Affairs, Professor Osita Agbu, Head, Division of International Politics; gave their assessments of the progress, achievements and challenges facing the MDGs in their respective regions. The South African Consular General gave an intriguing and detailed report, which though time consuming, was in the end quite informative.
After the opening plenary session, delegates proceeded to their respective committees to debate and propose resolutions on their allotted topics. In all there were four committees and each committee, apart from the Security Council, debated on two topics. The Committees and their topics were as follows:
1. Security Council: Having its president in Chiemzie JudeMary Udechukwu, the topics for the debate were:
Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations in Maintaining International Peace and Security.
Global Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Regime.
2. UNESCO: The group chair person was Isaac Opoku Adjei and the following topics were debated:
Appraising the Education For All (EFA) Goals: Consolidating on The Gains and Reinforcing against Lapses.
Cultural Mixing and Politics: Multiculturalism and Hybridization.
3. SOCHUM: The group was chaired by Justice Yaotse Kodzo and debated on the following topics:
Intensifying Global Efforts on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, Negative Stereotyping, Stigmatization and Related Intolerance.
Promotion of Democratic and Equitable International Order.
4. WHO: This group’s chairperson was Oppong Eugene Nimapau and debated on the following topics:
Building A World Void of Substandard/Spurious/Falsely-labelled/Falsified/ Counterfeit (SSFFC) Medicines.
Synergizing For Global Monitoring Against Communicable Diseases.
The Committee sessions lasted a total of two days thereafter the closing plenary session for the General Assembly was held at the conclusion of the second day of committee sitting.
To add some extra spice to the experience of IMUNN 2015, the Security Council held a crises session which interrupted the normal debating flow of the committee. The crisis meeting revolved around the hypothetical news of a large scale advance of the Islamic State (IS) Militia in Syria leaving hundreds of Civilians dead in its wake, the Security Council committee transmuted to a crises session and in the end came up with a draft resolution to ensure speedy UN action against the group referred to as IS.
Upon the conclusion of the committee sessions, I set to work with my Co-VPGA’s to critically examine the submitted draft resolutions from the various committees and to ensure compliance to relevant standing protocols and resolutions with respect to the debated topics. Before this, I was also delegated by the President of the General Assembly (PGA) to observe committee sessions and managed to do this interchangeably with my co-VPGAs.
The gala and awards event followed immediately after the closing plenary session. Awards were given to delegates who had the best position papers in each committee. Aside from these, there were other award categories which included:
Best delegate in each committee
Best dressed delegate
And lots of other sundry awards