The first Pan-European conference of the EU project ‘Abused no More’[i] was successfully held on 22 of September in Nicosia, Cyprus. The conference entitled ‘Shaping the European Educational Agenda from the Bottom Up’ [ii]was hosted by KISA – Action for Equality, Support Antiracism, as a project partner. The conference with 120 participants, including 20 participants from 8 EU member states, discussed how increasing migrant youth’s legal capability, especially in the area of gender-based discrimination and exclusion, will aid in their employability and social inclusion, thereby enhancing their self-empowerment.
The conference, opened by Ms Anthoula Papadopoulou[iii], the chairperson of KISA while a welcoming address was delivered by Mr George Markopouliotis, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, who, among other things, stated ‘Education plays a crucial role in helping migrants and refugees settle in new countries and environments. From language learning to the recognition of qualifications, education is a part of the solution throughout the integration process.’ This was followed by the keynote speech of Dr Theo Gavrielides, founder and Director of The IARS International Institute (Lead Partner). Dr Theo Gavrielides introduced the Abused no More Project & its Research Publication: ‘’My Voice – My Rights: Young, Marginalised and Empowered by the law’’
In the first session of the conference, Ms Senia Resul (Romanian-U.S. Alumni Association, Romania), Dr Miranda Christou and Mr Nikos Deji Odubitan (Generation 2.0, Greece) focused on the realities that marginalized ethnic youth in Europe are facing and on the role of educational policies and systems and legal capability in empowering/disempowering them. The three speakers explained how educational policies and systems may have positive impact on migrant youth’s.
In the second session, the project partners presented the national reports of the research: Ms Andriana Ntziadima (IARS, UK) presented the report “Legal Literacy in Relation to Gender-Based Violence Affecting Young Black and Minority Ethnic Women in the UK” while Ms Ioana Barbu (Romanian-U.S. Alumni Association, Romania) spoke about the issue of the legal literacy of Migrant Youth at Risk of Social Exclusion in Romania, with special attention on gender discrimination.
Furthermore, Ms Elżbieta Grab (Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej – SIP, Poland) discussed the issue of discrimination at Junior High Schools from the perspective of students and teachers while Ms Romy Wakil (KISA, Cyprus) and Ms Licia Boccaletti (Anziani e Non Solo, Italy) presented the reports “Legal Capability in Relation to Socially Excluded and Migrant Youth in Cyprus: A Gender Based Analysis” and “Young People and (Multiple) Discriminations: State of Art and Training Needs” respectively.
In the third session, Dr Spyros Spyrou spoke about the importance of involving young people into youth led research as well as the challenges in so doing, and how empowerment of young migrants and refugees can produce knowledge. In the same session, Dr Spyrou, together with Ms Licia Boccaletti (Anziani e Non Solo, Italy) and Leanne Caulfield (Immigrant Council of Ireland) discussed potential suggestions and perspectives for the future. In the last session of the conference, Dr Ioanna Charalambous (Cardet, Cyprus) and Ms Tonia Asimakopoulou (Project Coordinator, Greece), shared their own perspective concerning the role of education to the integration of migrants and refugees. The conference closed with an interactive discussion between the speakers and the participants.
The overall conclusion of the conference reconfirms the researches findings: Education and training, particularly as far as legal knowledge is concerned, reinforce the integration process of migrants and refugees into society.
The 3-year Abused No More project, funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, is being implemented by a partnership[iv] that is coordinated by The IARS International Institute (UK) in cooperation with Anziani e Non Solo (Italy), KISA (Cyprus), Romanian U.S. Alumni Association (Romania) and Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej – SIP (Poland).
For more information about the Abused No More project and the conference, please visit the website of the project: http://www.abusednomore.org/