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ACM Cooperation Meeting “Immigrants and refugees: a challenge for Europe”

11 February, 2016

Rocío Calvo, Associate lecturer at Boston College School of Social Work, spoke at this meeting. Aristos Campus Mundus has signed an advanced strategic cooperation agreement with said university.

Aristos Campus Mundus (ACM) organised the Cooperation Meeting entitled “Immigrants and refugees:  a challenge for Europe”. Fostering University Social Responsibility is one of the strategic objectives of the project.

In his opening speech, Rector Josep Maria Garrell of Ramon Llull University said that universities “should be agoras where society’s most pressing problems are debated and addressed with academic rigour”. For this reason, immigration and refugees were the focus of the yearly Cooperation Conference, which aimed to find possible solutions. “We believe prevention of social injustice lies in education”, added Garrell.

Jordi Calvo, lecturer at the Blanquerna Faculty of Communication and International Relations, spoke at the round table discussion “The refugee crisis”, moderated by Jordi Sabater, lecturer at the Pere Tarrés-Faculty of Social Education and Social Work at Ramon Llull University. A researcher at the Centre of Studies for Peace, Calvo analysed the refugee crisis from the perspective of the culture of peace and disarmament. He stated that Europe is intervening indirectly in war-torn countries by selling weapons, which is legitimising the action of terrorist groups at ground level.

“”Europe doesn’t work”. This is currently one of the most widely held opinions. In contrast, Gemma Pinyol, a social researcher, member of Instrategies and expert in European policy and migration, stated “management of immigration, exile and border controls are the competence of the European Union member states”. Pinyol added that this erroneous opinion is contributing to the growth of Euroscepticism and the rise of xenophobic parties.

Carles Campuzano, president of ACSAR and congress deputy, criticised Spain for ignoring the demands for asylum filed not only by Syrians but also by people from other areas, thus violating the Geneva Convention. The deputy remarked that European societies, “have a complex that keeps them from recognising themselves as heterogeneous” and added that “Europe will no longer be a white continent” but will be formed by diverse cultures.

Nieves Alberich took part in the round table discussion “Immigration, citizenship and human rights”, moderated by Miguel Ángel Pulido, Vice Dean of Research and International Relations at FESTS Pere Tarrés at Ramon Llull. Alberich, Interculturality technician with the Catalonian Government’s Agency for Youth, highlighted that society is diverse and there is a great need to work on common integration and education policies. “ 22.5% of the young people in Catalonia are foreign”, explained Alberich.

“Including refugees in the job market and teaching them the language is the key to preventing them from ending up in ghettoes”. These strong words were pronounced by Julia Moreno, job projects technician for people requesting and/or benefiting from Red Cross International Protection. Moreno also insisted that the reception protocols are inadequate. This is proven by the fact that very few are requesting entry, as prospects for being hosted are practically nonexistent.

Angel Miret, coordinator for the Catalonia Refugee Aid Committee, underlined that refugees have not arrived in Spain or many other European nations. “The agreed quota of refugees to be hosted in Spain was 19,000 and finally only 18 have actually been taken in. Of the 160,000 Europe agreed to receive, only 497 are being hosted “. Miret also remarked that we should see the type of refugees arriving as a benefit for the country as all of their profiles include the following: financial resources, a network of relations who have already settled in Europe and good professional training.

Rocío Calvo, Associate lecturer from Boston College School of Social Work, gave a talk centred on the vision of immigration experienced by Latin Americans in the United States and the discriminatory policies they suffer from, above all concerning access to health and education.  Calvo, who has vast experience in research on Latin American immigration in societies, is leading various projects at said school.

Is anyone asking what we are doing about the refugee crisis? Josetxo Ordóñez, representing the Migra Studium Foundation, closed the meeting by explaining how official sources are publishing biased information and that the policy implemented by the European Commission is against receiving refugees as their efforts centre on systematic and efficient expulsion. 

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