14 settembre 2021

Prendersi cura dei fragili per curare il pianeta: il primo giorno della International School on Migration affronta il tema della giustizia sociale

Venerdì 10 settembre si è tenuto il modulo inaugurale della International School on Migration 2021 dedicata agli aspetti sociali della transizione ecologica. L’evento, aperto da Andrea Marchesini Reggiani – direttore del comitato organizzativo, esperto di sostenibilità e presidente della cooperativa Lai-momo – ha visto la partecipazione di Elly Schlein, Vice Presidente della Regione Emilia-Romagna, un punto di riferimento per chi si occupa di diritti umani e della migrazione.

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Quattro ospiti hanno partecipato a questa prima giornata, finalizzata a introdurre i temi della Scuola, con particolare attenzione ai rapporti Europa-Africa. La sessione mattutina dei lavori è stata moderata da Sören Bauer, direttore del think tank Revolve Circular, un’associazione austriaca che promuove l’economia circolare, con particolare attenzione all’Africa. Bauer ha presentato Grammenos Mastrojeni, Vicesegretario dell’Unione per il Mediterraneo, che ha parlato di migrazione e cambiamento climatico. Mastrojeni ha discusso soprattutto dei rapporti causali che collegano migrazioni umane e stress ambientale, spiegando che le crisi hanno impatti più violenti sulle zone socialmente fragili dove la sopravvivenza dipende in modo diretto dal mantenimento degli equilibri ambientali. Ha dunque enfatizzato la necessità di immaginare la transizione ecologica come un’operazione sistemica in cui la difesa dei diritti umani è una componente imprescindibile dei programma di sviluppo sostenibile. Il principio che “i muri non funzionano” – per citare Mastrojeni – è stato ripreso da Marta Foresti, direttrice del think tank ODI Human Mobility Initiative Europe e seconda ospite della mattinata. Foresti ha spiegato che bisogna integrare sviluppo e migrazione attraverso policy di gestione adeguate alla situazione eccezionale in cui flussi consistenti di persone si muovono sulla spinta di fenomeni ambientali catastrofici. In particolare, Foresti ha portato l’esempio di alcune iniziative transcontinentali e pratiche di comunità lanciate da attori non governativi e da sindaci di singole città che sviluppano sul campo misure di resilienza e adattamento urbano. Interdipendenza, cooperazione, solidarietà e diritto a un’esistenza dignitosa sono state anche le parole chiave della sessione pomeridiana, moderata da Giovanni Bettini, docente del centro per le “International Development and Climate Politics” dell’Università di Lancaster. Gli speaker sono stati François Gemenne, direttore dell’Osservatorio Hugo sul Cambiamento Climatico e la Migrazione presso l’Università di Liegi, e Nisreen Elsaim, Coordinatrice del Gruppo di giovani consiglieri attivisti per il cambiamento climatico delle Nazioni Unite. Gemenne ed Elsaim hanno posto l’accento sull’impatto negativo delle narrazioni mainstream sui legami tra cambiamento climatico e migrazione sulla percezione della portata sistemica e globale del fenomeno. Ancora una volta, i loro interventi hanno fatto emergere l’importanza di pensare la transizione come ambientale e sociale allo stesso tempo, un impegno da attuare nel presente per garantire a tutti un domani più giusto, prospero e inclusivo.
Ogni intervento è stato seguito da un lungo dibattito che ha coinvolto la platea di partecipanti provenienti da diversi paesi europei e africani che si sono poi incontrati in forma virtuale anche sabato 11 settembre per partecipare alla prima sessione del programma di formazione sulla Valutazione di Impatto Sociale condotto da Ashoka Italia.

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Taking care of the vulnerable to take care of the planet: the first day of the International School on Migration tackles social justice

The opening day of the International School on Migration 2021 took place last Friday, 10 September. The event, which looks into the social dimension of the environmental transition, was opened by Andrea Marchesini Reggiani – head of the organizing committee, sustainability expert, and president of Lai-momo cooperative – and Elly Schlein, Vice President of Emilia-Romagna region and an advocate of human rights.
Four speakers took the floor during the engaging first module on Europe-Africa relations that laid down the foundational notions of the four-module educational initiative. The morning session was moderated by Sören Bauer, head of Revolve Circular, the Austrian not-for-profit media think tank that creates knowledge on the circular economy with a focus on Africa. Bauer introduced Grammenos Mastrojeni, Deputy Secretary of the Union for the Mediterranean, who talked about migration in the context of our ongoing environmental disruption. Mastrojeni pointed to the causal and reciprocal relationship between increased human mobility –  what he says is wrongly labeled “climate migration” – and environmental stress, explaining that crisis hits harder in socially-fragile areas where survival is directly dependent on ecosystem balance. He thus stressed the need to address the green transition as a systemic operation rooted in the knowledge that human rights are at the heart of sustainable development. Mastrojeni’s uncompromising statement that “walls do not work” was taken up by Marta Foresti, director of ODI Human Mobility Initiative Europe. Foresti talked about the need to integrate development and migration in the framework of inadequate European management policies, focussing on the positive example of non-state actors and the mayors of individual cities developing resilient strategies to adapt to fast urban changes. Interdependence, cooperation,  solidarity, and the right to a dignified existence were also the keywords of the afternoon session moderated by Dr. Giovanni Bettini, who teaches at the International Development and Climate Politics center at Lancaster University. The speakers were François Gemenne, director of the Hugo Observatory on Climate Change and Migration at Liège University, and Nisreen Elsaim, Chair of the United Nations’ Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. Gemenne and Elsaim highlighted the need to change the narrative on climate change and migration in favor of a clear claim that environmental justice is social justice and that achieving social justice in the presence is an insurance for a more inclusive, prosperous, and equitable tomorrow.
The presentations generated a lively debate involving participants from several African and European countries, who convened again on Saturday 11 September to attend Session 1 of our training programme on Social Impact Assessment led by Ashoka Italia.

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03 marzo 2016

Call for papers on “Sport and migration” – Africa e Mediterraneo no. 84/2016

©UNHCR/Brian Sokol

It is generally accepted that sport is one of the most relevant social phenomenon in today’s society. The idea of sport as a pure passion or something to discuss while enjoying a coffee belongs to the past: today, sport is mostly represented and nurtured through the media, which has transformed it into a consumable commodity which is at the same time a cultural product, show business, an educational and socialization instrument and much more. Moreover, sport represents a precious tool for social integration since it expresses the multicultural nature of Western society with all its contradictions.

From this perspective, one of the strongest representations sport has offered – and football in particular – was the victory of the French National Team during the FIFA World Cup in 1998, when the whole French nation identified with the French team, which was known as the “three-Bs team – black, blanc, beur”, and composed of French nationals with different ethnic backgrounds as a result of the social integration policy fostered by the Chirac Government. However, 20 years later, the terrorist attack of November 2015 at the Stade de France, one of the symbols of the 1998 World Cup, represents, according to Stefano Martelli (mentepolitica.it 21/11/2015), the failure of such a policy.

If football is then a significant experience for hundreds of millions of people (supporters and/or practitioners) – a “total social fact” in Marcel Mauss’ words – it is necessary to ask why Italian and European football «have witnessed an escalation in the quantity and type of racist actions which have involved many supporters, players, managers and representatives of football institutions. International organizations and institutions such as the European Union, the UN and the World Bank have stepped in to exhort the Member States to fight this phenomenon by considering it as part of a bigger perspective of the spreading of racist feelings among the public and the rise of xenophobic political parties and movements» (R. Pedretti, 2015). Players such as Mario Balotelli, Angelo Ogbonna and Stefano Osaka represent, thanks to the fame they enjoy, the visible tip of a much bigger and complex phenomenon that moves with difficulty in a world that still struggles to think in terms of integration and equality. The antidiscrimination campaigns run by organizations such as FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) or initiatives like the Mondiali Antirazzisti (Antiracist World Games) do not seem to be successfully piercing the indifference of distracted ruling classes and heated supporters.

Sport is then a universal practice, but fraught with contradictions: despite being open to players of all origins, genders, social classes, many athletes in Europe are victims of injustice, discriminations, and racist events of different kinds. Despite that, 64% of European citizens consider sport (including competitive sport) as a tool with which to fight every form of discrimination (W. Gasparini, 2012).
The media narratives which tell the stories of successful athletes of foreign origin in Europe make the athletes nonetheless positive examples, and have a great impact both on their original society and on the second generation of migrants in Europe. Beyond the symbolic aspect and the production of meaning – and therefore of consensus – concerning champions and stars, the practice of sport represents a socializing element for citizens of all ages in the communities and neighbourhoods around sport associations (laic or religious). We are more and more aware of the need to fully include sport in the framework of social polices and to define more precisely what instruments can be deployed to make it a useful resource for the integration of citizens of foreign origin and for the fight against social exclusion. Recent examples of inclusion of asylum seekers within local sport associations of the territories where they are hosted seem to confirm such potential.

Pierre Bourdieu, who defined culture as an element that is experienced differently by people belonging to different classes, invited us to consider sport not only as a leisure activity but also as a social practice that – also through body control and body culture – is enacted in different shapes and produces specific effects that reflect the social position of the practitioner, who can then accumulate “cultural capital” (P. Bourdieu, 1978).

Starting with these assumptions, the issue 84 of the journal Africa e Mediterraneo aims to discuss sport as an instrument, practice, and socio-cultural resource which is able to facilitate social integration of migrant citizens and asylum seekers in the hosting countries and to increase the “cultural capital” and the “social capital” among migrants and natives at the local level.

Contributions dealing with the following subjects from different disciplinary approaches are welcome:
– terms and contents in the use of sport as an instrument for integration and fight against social exclusion of asylum seekers and migrants;
– sport practices by refugees and migrants in Europe;
– antidiscrimination campaigns in sport;
– sport as an instrument for social climbing for asylum seekers and migrants;
– debate and representation of sport in the African media;
– sport, racism and inclusion in social media and in the European mainstream media;
– successful examples of athletes from the Global South and their impact on countries of origin and young migrants.

Deadline for submission:

The proposals (max. 400 words) must be submitted no later than March 25th 2016 to the following email addresses s.federici@africaemediterraneo.it ; c.mara@africaemediterraneo.it.
The editorial committee will examine the proposals. If the proposal is accepted, the complete article with the related abstract (abstract max. 100 words, preferably in English) and a short biography of the author must be submitted by May 25th 2016.
Africa e Mediterraneo is a peer reviewed journal.
The articles and the proposals can be submitted in the following languages: Italian, English and French.

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