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Check here our press release from before the conference.
Sustainable and Impactful Policy Change for Inclusive Education for Migrants – a policy conference to herald in a new era
SIRIUS Policy Conference held on February 10th 2022 on the theme of Sustainable and Impactful Policy Change for Inclusive Education for Migrants. There was a main panel held with:
- MEP Salima Yenbou (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, France)
- Bistra Ivanova (Co-founder and Chairperson, Multi Kulti Collective, Bulgaria)
- Gyula Cserey (Head of Unit Strategy and Investments, DG EAC, Belgium)
- Angelika Aroni (Head of the Unit for Integration and Support of UAMs, Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Greece)
This panel highlighted many important themes that were raised throughout the four year project cycle. Firstly, segregation of students was discussed by Angelika Aroni and MEP Salima Yenbou, with an understanding that segregation impedes social and language acquisition, critical steps to true inclusion of migrants and new arrival in our education systems. Also, the understanding that if education is not inclusive for migrant students, then, it inherently becomes discriminatory and, that, we cannot discuss inclusive education for migrants if we don’t also start to use an anti-racist lens to approach. This topic was broached by MEP Salima Yenbou. In addition, the real investment in teachers support and development was addressed both by Gyula Cserey and MEP Salima Yenbou , who highlighted the importance that every teacher needs to be trained to include newly arrived migrant students. SIRIUS board member and project partner Bistra Ivanova highlighted some of her recent experience in working at the local Bulgarian context and the challenges and importance of pushing for legislative change, particularly for older students whose opportunities can become even more limited if we don’t prioritise them on arrival.
The conference went on to highlight the main activities of the network over the last few years, including gathering different types of stakeholders at yearly national roundtables to pursue an agenda of change. Participants gained an understanding of how a group of vibrant educators, researchers and NGOs have built a support network for newly arrived students in Montpellier and how a large group of NGOs is now advocating for anti-racist policies and mechanisms to protect communities in Bamberg, Germany. We also heard from the City of Barcelona and NGO representatives on how collaborating with service providers on everything from strategy to funding can allow municipalities to get a deep understanding of how best to make the most of their young people and create cohesive and productive societies that feed into the city dynamics positively.
Finally, the conference was closed by long-standing board member Tomislav Tudjman and Isabelle Chopin, Director of MPG, who birthed SIRIUS out of their offices. A heartfelt and genuine closing was very much appreciated by all, with an acceptance that SIRIUS is now a network standing on its own two-feet in Brussels.