The interference of the allegedly developed countries and the inequalities this generates are the main cause of great human movements. The hate speech used by far-right parties contributes to extend the idea that migrants, especially impoverished migrants, are causing a seemingly endless humanitarian crisis. However, it has already been demonstrated that articulating a migration policy that puts people at its core is the right solution. While this idea spreads at an international level, there are brave organisations and people that keep on finding their way. In this article, we show the experience of eight people leading initiatives to reboot the migration system.
The eight experiences that we present are carried out in the fields of politics, communication, research, arts and social entrepreneurship. These are creative and committed people that, through their example and perseverance, show us that it is possible to turn an allegedly insurmountable crisis into an opportunity.
1.Aminata Traoré: the most respected intellectual in the African community and one of the most respected voices in the alter-globalization movement.
Malian former minister and Writer Aminata Traoré is one of the most important voices in the African continent. She travels the world with a clear message that includes a global vision on the migration phenomenon. Always from a decolonizing, feminist and proactive perspective. Besides, in her interventions she tries to delve into innovative experiences that are being led by the African continent.
She is a political activist committed to “a micro-resistance before macro-domination” that provides an unconventional analysis and breaks with the usual Western-centric perspective. In her discourse, Aminata highlights some of the paradoxes of globalisation: “We are not born with the need of going to go to Western countries, we go West because we no longer have the possibility of living with dignity in our countries. Arms and brains leave and people that studied in the North do not want to come back. However, at the same time the West sends us thousands of Europeans by means of cooperation, doctors, teachers or engineers that are paid 20 times as much as Africans would be if they were willing to work in their own countries”.
2. Gonzalo Fanjul: researcher and activist that produces truthful information on the most vulnerable collectives at porcausa.org.
Researcher and activist Gonzalo Fanjul is an expert in poverty and development. His obsession with combating social inequality took him from managing NGOs to the field of social entrepreneurship. Actually, just recently he joined the Ashoka network as a social innovation fellow.
Currently, he is the head of the ISGlobal Political Analysis area and the driving force behind Fundación Por Causa. This is an initiative where a multidisciplinary team of practitioners use social research and journalism to improve the public debate on migrations. They were born as an association “to prevent biased approaches and to fight lies and manipulation”. An example of his research is the last analysis on migrations published under the title “The Anti-immigration franchise: How xenophobic populism spreads all over Europe”.
3. Angelica Dass: a photographer at the service of diversity as an essential value of human wealth.
Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass refocuses social reality through photography from an innovative perspective. She is the creator of Humanae, “a collection of portraits that unveils beauty from the diversity of skin colours”, through which she questions the way that we think about skin colour and ethnic identity.
After her artistic and learning experience, she highlights: “I don’t know anyone who is black or white, why do they describe human beings that way? Modern science states that races do not exist. Why do we keep defining human beings as black, white, red or yellow?
With her powerful and inspiring rhetoric, she has been a guest speaker in important institutions such as the University of Salamanca, the University of Bologna or the UERJ (Rio de Janeiro), as well as National Geographic and the World Economic Forum as a cultural leader.
4. Clara Jiménez and Maldita Migración: journalism and facts as a tool to transform disinformation and the indifference of public opinion.
Journalist Clara Jiménez is a co-founder of Maldita.es, a non-profit organisation the main aim of which is to provide citizens with “tools in order not to be fooled”. She focuses on the control of disinformation and public discourse through fact-checking techniques and data-based journalism. Among the issues she focuses on we find migrations.
At Maldita Migración, Jiménez, who is the only Spaniard at the High-Level Group of Experts on Disinformation designed by the European Commission, verify information and refute hoaxes related to migrations and refugees that are disseminated in the media and social networks.
Through their work, they create a counter-narrative in the media. In 2019, with many electoral processes in Spain, it is essential to count with verified information in order to make decisions.
5. Ana María Álvarez: a Berlin-based Costa Rican that, as a result of her migration experience, supports hundreds of migrants who begin down the path of social entrepreneurship.
Berlin-based Costa Rican journalist is the head of the Migration Hub Network, an initiative created in 2016, just one year after she arrived in Germany. Her main mission: to provide support to international social projects working with migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.
Currently, the Migration Hub Network has built a community with over 2,300 members; over 4,000 people have taken part in their workshops and events in the last year; and they participate in more than 10 projects. All these projects aim at modifying the migration narrative through social entrepreneurship.
Álvarez, who is specialised in Human Rights and Education for Peace, created this platform for migrant entrepreneurs with the aim of helping them in their business opportunities. She provides “guidance to entrepreneurs, social enterprises and companies. Besides, this in an initiative focusing on networking and the exchange among projects with the aim of increasing their impact and potential in the long term.
6. Luisa Malhó: when state policy responds to the needs of citizens.
Sociologist Luisa Malhó is a member of the High Commission for Migrations in Portugal. This is one of the international administrations that better foster the social integration of migrants and refugees. As a matter of fact, Portugal is second among the top 10 countries that do this job better, according to the last Mipex report.
7. Matthias Schulze-Boning leads a successful local policy model for the integration of migrants in Offenbach (Germany).
Matthias Schulze-Böing is the Head of the Employment, Statistics, Social Development and Integration Policies Department at the City Council of Offenbach am Main. Offenbach is a small town with one of the highest proportion of foreigners in Germany (37% of foreigners), but at the same time is a replicable example of social integration. Its success lies on providing access to education, the labour market and affordable housing, among others.
8. Ahmad Sufian Bayram, a young entrepreneur who wants to remind that refugees can contribute to the society of their host country through social entrepreneurship.
Ahmad Sufian is a social entrepreneur and activist of the collaborative economy. He works as the Techstars regional manager for the Middle East and Africa, where he provides support to hundreds of community leaders in the region. His main goal: to foster social entrepreneurship and to remind people that refugees can contribute to local societies and to the economy of the host country.
Besides, he is the author of several books: “Entrepreneurship in conflict zones” and the study “Entrepreneurship in exile”. Both shed light on the status quo of Syrian entrepreneurs in conflict zones and as refugees in their host countries.
All these people, weaving every day a new migration model through their work from different social environments, will participate in the 4th edition of the International Forum on Social Innovation taking place on December 12th and 13th in Valencia (Spain). Participants will not only enjoy the teachings of these eight people, but they will also get to know over 20 social enterprises led by or targeting migrants; they will also become familiar and put to practice the new methodology created by Jovesolides “RESET: rebooting the system towards transformational scenarios”. Book your place today!