Undoubtedly, the international conference entitled "Women in Displacement: Gender, Migration and the Challenges of Integration in today’s Europe", was a very successful event! It was organized on 8th and 9th December 2019 (Crowne Plaza Athens, hotel) by the DAISSy Research Group of the Hellenic Open University (HOU), within the framework of the implementation of the "WEMIN: Migrant Women Empowerment and Integration” EU project. It triggered the interest of scholars, experts and practitioners, representatives of authorities, national and international institutions, organizations and associations, active citizens, and more generally anyone involved in the study, research and practice in the fields of migration, migration policy, empowerment and social integration of refugees.
More precisely, the conference included almost fifty speakers, was attended by one hundred and fifty participants and explored the gendered dimensions of the migration phenomenon in the context of today's Europe. Recognizing gender as an integral part of the experience, management, and understanding of migration and integration processes, the conference achieved to highlight not only the multiple challenges but also the significant opportunities European societies face. A variety of topics were addressed during the presentations, such as challenges and good practices for the integration of Migrant and Refugee Women (MRW), adult migrants’ education from a gender sensitive perspective, politics-migration-gender roles and representations, opportunities about working life and social life of MRW, gender-based violence and migration, art and gendered experiences of migration and integration, etc.
The international conference was the final closing event of the two-year WEMIN project implementation and so, it was well designed for promoting the project results and outputs. This was managed through the presentations, the roundtable discussions and workshops that provided all participants with the opportunity to exchange opinions and experiences. Emphasis was placed to the MRW themselves, as representatives of them from all partner countries joined the conference, spoke up themselves about their experiences and shared their feelings and ideas during the conference discussions. Moreover, the experts’ insights brought to the fore the challenges of the integration process on various levels, from the local to the international, from the structured policy-making to innovative best practices, from recorded problems to identified solutions.
Moreover, the experts’ insights enhanced the understanding and the analysis of the challenges of integration, from the local to the international level, from structured policy-making to innovative bet practices, from recorded problems to identified solutions.
The official conference language was English. There was no registration fee for attending the conference and all participants received certificates. The DAISSy Research Group of the Hellenic Open University (HOU), Coordinator of the WEMIN project, is thankful to all partner organizations, as well as the speakers, the experts and every participant for their contribution to the success of the final closing conference.
This event was an excellent way of completing the WEMIN project implementation. The WEMIN project developed a pioneering model for the integration of migrant and refugee women of all ages in the hosting communities. It combined, among others, training, empowerment and mentoring sessions, learning through art, production of guides (on best practices of migrants’ integration and on related policy-making), development of digital educational material (videos) and tools (electronic peer learning platform included). MRW being beneficiaries of the actions attended the conference and its workshops and expressed how valuable experiences they have gained through their active involvement in the WEMIN project. All results and outcomes were presented during the high-scale conference and addressed the project impact. From this perspective, it enhanced the smooth integration of migrant and refugee women into the European cities where they live, enabling them to play a leading role and act as integration multipliers within their families and their circle of contacts. At the same time, the WEMIN actions offered opportunities to stimulate dialogue, intercultural relations and exchanges, while the online peer learning platform is used to promote learning and networking, and it will be maintained by HOU-DAISSy after the WEMIN project is completed. All material about the WEMIN final international conference will be uploaded there.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (776211-ΑΜIF-2016-AG-INTE) and includes a transnational partnership in 8 EU Member States (Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany and Sweden). In Greece, it is implemented in Athens by the DAISSy Research Group of Hellenic Open University (Coordinator) and Olympic Training & Consulting Ltd (partner).