In this very first episode of Changing the Table, we explore the barriers to participation that New Europeans face and how to overcome them. We are joined by Shawgi Ahmed, Director of Public Leadership at the PLACE Network, who shares his insights stemming from over 12 years of experience working with migrants, and by Olivia Long, Managing Editor at the Migration Policy Group, who conducted interviews with representatives of New European communities to map obstacles to political participation and recommendations on eliminating them.
What is participation?
Shawgi: “When it comes to participation in the context of Europe, imagine it is like a house where you are invited to a party. Newcomers get the chance to be part of the party in some way but they don’t have the right to play or decide on the music. […] But participation from the point of view of newcomers is also related to a sense of belonging. Because, what does it mean to participate in something when I don’t have that sense of belonging? Where I feel connected to a nation, city, neighbourhood, school?”
Learn more about Shawgi’s work and the PLACE network here.
It’s that simple
Olivia: “Writing this report I hit a hurdle early on because what we’re saying is so obvious. We are repeating ourselves so many times that I felt like I was missing something, that there is something more that we have to say, but actually, it is just that simple, it’s that message (Nothing for us, without us), although it is repeated time and time again it is still lost.”
Olivia’s excellent report – Meaningful civic and Political Participation of New Europeans: obstacles & recommendations – will be presented during a webinar on October 10.
About the Migration Policy Group (MPG)
MPG is an independent think-and-do-tank based in Brussels. MPG’s purpose is rooted in its ability to inspire networks to provide evidence-based projects, research and campaigns in the areas of integration, migration and anti-discrimination.