Yesterday the meeting “Conversation on Issues Relating to Migration in Sicily” took place at the E.Si.S, under the remit of the EACEA project “Brücken statt Mauern – over border”. Borderline Sicilia welcomed a group of students from across the world, enrolled in the Masters course “International Social Work with Refugees and Migrants” at the University of Wurzburg (Germany). There were also many students present enrolled in the final year of the Social Work BA at the University of Palermo.
Thanks to the shared area of study, the participants were provided with an opportunity to meet each other and share their own knowledge. Starting with their contributions, the two university groups engaged in a profitable exchange, along with experts from the sector. A range of issues were touched upon: the migration routes, sea rescue missions, the criminalisation of NGOs, the Italy-Libya deal, the 2015 European Agenda on Migration, the Hotspot and relocation program, asylum seeker centres in Italy (and Sicily in particular) and finally the role of staff in the reception centres.
Some of the arguments were naturally developed and analysed more than others, based on the many questions raised by the students. Some of these questions demonstrated the need to create further meetings to remedy that communicational divide which we frequently encounter between staff and residents in centres, but also characterises the relations between staff and other workers in the sector. Such a process can help create encounters between all of those who work in the field in various roles, and the rest of society. After all, we need bridges, not walls…
Translation by Richard Braude