Be rural, believe in You(th), create the Europe of tomorrow!



MIGRATION - Challenge for European Rural Development
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Thirty-five participants from Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania got together in Toledo (Spain), from the 2nd to the 5th July 2012 in order to explore and reflect on the challenges that Migration brings to the development of Rural Areas.

During this 4-days meeting we worked through our method "See-Judge-Act" and using non-formal and informal education techniques to allow the participants to:

- exchange on realities in their rural areas and best practices on the topic;
- analyse the impact of migrations on the welfare of European rural areas;
- build a common understanding of the situation of migration in the world in general and in Europe more specifically;
- agree on common strategies so that migration can contribute for a sustainable rural development in Europe and the rest of the world (finding solutions to improve the image and dignity of migrants, create possibilities of dialogue between migrants and the hosting community for a better mutual understanding,...);
- reflect on the choice to migrate or not from rural areas and its impact;
- reach critical conclusions to constitute the basis of a position paper from the partner promoters and creation of a campaign on the topic.

The think tank of this seminar, who also facilitated the whole programme, prepared in advance a Concept Paper with important texts to be addressed during the meeting.

The programme included moments with the whole group and smaller Working Groups on three specific topics:
1. Migrations and Human dignity
2. Migrations and multiculturalism
3. Migrations and rural development

If you wish to know a more about each Working Group specific work, please follow the link on each of them. The full report of this activity can be found here.

Here we will give you an overview of what happened daily. We also have an event page on Facebook with daily posts.

On the first day we have started by welcoming all the participants, giving them their packs and providing them with practical information.
To make them get to know each other better there was a Human Bingo game, which was followed by the "Garden of Expectations".
A first input about migration was given through an informative video, enriched and further developed by the presentation of Rebeca Harris of the University of Comillas (Madrid).
We've prepared an edited and shortened version of Rebeca's contribution that you can hear, as well as the session of Questions&Answers prepared by the participants in their Working Groups.
Participants got then their first Working Group experience, to get to know more about the specific topics and programme of their group and make a first reflection about their specific topics.
A first exchange of conclusions took place together with the expert, who concluded her presentation with a motivational speech to empower us to work on Migration issues.
To end this first day, an International Evening was prepared in order to get participants aware of the cultural differences among themselves. Participants brought traditional food and drinks from their countries which they presented and gave to taste to each other. Then some traditional songs, games and dances were also taught, creating a very interactive and funny environment between participants.

The second day started with an energizer followed by an edition of "MIJARC News", a simulation of a TV channel News where one participant per Working Group was interviewed in a funny way so the other groups could know what was happening in each of them.
Then the participants played a pedagogical game about the influence of Climate Change on migration, after which they were invited to split in small groups to create a public awareness raising campaign about the topic. Some really nice ideas came up!!!
It was time to get back to each Working Group to proceed with the reflections in their specific topics.
In the afternoon we organised some field visits: a tour around Toledo with the explanation about the religious influences on the history of this beautiful town, and a meeting with several representatives of associations that support migrants. This was a very interesting meeting for everybody and it raised many important questions, allowing at the same time a direct contact with migrants that shared their personal experiences.
To finish this busy day, the participants could calmly enjoy a free evening.

The third day tried to wake up the participants with a new energizer, followed by a new edition of "MIJARC News", this time with an ameliorated scenario (an introductory generic, weather news, "no comment" moment and of course, the interviews to the participants of each working group).
The work continued until 17h00 in working groups and then it was time to go into the streets of Toledo again to trail diversity around (clothes, architecture, people, food and religion) as well as to interview the people about migration. The results were presented on the last day.
After dinner we had a very special evening, the Spanish evening! The Spanish participants prepared us a nice presentation about Spanish traditions, a Quiz and delicious Tapas, with traditional chorizo, wine, bread, and so much more. But the best of this evening is that all was shared with the migrants and representatives of the migration aid organisations that we've met the day before. We had so much fun together...

And the forth and last day arrived very quickly! It was a day mostly dedicated to sharing of conclusions, evaluation and farewell.
As religious movements we are, we started the day with a Spiritual Impulse. Some time to make some introspection and reflect on the meaning of migration in the religious perspective.
After, the Working Groups came together for the last time to evaluate their work in the group as well as to prepare the presentation for the last plenary, which happened during the afternoon.
The final plenary had the format of a TV show with someone presenting the guests who were coming to present their conclusions. We have assisted to the presentation of the Demands and Commitments from each Working group, the results of the street groups for trailing diversity in Toledo, we've played a mimics game related to migration issues and we have created a song lyrics cover for the song "we all live in a yellow submarine". The think tank has created the refrain and choreography, and each working group created some verses. Check the result!
After all this sharing, it was time for the participants to get together by country and plan what could be done by their own groups/organisations when they get back home. We hope all of them will become real strategies to support migrants.
And the farewell party has come! The participants were given with creativity liberty to decide how to do it and the result was very funny! They became Greek "gods" for one evening and enjoyed their last hours together the best they could.

Activity Date:
Monday, July 2, 2012