RefuFest is an organization that aims to celebrate diversity and promote solidarity with migrants and refugees by hosting an annual two day summer festival - which is exactly the kind of community that the students’ Diplomatic Club sought after.

The event on the topic of integration of migrants and refugees in the EU was suggested by AAU alumna Oceane Herpin who is a volunteer at the organization.

The Friday evening event began with a panel discussion that centered around three main questions What were the EU members’ responses and why? How do the members differ in their integration process? and What are the consequences of the members’ chosen strategies? The three panelists; Sofia Sollorano presenting the Czech Republic’s response, Justyna Hinz breaking down Germany’s response and Marco Pascucci who presented Italy’s perspective, conducted their own research to inform the audience on the specifics regarding statistics on refugees in integration programs as well as information on the growing right wing popularity in the Union.

Marco Pascucci, another AAU alumnus, wrote his master thesis on the topic of migration in Italy and was himself a volunteer in refugee centers in Italy, gaining first-hand experience in the country’s integration process which he enthusiastically shared with the audience. Although the panel was held at AAU, the audience largely consisted of people outside the university, which made for a more interesting discussion during the Q&A session. Opposing viewpoints were presented by the audience and the panelists, including a heavy debate on whether the Czech Republic should or should not abide by the EU’s directive on “refugee quotas”. The cordial discussions continued after Oceane and Natka Szelachowska’s presentation on RefuFest’s events leading up to their annual summer festival which will take place in on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of June.

The evening closed off with an incredibly delicious Libyan buffet put together by AAU IR student Aisha Salah, which included dishes like kibbeh made of bulgur and ground beef, Arabian cookies with clove spice, a hummus salad and Arabian coffee with a lot of cardamom. The Middle Eastern grocery shop Chez Amis near Narodni Trida delivered forty pieces of their freshly made walnut baklava which complemented Aisha’s Libyan cuisine very well.

by Sofia Sollorano

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Publication date: April 23, 2018