Worldwide, the number of people displaced as a consequence of violence, war or persecution has reached the highest level since World War II. Its impact on the European Union, especially since 2012, has been conceptualized as a refugee crisis that challenges a common response both at national and supranational levels. Therefore, as central as it is in academic, political and social debates, EDIW sees it as one of the most pressing challenges to deal with.
Migration, whether it is due to political conflict, natural disaster or economic reasons, brings intercultural and interreligious dialogue to our doorsteps. It challenges educational systems, citizen participation and many other aspects of every day habits, including the index of unemployment. It challenges our written and proclaimed values, making us realize how fragile they are even if they were considered strong.
Pluralism between religious and ethnic identities imposed on most of the refugees compounds the once marginalized practices of racial discrimination. In addition to that, the populist extreme wright-wing voices gain traction with the occurrences of every terrorist attack that can be associated with Islam, and thus, refugees. This fear then mutated to be an ugly form of xenophobia, diminishing the spirit of dialogue. In today´s Europe, the word `migrant´, or any term that can be associated with foreigners, represents that who is to be blamed for domestic and international problems.
The challenge of migration runs accross several of our projects but is is particularly addressed in the “City-nets project” where youth who had made the road into the new society become leaders of their groups and try ways forward for different ways of belonging and inclusion.