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European Refuge/es: Cultivating Diversity Together
European Refuge/es is the first Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange programme implemented by the Sharing Perspectives Foundation. The aim of this programme is to bring together refugee and non-refugee youth across Europe to discuss what it means to be a citizen in Europe. Jointly they will develop a (counter) narrative to combat stigmatisation and foster mutual understanding.
Europe is in flux. The repercussions following the recent refugee ‘crisis’ are being felt across Europe. The situation has triggered strong reactions at both political and civil society levels including rises in right wing nationalist politics; nation states retreating from Europe as epitomised by Brexit; and strengthened civil society movements.
The aim of our programme is to promote understanding between European residents and refugee newcomers by understanding their experiences. We achieve this by discussing issues affecting both communities and what it means to be a citizen in Europe in facilitated online seminars that foster trust and mutual understanding. We connect refugees and non-refugees directly as personal encounters lead to the development of genuine relationships and allow young people to speak for themselves encouraging them to take ownership over the narrative that is prevalent in discussions across Europe.
During ten weeks participants from refugee and non-refugee background across European and South Mediterranean countries follow webinars from expert academics and practitioners in the field. Participants meet weekly in small groups in our tailored virtual classroom to explore their perspectives on the refugee ‘crisis’ and what it means to be a citizen in Europe. All participants jointly participate in video-project whereby they interview a peer through which they facilitate the interaction between peers across Europe.