The current migration and refugee crisis in the European Union and its consequences in terms of integration challenges clearly shows the tight link between migration policies, border management, peace building, social rights and democracy. The changing landscapes of small towns and islands on the border of the European Union such as Lesbos, Lampedusa and Pozzallo illustrate the real consequences of European migration policies and international political, social and economic developments. It is from those remote ‘hotspots’ in the heart of the Mediterranean sea that we must raise our voice to call for alternatives. It is important for civil society, decision makers and citizens from both sides of the Mediterranean to get together to truly understand the link between global policies and their consequences for local realities, to enhance solidarity, promote peace and fight any form of hatred and fundamentalism.
Against this background, SOLIDAR encourages you to participate in the second edition of the Sabir Festival of Mediterranean Cultures organised by SOLIDAR member ARCI in Pozzallo on 12-15 May 2016. Like its first edition held in Lampedusa in October 2014, the Festival brings together representatives of European and African civil society, decision makers and citizens to discuss common responsibility for the ongoing humanitarian tragedies involving people trying to cross the Mediterranean sea and to develop together “Mediterranean alternatives”. The programme of the Festival includes debates, exchanges, artistic performances and international workshops which will involve both the local population and international guests, inspired by the approach embraced by our member ARCI so that through open dialogue and inclusive confrontation we can build democracy, peace and cohesive societies.
In the framework of the Festival, SOLIDAR is organising a study visit for our members to allow them to discuss and learn from each other about common challenges and opportunities linked to the everyday work to provide assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations and to promote integration and intercultural dialogue in the local communities. In addition, the study visit will be an opportunity to visit the harbour and the surroundings of the hotspot where the reception of migrants, and all the operations surrounding that, takes place and we will have the opportunity to hear feedback from NGOs on the functioning of the hotspot and the practical consequences of this new approach.
SOLIDAR warmly invites all our members and partners to take part in the Festival and to contribute to building a more inclusive and cohesive Europe.