Over the last decade, Southern Europe has become the entry point for large numbers of refugees and migrants who are seeking a better life in Europe. While to some, Southern European countries may just be a leg in the journey, others are settling and building their lives here. Multiculturalism and diversity have shaped the face of Southern European countries for centuries. However, misconceptions and negative attitudes towards migration and diversity, based on fears and misinformation, are becoming the norm. Subsequently, it is essential to debunk false representations, share the positive contribution of diversity among the different societies living in this part of the Mediterranean. In this spirit, the project TandEM - Toward Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe - aims to build a bridge between migrant and local youth to promote dialogue, mutual understanding and cohesion in Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, Croatia and Cyprus. The project is grounded in a network of universities, as the places of socialization and integration for an increasing number of foreign students in Southern Europe, and the ideal places to design a youth-led response to discriminatory and toxic narratives on migration. The project aims to encourage young Southern Europeans’ active participation in the integration of young migrants in their countries, while allowing young people to speak up and define their identities.
Supporting Integration: student mentorship programs have started within selected universities in Italy and Spain, to support the active inclusion of foreign students, and create cohesive academic communities. In Italy, mentorship schemes are implemented in partnership with Sapienza University of Rome, University of Naples L'Orientale and University of Pisa; so far, 40 mentors have been trained and 150 students with migratory backgrounds have been supported. Here's a video of their experience.
Enhancing Education: a regional study conducted by EUA - European University Association - explored foreign students’ needs and barriers to access to higher education, mapping challenges to integration in Southern European universities and developing recommendations for national Governments, Universities, international organizations and students themselves. The study is available
Promoting Understanding: COREIS - Italian Islamic Religious Community - in partnership with universities and local religious organizations, has organized conferences and meetings to foster inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and understanding among students and young people, fighting Islamophobia and intolerance. A recap video about dialogues held in Venice, Turin, Milan, Rome and Como is available. Seminars were organized also in Malta, Spain and Croatia.
Encouraging Communication: regional and national social media campaigns were launched to empower young people to define their own narrative on migration and inclusion, fighting xenophobia and prejudice. Students' stories and experiences were collected and published on TandEM website.
TandEM (Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe) is a regional project, funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union, and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the European University Association (EUA) and the Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS).
The TandEM video created by the TandEM mentorship committees
The TandEM video produced my the EU Commission
For more information contact the TandEM project team at IOM Italy: Tel. +39 06 44186 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com - www.iomintandem.com
The TandEM mentorship component was inspired by good practices of the project Mentorship in Italian Universities - Youth-to-youth support for the integration of students with migratory background.