Immigration gives rise to strong emotions. It is explained by conflicting narratives, and it polarises people and political parties into positions that are either irreconcilable (Trump’s wall), irreversible (Brexit), or unsustainable (Lebanon). With over 68 million refugees worldwide, how can one resolve the problem of immigration? Above all, how can diplomacy humanise immigration so that those conveniently impersonal words, 'the problem of immigration', become more real, more immediate, and more compelling to each one of us?
Narratives provide the organising structure of this web debate on 'Humanising Immigration'
Ms Ifigenia Georgiadou considers the compelling narratives of intercultural communication in diplomatic and teaching practices. She explores the meaning of intercultural skills and ‘humanisation’ as a concept while referring to the training opportunities necessary for defining the real mission of diplomats working on migration issues.
Dr Atef Ahmed considers some of the conflicting narratives that characterise the discourse on immigration. He explores some of the following questions: Us versus them - how can images, narratives, and back-stories inform us and change our perception? Are immigrants a threat or an asset and what are the actual risks for host countries in terms of terrorism, jobs, culture, language, and religion that the ‘security-threat’ narrative promotes? Is the information we have a fact or fiction and what role do national statistical offices play? How can we be more inclusive and less divisive?
Dr Biljana Scott digs up some of the entrenched and often misleading narratives that underpin the debate on immigration: the appeal to fear, to purity, to false causation, and the slippery slope fallacy are just some of the logical fallacies that ‘speak for us’. However, since understanding the views of others is fundamental both to this debate and to the practice of diplomacy, she emphasises the legitimacy of different perspectives and the need for acknowledgment and accommodation. This leads her to consider how creative narratives have responded to immigration, from political satire to theatre and literature, and to ask: How can diplomacy be more creative in humanising immigration?
Ms Ifigenia Georgiadou (Teacher Trainer, Director at the Hellenic Culture Centre, Greece)
Ms Georgiadou is a language teacher, teacher trainer, author, and consultant with 30 years of experience in education. She is a philologist and holds a BA in Philosophy (University of Athens) and ΜΑ in Education and Human Rights (University of Athens and University of London).Georgiadou is a certified EUROLTA master trainer and facilitator on teaching methodology and intercultural education seminars at the Hellenic Culture Centre, in various NGOs, and public and private institutions, a co-ordinator of EU funded projects, and an external consultant to different public and private educational organisations and NGOs.
Dr Atef Ahmed (Freelancer Educational Consultant, Cairo, Egypt)
Dr Ahmed has more than 27 years experience in the field of teaching, teachers’ education programmes, civic education, civil society organisations, and youth development. He holds a PhD in educational technology from Cairo University and played a pivotal role in the Digital Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) in Egypt, where he oversaw the setup and day-to-day running of the UK government-funded programme. Ahmed is a Diplo alumnus and attended the Internet Governance in the MENA Region course in 2016.
Dr Biljana Scott (Senior Fellow, DiploFoundation)
Dr Scott was trained as a linguist (BA in Chinese, M.Phil and D.Phil in Linguistics, University of Oxford). She is a Senior Lecturer in Language and Diplomacy at DiploFoundation and an associate of the Chinese Institute at Oxford University. She workshops internationally on political rhetoric, diplomatic language and public speaking. Scott's current focus is on combining force and grace, implicit communication, and intercultural communication.
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