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International House News

IH Vilnius hosts Migrants in the EU Conference

June 26 2012

International conference “Migrants Integration Processes in EU - First Steps In Their New Home Countries”

On 15 June 2012 an international conference as the final event of the EU Lifelong Learning programme Grundtvig Multilateral project “Migrants’ Integrating Kit - Basic Language For Dealing With Financial Matters – INTEGRA” (http://www.integra-project.eu),  was organised by Soros International House in Vilnius, Lithuania. In addition to the project partners from Lithuania, UK, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Spain, Turkey and Belarus, there were representatives from different social partner institutions and migrant communities in partner countries: UGT - the General Union of Workers in Spain, Domestic Workers Action Group based in The Migrants Rights Centre in Ireland, PAIWAND Afghan Association in UK, Kulturbrücke in Germany, The Russian – Lipovans Community in Romania, Bulgarian community in the Netherlands, Turkish and Romanian communities in Lithuania.

The conference was attended by honoured guests - the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Mr. Kornelis Willem Spaans, Deputy Head of the Mission of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in Lithuania Mr. Manuel Hernandez Gamallo, the Interim at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lithuania Mr. Felix Schmidt, as well as people who represented different NGOs and state institutions dealing with migrant integration issues. There were representatives from the Education Exchange Support Foundation, British Council, Language Teachers' Association of Lithuania, Institute of Labour and Social Research, The Refugees Reception Center, Center for Equality Advancement. There were also teachers from different Vilnius and Kaunas universities and colleges, and the State Linguistic University of Minsk.

The conference was opened with welcoming words from Daiva Malinauskiene, Soros International House Vilnius director and the project coordinator, a representative from the Education Exchange Support Foundation, and with the welcoming song in Spanish created and performed by a young Lithuanian actress.

Key speakers from the Netherlands and Spain presented the topics on integration issues in their countries and the representative from the British Council office in Vilnius analyzed the research results on immigrant languages in the EU.

Then the conference participants and guests were presented to the project and its final product CD - Migrant Integration KIT. The presentation ended with the simulations performed by “36 group“ actors who demonstrated the innovative and special methods based on drama elements introduced during the training and greatly appreciated by trainers and the final beneficiaries – the migrants. The trainers and representatives from migrant communities shared their reflections on the training sessions which had been run in each partner country. A Skype meeting was organized with the representative from the Somali community in the UK. She spoke about how important it was for her to participate in the training and she was grateful to have been offered the opportunity.

A project fair was organized during the conference. Project partners and other educational institutions presented their projects, shared experiences, and ideas. It was a good opportunity to make useful contacts for the development of the new projects.

After the lunch conference participants spread into two workgroups:
Group 1 - for presenting and discussing with representatives from migrant communities the issues on migrant integration through education
Group 2 - for presenting the projects working with the migrants’ integration (the assessment of opportunities of third-country nationals' in the labour market, the experience of the consultation centers working with migrants, migrants’ integration through language clubs, etc).

The conference was summarised by the President of the Language Teachers' Association of Lithuania. It was a great success and the feedback from the conference was very positive.