Let’s Talk About Refugees – IWB’s first international human rights conference in Timisoara!
I was invited for the second time as a speaker at the “Summer University Programme“, the 15th edition organized by CIFE (which is a private institution of higher education and research, founded in 1945, having its head office in Nice and branch offices in Istanbul, Brussels and Berlin).
This programme was focused on migration and refugees across Europe and was taught in French.
One of the organizers of this programme is Laura Spătaru Negura who is also one of the founding members of Issues Without Borders and a teacher at Nicolae Titulescu University, which is one of the organising partners.
The summer school took place in several places: 29 July- 31 July 2018 in Bucharest (Romania), 31 July-2 August in Slobozia (Romania) and 2 August-5 August 2018 in Silistra ( Bulgaria).
The programme gathered students from different countries such as France, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, Ecuador. The participants got the chance to discover parts of Romania and Bulgaria, visit the surroundings, discover the culture and create great memories.
The programme included interesting lectures among which I can mention “Security in its many facets“ ( held by Raluca Miga Besteliu, professor at Nicolae Titulescu University), “The Impact of Civil Aviation on migration and its consequences on migration“ ( held by Sorana Paun-Pop, Politehnica University in Bucharest), “Islamic Terrorism, weapon in the psychological war“ ( held by Rosemarie Olanescu, specialist in security and islam), “Terrorism: definition, movement, coverage “ ( held by Francois Dieu, Sociology Professor at Toulouse University and Director of the Study and Research Police Center), “Security and the fight against terrorism in Europe (held by Laura Laura Negură Spătaru, lawyer and Teaching Assistant at Nicolae Titulescu University).
My presentation was on: “ IWB (Issues Without Borders) for refugees: actions to raise awareness. “
During my lecture I presented IWB actions to raise awareness on the refugee issue, thus presenting all the conferences that I have attended on behalf of IWB (in Cyprus, Georgia, Belgium, Romania)
I also presented our first promotional clip, from the first international conference on human rights that we organized in Timisoara in November 2017 .
Furthermore I presented Refuge D’ Amour, a short film about a syrian women who obtained the refugee status in France. This short movie is meant to depict a different side of the refugee issue and it aimed at sensitize people.
After my presentation I engaged with students in a Q & A, trying to see what they think about migrants and refugees, what was their opinion about our actions to raise awareness and how they see the future of Europe in terms of migration.
I was happy to see that the students shared their thoughts during the discussion and they also gave me many ideas for our future petitions.
I had a great time, not only during my presentation but also after it, when I joined the group and explored Bucharest together, visiting the House of the People and other important places .
I hope I will be invited next year as well!
Congratulations to all the organizers, especially to Marie France Perdigon and to Laura Negura Spătaru!
On the 20th of April 2018 I was invited as a speaker at the Nicolae Titulescu annual student conference: Constant.
Constant is an international event (http://constant.univnt.ro/constant_2018.html) organized by Nicolae Titulescu University, Miskolc University (Hungary) and Angel Kanchev University (Bulgaria), in partnership with the Nicolae Titulescu International Law and International Relations Foundation, the Nicolae Titulescu Students’ Association (ASUNT) and the Bucharest University Publishing House Nicolae Titulescu.
This conference represents an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to develop and present studies in interdisciplinary fields such as legal sciences, economics and social and administrative sciences.
I was invited to this international conference by the rector of Nicolae Titulescu University, where I am currently enrolled on a phd program. I am doing my phd in International Public Law and my thesis is analysing The Role of International NGOs in tackling the Current Refugee Crisis.
My lecture was on “Non Governmental Organizations’ Role in Raising Awareness on the Refugee Issue.” During this presentation I introduced Issues Without Borders to the audience, talking a bit about the platform and about our team, continuing with a description of IWB for Refugees, our current project meant to propose changes to the current EU legislation on asylum.
Because the presentation was focused on how to raise awareness on the refugee issue I described some of the activities conducted by our NGO. Issues Without Borders was present at the international conference on migration organized by the European Parliament; our members were also speakers at various international conferences on migration and we also organized an international human rights conference in Timisoara (Romania) called Let‘s Talk about Refugees.
After describing these activities I presented Refuge D‘Amour, a short clip that weco-produced together with 4everfilms productions. It it a short film about a Syrian woman who obtained refugee status in Paris, and is meant to depict a different side of the refugee crisis.
The program was well-organized, the students were engaged in all the discussions and they asked many questions.
Congratulations to the organizers, I had a great experience. Thank you for inviting me.
Together with 4everfilmsproductions (Oana Merdariu – president & Daniel Pop – artistic director) we organized a conference on refugee integration at Unirea High School in Targu Mures, Romania. Unirea High School is our former high school.
There were around 120 participants at this conference, between the age of 16 and 18 years old, all students at this high school, as well as some of our former high school teachers, the principal and other teachers who found out about this event and wanted to attend.
We were offered the opportunity to present our short film Refuge D’Amour, a short film meant to depict a different side of the refugee crisis. This short film was filmed in Paris and it presents the story of a Syrian woman called Waed who lives there as a refugee. In this short film we are presenting the idea of freedom, of being home sick, of being in love. It is a story meant to sensitize people and show a different face of the refugee issue.
After presenting the short film we discussed it with the students present. We wanted to know their opinion about the short film; what freedom means for them. We also wanted to know what they think about the media’s role in presenting refugee stories and their integration. Furthermore, we talked about ways of producing short films related to this topic. They were very engaged in this discussion and shared some of their personal experiences with us.
We also presented a trailer about our first international human rights conference; a conference that we organized on the 10/11th November 2017 in Timisoara, Romania. This promotional short film presents moments from our conference, from our presentations and also explains some of our future plans which are all related to our current project IWB for Refugees. IWB for Refugees is a project aimed at mapping a new European legislation on migration through national and international petitions where we will offer our recommendations for the member states of the European Union
Sharing our future projects with the students was a good opportunity to get to know them better, hearing their thoughts on these topics and stimulating their curiosity.
We also spoke about our idea of creating a cultural youth centre in Targu Mures, a centre aimed at organizing various events, from theater shows to dance lessons, concerts, art expositions, etc.
After our presentations we had a Q&A session with the participants where we asked them several questions; if they had ever volunteered, if they would volunteer for an NGO and about the importance of volunteering.
We were very surprised to see that most of them had volunteering experience, they were volunteering for different NGOs/student unions; they were also curious about our projects, about the youth centre and they wanted to know more about refugee integration and how we can better integrate refugees in our society.
We were very happy to be back in our former high school; it brought back a lot of good memories. All in all it was a lovely experience and we will go back for more interactive sessions where we can raise awareness and discuss about important topics!
Thank you to Unirea High School for believing in us, we were honored to be there!
On the 1st of August 2017 I’ve attended as a speaker the international summer school Romania/Bulgaria organized by CIFE, programme focused on migration and refugee rights across Europe, taught in French. CIFE is a private institution of higher education and research, founded in 1954 with its head office in Nice and branch offices in Berlin, Brussels and Istanbul.
I was invited at this summer school by Laura Spataru-Negura, one of the founding members of Issues Without Borders, who is teaching at Nicolae Titulescu University (the university where I am currently enrolled in a PHD programme). Nicolae Titulescu University is one of the organizing partners of the summer school, besides CIFE, and the European Law Institute of Sofia.
Due to this partnership, the summer school took place in several locations: July 31 – August 1st in Bucharest (Romania), August 1st – 3rd in Slobozia (Romania) and August 3rd – 6th in Silistra (Bulgaria). The programme gathered students from different countries, such as Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Turkey, and it was held in French. The participants had the chance to discover all the cities where they attended lectures, discover the culture of the area and exchange ideas thus creating lasting memories.
The programme included interesting lectures among which I mention (in a chronological order): “The inviolability of human rights in migration. Different types of rights in favour of migrants” (held by Laura Spataru-Negura, University of Nicolae Titulescu), “The contribution of civil aviation in the migration process and the protection of the right to life” (held by Sorana Paun-Pop, Politehnica University), “The Route to the Balkans. Geographic aspects concerning the history of migrants in the Balkans” (held by professor Michael Hermans, HEC Liege in Belgium), “Migrations, law and barriers: two-speed Europe or two-truths Europe?” (held by professor Atanas Semov, University of Sofia, Director of the European Law Institute of Sofia), “Human Rights in Europe” (held by professor Evgeni Tanchev, University of Sofia, Attorney General at the European Union’s Court of Justice).
My lecture’s topic was on “Debates on migration management. The role of NGOs”. Because I wanted my presentation to be more interesting for students, I’ve presented my experience at Brussels in the European Parliament, where I’ve attended a conference on migration management as the president of the NGO Issues Without Borders.
In addition to the Power Point presentation I also initiated a debate with the students, a long Q&A session and I was very happy to see a lot of positive feedback.
The programme was very well-organized, I was given the opportunity to attend a lovely dinner at Caru’ cu Bere in Bucharest (the most iconic restaurant in Bucharest, in my opinion), one evening before my lecture.
I must confess that I felt very good in this program and that I will attend it next year for sure, if I will be invite it. I highly recommend it!
Congratulations to all the organizers, especially to Marie France Perdigon (director of CIFE’s summer programmes – http://www.cife.eu/en/4/summer-university-programmes_6-1) and to Laura – thank you for inviting me!
On the 22nd of June I attended the Good Lobby Inaugural Event & The Launch of the EU Pro Bono Awards on behalf of Issues Without Borders.
This event brought together EU officials, lawyers and other professionals, civil society actors and academics to publicly build a case for pro bono in Europe. On this occasion, The Good Lobby and its partners also officially launch the EU Pro Bono Awards to acknowledge and celebrate the most successful instances of pro bono co-operation between citizen experts and civil society organizations carried out within the past twelve months at the EU level.
The speakers included: Emily O’ Reilly (European Ombudsman); Alberto Alemanno (Founder of The Good LobbyJean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris, Director of the EU Public Interest Clinic, New York University School of Law ); Lamin Khadar (Co-founder of The Good Lobby, Pro Bono Associate, DLA Piper Amsterdam); Tony Venables ( Founder, European Citizens’ Rights, Involvement and Trust (ECIT) Foundation, Director of Maison des Associations Internationales (MAI); Onno Brouwer( Partner, Freshfields Amsterdam); Philip Buisseret (Secretary General, CCBE); Helen Darbishire (Vice-President and Executive Director, Access Info Europe) ; Ed Rekosh (Founder of The Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet), Director of Human Rights Initiative, Visiting Professor of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law); Michael Diedring Director (European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) Maria Orejas-Chantelot (Policy and Programmes Director at European Foundation Centre (EFC).
Furthemore The EU Pro Bono Awards have recently received the High Patronage from the European Parliament.
The programme of the event was the following: after the registration of the participants there was a key note speech and Q&A section by Emilie O`Reilly (EU Ombudsman). It continued with a presentation of a survey: „ What do EU NGOs Need and Expect”?, a roundtable „ A need for pro bono at the EU level”, a presentation of the Good Lobby and Q&A, a launch of the EU Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, concluding remarks, lastly a reception at the place of conference, where participants were encouraged to network. The event ended in a very constructive way and the participants were already very excited to attend the „proper training” which took place the following day on the 23rd of June.
The following day , the 23rd of June was a busy day for us participants because we attended many trainings and workshops.
The first section was section intitled „ Make your voice heard” , where Alberto Alemano gave us some suggestions in how to state our case to EU policy makers.
The second section was called :” The Good Lobby Tool Box” which included the following presentations : the first tool box„ How to make a FOIA request”( Helen Darbishire-Acces InfoEurope &Onno Brouwer-Freshfields Amsterdam); the second tool boox „How to lauch a Citizens Initiative” (Carsten Berg-Citizens Initiative); and the third tool box „How to submit a complain at the EU Ombudsman” (Fergal O`Regan-EU Ombudsman Office)
The third section of the conference was called „How to spread the word” and this involved a workshop „How to set up a digital campaign in the EU and case studies”, training performed by Riparte il Futuro, We move and Old Co (Priscilla, Virginia, Federico, Gaulthier).
The fourt and last section was intitled: „The Good Lobby Pro Bono Simulation” and this involved a Role Play : „How NGOs and Law Firms Can Work Together”. Based on a hypothetical scenario, participants (in small groups) were supposed to simulate a request for pro bono assistance, it`s processing by a law firm and the delivery.
Lastly there was a farewell and concluding remarks.
My favourite parts of the conference were the presentations made by Karsten on the Citizens Initiative since Issues Without Borders is also planning to launch in the future a Citizens Initiative in order to map a new EU legislation on migration and the last part, the role play because the role play gave us participants the opportunity to think outside the box, prepare and deliver a presentation under time pressure and we also received valuable feedack after this.
All in all I would like to thank the Good Lobby platform and particularly Alberto Alemanno, who also offered us a copy of his book „Lobby for Change” , a book I highly recommend.
This conference offered me valuable information and I am even more enthusiastic about the work performed by Issues Without Borders is terms of the refugee crisis and it`s future work because this is just the beggining.
On the 21st of June I attended together with Elena Schigirev (also a member of Issues Without Borders) the “High Level Conference on Migration Management” organized by the EU Parliament.
The conference was aimed at finding solutions to the migration crisis and deliver on the expectations of EU citizens.
The participants at the conference were: political leaders, policymakers, stakeholders and practitioners.
The speakers included important figures such as : Antonio Tajani (President of the European Parliament); Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission); Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission); Dario Scannapieco (Vice-president of the European Investment Bank); Markku Markkula (President of the European Committee of the Regions); Dimitris Avramopoulos (European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship); Julian King (European Commissioner for Security Union); Johannes Hahn (European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations); Louise Arbour (United Nations Special Representative for International Migration); William Lacy Swing ( Director General of the International Organisation for Migration).
The discussions were around strengthening the EU`s internal security, discussing on the root causes of migration and ensuring a stable social and economic environment in non-EU countries as well.
The conference was divided in the following way:
There was first an introduction section, furthermore there were two round tables at the same time, the participants could choose the one that they wanted to attend:
The first round table was on “Managing asylum and migration” , with included presentations related to: “Better sharing responsibility for asylum seekers, accelerating asylum procedure”; Addressing legal migration gaps; Promoting integration; Addressing irregular migration; Implementing return decisions; „Ensuring coherence with the Union’s human rights policy”.
The second round table which took place in parallel was on “Promoting stability and prosperity in third countries” which included presentations related to : “Fostering economic and cultural diplomacy to ensure prosperity, tackling root causes”; „Addressing humanitarian needs”; „Helping partners prevent or manage crises on their own”; „Enhancing third countries’ capacity building in border management and asylum”; „Ensuring coherence with the Union’s human rights policy; Ensuring democratic scrutiny of international cooperation tools”.
I chose to attend the first round table because it was more related to the work Issues Without Borders is conducting now, while Elena attended the second one because it is more related to her job. This was anyway a wise decision since we spent time after the conference and shared our thoughts from both rounds tables.
The conference continued with another round table “Strengthening the EU internal security” and lastly there was a closing session with the leaders of the political groups.
Even though there were many interesting and viable solutions raised, they have no binding force. So there are some solutions to the problem but without a political will, without consensus change is very hard to implement.
Even so, I was very happy to attend this conference, because I heard many important figures discuss about a topic that I am highly interesting in, I got the chance to exchange ideas with some of the NGOs that were given the opportunity to offer their opinion at the conference and I spend a great day in the European Parliament, an amazing building, with an amazing history.
Hopefully if next year there will be another conference on migration management Issues Without Borders will also be given the opportunity to make it`s voice heard and offer it`s expertise on this topic.
On the 12th of June I attended a conference organized by VU University in Amsterdam called “Punishing International Crimes in Domestic Courts: Sentencing, Incarceration and Reintegration”.
I was invited to this conference by Adina Loredana Nistor, vice president of Issues Without Borders and a very close friend of mine.Adina graduated with a masters in Criminology at VU University and is still highly involved in many activities related to this great University.
The event that we attended was organized, as I previously said by VU University, together with the Center for International Criminal Justice, NSCR and NWO.
The moderators of the conference were Barbora Hola and Joris van Wijk, both professors at VU University.
The conference was divided into 4 panels followed by a final discussion and drinks.
The 4 panels were the following:
-panel 1: “Theoretical Considerations “, where papers like the following were presented: “Penalty in criminal law on war crimes” ( Chair for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, University of Turin, Italy, Gianluca Ruggiero).
-panel 2: “Former Yugoslavia”, where papers like the following were presented: “Domestic Trials for International Crimes- Challenge of Prosecuting and Sentencing Perpetrators of War Crimes in Croatia” ( Maja Munivrana Vajda).
-panel 3: “Latin America and Europe”, with papers such as: “Sentencing factors in cases against the most responsible for acts constitutive of international crimes: The Peruvian experience” (Post Doctoral Research Fellow, PluriCourts, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo).
-panel 4: “Africa and Europe”, with papers such as: “Punishing the Core Crimes in Ethiopia: A comparative analysis of purposes and factors in Sentencing” (PHD Candidate International Criminal Law, University of Groningen).
The conference was very interesting especially because all the topics were challenging, the authors raised a variety of issues, offered their suggestions and encouraged the participants to be active.
I highly appreciated the Q&A section because it led to a lot of brainstorming, many questions generated other questions, so I left the conference even more curious to discover more on this topics, which I think is great.
I thank you Adina and VU University for giving me the chance to expand my knowledge on International Criminal Law and to meet so many qualified professionals from across the globe, who were so happy to share their expertise with us, both in the formal setting during the conference as well as in the informal setting, at the post-conference drinks.
I have just returned from the 11th International Conference “Challenges of the Knowledge Society,” which took place between 12th -13th May 2017 in Bucharest
The event was organized by the Nicolae Titulescu University, along with the Foundation for Law and International Relations Nicolae Titulescu, the Complutense University from Madrid and the Dueto University from Bilbao.
The main organizers were lecturer PHD Andreea Stroe and professor PHD Mircea Damaschin.
Several reputed professors and specialists took part in this conference, among which: Augustin Fuerea PHD Professor in EU Law, Bogdan Micu, Associate Professor in Criminal Procedure and Dean of the Nicolae Titulescu Law Faculty, Viorel Ros PHD Professor in Intelectual Property Rights/ former president at the International Commercial Arbitration Court (Romania) and others.
The conference started with a plenary session where our rector Gabriel Boroi held the opening speech, which was followed by three lectures:
-The first one was “New trends in business models in the EU” lecture held by Marta Enciso Santocildes, Associate Professor PHD, University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain
-The second one was “Fighting Crime in the Knowledge Society” , lecture held by Pinar Mermis Kartal, Associate Professor, PHD, Galatasaray Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey.
-The third one was “Human being trafficking in the European Court of Human Rights-case law”, lecture held by Laura-Spataru Negura, Assistant Professor, PHD, Nicolae Titulescu University, Bucharest, Romania and one of the founding members of Issues Without Borders. Laura`s presentation was highly appreciated by the auditorium. I would like to emphasize the fact that among the renowned specialists present in the amphitheater there was also Laura`s PHD coordinator professor Nicolae Popa who is the former president of the Romanian Supreme Court of Justice and of the Romanian Constitutional Court and professor Corneliu Barsan, the former Romanian judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
After the plenary sessions there were five panel session divided in the following way: Juridical Sciences, Economic Sciences, Administrative and Political Sciences and IT in Social Sciences.
I participated in the Juridical Sciences panel, in the International Public Law subsection, with my paper “UNHCR and Non- Governmental Organizations Role and their joint efforts in tackling the European refugee crisis from its inception until present times”. I am currently a PHD candidate at Nicolae Titulescu University, my PHD coordinator being Mrs. Raluca Miga Besteliu. I am very happy that I was given an opportunity to be a PHD candidate and have professor Raluca Miga Besteliu as a coordinator, she is helping me a lot to shape my PHD thesis which analyses the role of UNHCR/ IOM/ International NGOs in tackling the refugee crisis as well as a a case study: our work in Issues Without Borders and our plan to map a new EU legislation on migration.
After the panel discussions we had a lunch break where we continued to debate on several specific academic problems , a very nice walk in the Old town of Bucharest, and a Romanian traditional dinner at the beautiful restaurant Caru` cu Bere, dinner attended also by our pro rector Mister Mircea Damaschin, professor in Criminal Procedure, one of the conference`s organizers.
The following day, on Saturday, the 13th of May, there was a closing ceremony at Nicolae Titulescu University, a Bucharest city tour, and a lunch at Hanu` lui Manuc another well-known Romanian traditional restaurant.
Laura and I had a great time at the conference, we got the chance to present our papers, meet other foreign and Romanian participants and exchange great ideas with them not to mention the fact that we also enjoyed showing them Bucharest, presenting them the city, parts of our history, and presenting them Romanian traditional food .
It was a great experience and we are already looking forward for the next edition of the “Challenges of the Knowledge Society” conference next year.
If you are also interested in attending this conference, please write me in order to put you in contact with the organizers.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have just returned to Romania after a few days in Rome, Italy, where I was invited to share my experience on human rights law and European Union law in a summer/autumn programme organized by CIFE (for those who do not know about CIFE or CIFE’s summer programmes, please see http://www.cife.eu/fr/4/programme-universitaire-d-ete_6-1) in collaboration with Università La Sapienza and Centro Italiano di Formazione Europea.
The programme organized in Rome (September 25, 2016 – October 1, 2016) had as topic Migrants in Europe: Borders, Human Rights and International Security, and it was really cross-cultural (reuniting students from Austria, Bresil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo/Albania, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and lecturers from Italy, Estonia and Romania – actually my colleague Hamed has an incredible life story and is difficult to come under just one country – from Iran, settled in Estonia, working in Norway).
My presentations have addressed the issue of human trafficking as a new modern form of slavery (where I have tackled the irregular migration issue) and EU’s commitments to solve it.
At the end of the programme, we have organized a role-play by dividing the students in four teams (migrants, activists, opposers and Italian authorities). I must confess that the role-play was great, the students have impressed me with their capacity of using the information received and getting into the skin of characters (I have to underline that some of them were actually graduate, with experience in human rights). I am so sorry they did not agree to record it – it would have been a great tool for other students (I attach however a few photos in order to have an idea – I hope my students and colleagues will not mind).
Additionally, I have told them a few things about Issues Without Borders platform (who was created from the passion for human rights law) and showed them a video about it. The students were very interested in learning more and I really hope we will collaborate in the future.
As for the organizing team, I have to admit that I know Marie-France Perdigon, who is the manager of the summer university programme, for many years and our collaboration has always been great. I have also really loved our Italian host, Cristina Giudici, who is professor at the Unesco Chair in Population, Migrations and Development at Università La Sapienza in Rome and the President of Centro Italiano di Formazzione Europea.
After the summer programme, Marie France and Cristina have organized an alumni meeting that was great, giving us the alumni the possibility to reconect and to socialize (I am also an alumni of CIFE after attending different summer programmes – this was the manner I have discovered the CIFE). At this alumni meeting, I was invited to be part of a debate panel about BREXIT.
Marie France’s proffesionalism and thoroughness, the high level of the students and lecturers, as well as the partners and locations chosen, are arguments that make me each year to follow CIFE’s path and to deliver lectures in different parts of the world. I really hope that next year I will be invited again (in another summer programme or again in Rome, especially that I made a wish at the Trevi Fountain… and I have to get back to Rome again)!
Congratulations CIFE for doing such a spectacular work with your summer programmes! You should be really proud of your ambassadors!