World Refugee Day 20.6.2018

World Refugee Day 20.6.2018

An old Italian beautiful song: “walker looking for the peace at the sunset, you will find it at the end of the road”. In this particular time in, which one part of the humanity is escaping from war and misery, and the second part is erecting more and more high fences against the first ones, I ask myself: do the walkers, mentioned in the song, really want to be walkers and flee away from their countries? How we, as human beings and inhabitants of this planet, have the duty to be peacemakers in our daily life and be actively involved in the building process of a better life condition for everybody.

The 20th of June we celebrated the World Refugee Day, StepEurope was a co-organizer of a beautiful and participated event together with We see you and the Siirtolaisuus Instituutti. The program was rich and interesting: many different actors took part in sharing their knowledge and experiences.

After the opening words from the Director of the Institute of Migration, Ahmad Hosseini and Ali Reza Heidari from Afghanistan told, in an impressive Finnish (at least for me!), their experience in Finland and Weseeyou campaign. They both are refugees and activists and are showing their commitment and passion to produce an impact in the Finnish policies concerning the asylum seeking process. It is admirable to see how these two men, after passing through the difficulties of seeking the asylum, now look behind towards whom is still waiting in the fear of a rejection, and put their efforts to make a change.

The floor was next given to Pasi Saukkonen, the most important Finnish research in term of immigration and integration. In his speech he showed us the integration process of migrants and refugees from a scientific point of view, pointing out and confuting the cliches that politicians and ordinary people might have in light of datas and deep researches.

The program continued with our panel discussion: “Enriching Integration”. Ronja Kankare, Ahmed Zaidan, Bahaulddin Rawi and Abolfazl Ibrahimi were the panelists that put into the table their opinions and daily life experiences in order to looking at the integration in a new and positive way: enriching it. We focused on the point of looking at the positive side and actions that both newcomers and locals should practice for making our society more fair and better. Of course there are difficulties and discrimination but also the experience of hospitality, opened doors, opportunities and the attitude of “keeping it positive”. These are a wonderful proof that we are moving on the right path, the ones that could enrich the present and build the future integration.

Our project coordinator presented StepEurope as a way, in Turku, to offer both to foreigners and locals a possibility of a sincere and spontaneous meeting among different people, and a platform for being active citizens and leaving our own prints in this society.  

The event ended downstair with the last chance of watching the excellent and touching photo exhibition “Mosul: story of hope”, and the recitation of Ahmed Zaidan’s poem, “Poet who survived”.

There is a say: “if you were born luckier than other, it is better to build a long table than higher fences”. We are living on the lucky side of our contemporary history, our duty is to make this earth a better place where everybody have the right to live: each of us is called to play its role and to build a longer table, according to his/her possibilities.

It was important for me being there, personally and as part of StepEurope: listening and supporting those people who are the walkers of the song, to whom I wish peace and hope of feeling at home, even after such a long and perilous journey.