– Migration and Asylum

The International Youth Meeting Centre in Oświęcim/ Auschwitz and the International Forum Burg Liebenzell are glad to invite students from Germany, Poland and Ukraine to the trilateral educational project. While last year’s fall session in Oświęcim/ Auschwitz focused on the issue of migration and asylum in a predominantly historical perspective, the spring session to be held at the International Forum Burg Liebenzell will concentrate on current developments, challenges and approaches to deal with an increased number of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, especially in Germany.

2.03.-6.03.2016, Bad Liebenzell, Germany
IYMC Oświęcim, Internationales Forum Burg Liebenzell
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Migration and Asylum


What is the real situation of refugees in Europe and Germany now? How does a refugee living accommodation look like? How are asylum cases decided in court? The German, Polish and Ukrainian participants of the second part of the student project “Learning from History: Migration and Asylum” have received answers to these and many other questions during their stay March, 2nd-6th, at the International Forum Burg Liebenzell, Germany

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The beginning of the seminar was the time to break the ice and create friendly atmosphere in the group. The participants had much fun playing games and talking about their interests, sharing their fears and expectations of the seminar as well as discussing the programme and adjusting it to the needs of the group.

The second day started with an extensive presentation of the German refugee policy as well as the general situation in numbers, correlations and examples of social reactions. It served as a starting point for the whole programme and helped to clarify some basic notions before launching into discussions. The afternoon was spent in the town of Bad Liebenzell. First, the group visited the refugee living accommodation in Bad Liebenzell, where they could ask questions, talk to the people living there and see the living facility from the inside. I have been to a refugee facility for the first time in my life, and I think it is important to see it with your own eyes and talk to the people living there – commented the participants later. After a short walk around the city the group met a refugee from Afghanistan, Edris T., who lives in Germany since 2010 and tries to build his life here anew. The young people were very touched by the emotional story of Edris’s losing the track of his family on the way to Germany and being unable to find them since then. We all do hope he will find them to be safe and sound!

The third day was spent in Stuttgart. The students had a unique opportunity to be present at a trial in court. The case decided upon concerned deporting a Roma family from Germany back to Kosovo. During the hearings the participants learned much about the legal reasons for granting asylum or the permission to stay in Germany. It was great to talk to the judge and hear him commenting the case. He seemed so official and distant during the trial, as a judge should be, but then he showed also his human side and presented his view of the situation – noted the young people. The ensuing meeting with Katarina L., a volunteer working at a refugee living facility in Stuttgart, stressed the human side of the locals, who engage in helping to organize the daily life of refugees: childcare, support in contact with the authorities, language courses for those waiting for the decision. As the participants underlined later, It is a really important piece of work they are doing there. The free time in Stuttgart was used to see museums, walk around the central part and taking photos.

The fourth day was the day to summarize the things seen and learned. The participants of the seminar worked in project groups to develop their vision of effective refugee policy in the future. They worked out the ways to improve the situation and used media resources to present their ideas. The ensuing commentaries and discussion helped to point out the strong and weak points of the strategies and check if the ideas were realistic. Although it was not easy for the participants to perform the job of a whole board of European politicians, experts and specialists, they did a great job and noted, that it was a nice way to process the whole lot of information. The summing up of the project showed, that the expectations of the participants were met. They learned a lot about the situation of refugees in Germany, mixed up in an international team, had fun and improved their knowledge of English. But most important, the young people have discovered new perspectives and inspiration for the future!.

The project was realized in cooperation of the International Youth Meeting Centre with the International Forum Burg Liebenzell and was financially supported by the German-Polish Youth Office.

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