The overall objective of the project ’Home Away From Home: best practices in the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in European societies’ is to contribute to the better inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Europe through promoting innovative youth actions and empowering young volunteers and professionals.
The specific project objectives are as follows:
- to document and disseminate best practices of innovative community integration approaches initiated by youth or in which youth play a major role;
- to raise the capacities of young volunteers and professionals for supporting the inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.
- The Centre for Peace in Osijek, Croatia has been an active contributor to post-war peacebuilding and has an extensive experience in community building involving peace teams, composed of mainly youth.
- forumZFD supports local communities throughout Germany in their efforts to integrate refugees and to mitigate tense situations. forumZFD helps to tackle conflicts and organises participatory processes including the community, the local population, institutions such as the police, and others.
- The World of NGOs is a Vienna based organisation that works with local communities in Austria on facilitating integration
- The University of Westminster, in the heart of London, is itself one of the most diverse universities, with students from six continents and over 150 nations, many with refugee, asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds.
- Tumult from Belgium is a youth-led organisation working directly with refugees and migrants, with a large networks of volunteers. Tumult is an organisation with over 50 years of experience creating and facilitating peacebuilding and nonviolence training programs for youth.
The research in this project is led by Professor Terry Lamb from the University of Westminster, with contributions from Dr Julio Gimenez and Alexantra Georgiou.
The project is taking place within a context of increasing levels of migration (sometimes into areas which have a long experience of migration, sometimes into areas where migration is a new phenomenon). Given the well-documented increase in negative sentiments towards immigration, there is a need to facilitate the inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. This involves the successful co-existence of two or more cultures within one society (rather than the ‘melting pot’ metaphor, which tends to be synonymous with assimilation), which is the definition of ‘integration’ as depicted in the project application.
However, our research needs to interrogate some of the language we use (made more complex by the fact that we use different languages in our different contexts) and some of the concepts. For example, what does ‘migration’ mean and who is it referring to, given that many groups from different backgrounds haven’t been ‘migrating’ for generations?
The project ‘Home Away From Home’ focuses on the interrelationships between research and practice by producing a rich, more action-oriented and experienced set of outcomes in relation to both practice and research, through the co-production of knowledge between academics and practitioners and through interdisciplinarity.
The following four main research questions have been developed to address the main aim of the research, namely: 'To contribute to the better integration of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Europe through promoting innovative youth actions and empowering young volunteers and professionals'.
- Which practices in community integration interventions (youth-led, where youth has an important role, community-based/embedded, including refugees as well as local communities, working on social and cultural levels) can we identify and in which ways are they successful/innovative within each context?
- How can we engage more young people themselves in facilitating the inclusion of their communities?
- How might the results of this research and practice improve existing integration projects and approaches and lay a solid foundation for new ones?
- How might our project help to create the base for and contribute to a cross national integration policy in Europe?