On 19 November the University of Groningen, University of Kent and the British Council organised a Brussels expert meeting called ‘Addressing the Asylum Crisis: Religious Contributions to Rethinking Global Protection’. The event was hosted by Dennis de Jong (MEP) at the European Parliament. He received the policy paper (pdf) with a great deal of interest and enthusiasm. And even more important, he wants to bring the recommendations made in the paper on the issue one step further. The recommendations will be involved in an official policy letter addressed to the EU European Asylum Support Office.
Dr. Erin Wilson (University of Groningen) and Dr. Luca Mavelli (University of Kent) moderated the lively debate and brought the topic right to the core. The Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain together with Sustainable Society (both University of Groningen) were the key organisers of the event.
Important input for the discussion was the policy paper which included 19 policy recommendations how to address the asylum crisis from a policy perspective. This paper outlines insights and recommendations from both US and European experts on issues concerning the asylum crisis. This briefing paper is a distillation of the main points and recommendations that arose during two two-day workshops held in Washington DC in May 2014 and Brussels in June 2014. The workshops, funded by the British Council USA Bridging Voices program, assembled scholars, policymakers and practitioners focused on issues of asylum, refuge and protection in contemporary global politics and the current and potential future roles of faith and faith actors across the US and Europe.
The policy paper recommended that politicians, policymakers, journalists, scholars and practitioners should encourage responsible, balanced discussion of issues of migration and asylum by setting the example. “ Religion and spirituality should be considered as aspects of human experience that also require protection in every response to mass forced displacement and incorporated in the global protection regime”, as was stated in the policy paper recommendations.
A high level group of panelists responded to the policy paper with short presentations and statements. The current state of asylum issues as well as both present and potential future roles of faith-based actors and religious worldviews were key elements in the expert meeting.
Overall, it was an inspiring event which gave a very clear insight in the challenges and possible solutions concerning the asylum crisis. A great example of how Social Sciences and Humanities can create policy impact on European level. On 4 February 2015 another Brussels event will take place concerning the promotion and protection of freedom of religion, with keynote speaker Prof Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (Northwestern University, USA).
For more information on the current and future events, please contact
Full text policy paper: Faith and the Asylum Crisis. The role of religion in responding to displacement
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