Director of the Center: Francesco Aureli, President at OIS (International Observatory on Health) and former Senior Advisor at WHO (World Health Organization) and at the Italian Prime Minister G7 Office on Migration and Health
The OBS Center for Migration, has been established in December 2017 with the aim to act as a hub able to foster dialogue and to create connections among practitioners (associations, NGOs, social enterprises etc.), civil society, local, national and European politicians, academics and researchers.
The creation of the OBS Center for Migration originates from the need to formalize the initiatives on the topic that Ortygia Business School has been supporting ever since its foundation. From 2016 onwards, OBS organized and hosted 2 big conferences in collaboration with the Institution of Global Affairs of the London School of Economics (LSE IGA) and the Alliance of Leading Universities of Migration (ALUM network) of which OBS is associate member, as well as participated in other local and non-local initiatives on the theme.
In October 2017 OBS won a prestigious European Union Grant (Jean Monnet Project) to implement initiatives on the Migration topic during the next two years. The project we developed is called “Overturn Stories: How Europe can create good practices of migrants’ inclusion” and with this project, we want to contribute in increasing the knowledge of European citizens, and Sicilians, on issues that plague the African countries where the most part of immigrants come from; on issues concerning the Libyan situation (government, military forces, social tensions, etc.). Project mission is to promote learning as a strategy – a tool - to lower the level of distrust, to compare best practices and positive experiences, to deal together, local communities and politicians, matters connected to migrants ‘inclusion, to search and find new original effective solutions, to understand migrants’ needs in terms of cultural divergences, professionality, skills, education, healthcare. During the project, representatives from the European Parliament and Commission, and from other executive agencies will be invited to come to Sicily and debate with academics, politicians and civil society.
During this conference, ALUM members presented and deliberated the critical role that universities can play in the current refugee crisis in Lebanon, and how they can ameliorate the situation of refugees by providing realistic ideas and policy proposals to the multiple challenges refugees face in their current predicament. We focused on the implications of the ongoing challenging political context related to the current migration/displacement of so many people, and how the current public perception has been evolving over the years. We also focused on the various health challenges facing refugees, including nutrition and basic healthcare provision. A crucial point we discussed was education, and the challenges refugees faced in accessing primary, secondary and tertiary education. Lastly, we explored the role the private sector can play in job creation for those that are displaced. During the second day of the conference academics drafted the Beirut Declaration, click here to read the document.
Ortygia Business School took part in the Festival of Mediterranean Culture. The Festival Sabir, organized by ARCI, ACLI and Caritas Italy, came to its third edition in 2017 in Siracusa, after those held in Lampedusa (October 2014) and Pozzallo (May 2016) and focused this year on two main themes: on one hand, the relationship – often instrumental and contradictory – between international cooperation and immigration in countries of origin and transit, and on the other hand, the issue of unaccompanied foreign minors, particularly crucial given both the extraordinary number of arrivals recorded over the past year in Italy and the considerable presence of unaccompanied foreign minors in the reception facilities in the city and the province of Siracusa. We participated in the event “The dangerous correlation between immigration, international development and trade in the relationship with migrants’ countries of origin and transit” with the intervention of Gibril Faal, director of the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform and of GK Partners.
Following the successful first conference of the migration series, Ortygia Business School, in collaboration with Università di Messina, and the Alliance of Lead Universities on Migration (ALUM) of which OBS and UniMessina are associate members, hosted a second conference on the theme. Migration continues to be high on the agenda of global policy makers. Italy’s G7 Presidency, along with Canada that will take over from Italy later this year, work has started on key issues of “Human Mobility,” building on the UN Compact agreed in September 2016. The Italian G7 Sherpa has invited the ALUM to provide a note (“non-paper”) with research-informed specific policy recommendations for the G7 Sherpas’ attention ahead of the G7 Taormina Summit on May 26-27 2017.
Building on the success of ALUM’s research conference in Siracusa in April 2016, the Mannheim workshop offered a format appealing to both migration researchers and practitioners. It drew on recent research insights and sought to build bridges between academia and migration experts from the public sector and civil society organisations. The workshop also explored possibilities for extending the ALUM network and initiating joint projects.
The inaugural conference, entitled, “Managing Migration: Solutions beyond the Nation State” was held on the 18th and 19th of April, 2016 and brought together politicians, academics and practitioners, with the aim of studying and developing concrete responses to the migration challenges currently facing Europe.