The consultation of the Andragogic Association of Slovenia (Andragoško društvo Slovenije – ADS) on 13 February brought together individuals and institutions who work with migrants and refugees as part of their job, on a project basis, as activists or as volunteers. The aim of the event was to arrive at a more detailed definition of the problem, which would allow us to understand it better and perhaps provide the answer to the question of how can the educators contribute to a solution. The data of the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR) published in the document Global Trends – Forced Displacement in 2016 shows that this problem is still a pressing one.
The meeting began with a short poetic documentary Only Breathing by Ahmad Adelian, Agata Kochaniewicz and Nalav Chagar. This video interpretation of a poem by the Persian poet Rumi was filmed in the scope of the project Near you, which was implemented in 2017 by the DZMP Association, who offered training to immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, etc.
We used the VoxVote application, an online voting tool, to ensure interactivity, a touch of media/technology literacy and to collect the opinions of the participants. During the consultation we posed four questions and presented the responses in real time. To the first question: “How does the refugee experience touch your life?” the majority answered that the experience touched them professionally, only two participants were volunteers. When we asked them about their impressions associated with this problematic, we received very diverse answers: empathy, human, difference, uncomfortable, shame, shocking, sadness… The answers to the question: “Which demographic groups do you believe are the most prevalent among the refugees?” were more unanimous. The participants believe that most refugees are men, women with children, families or children. The majority of the participants believe that we need to first educate the local population as well as the refugees, the media, the politicians and the educators, and that this should be in the domain of adult education. And what were the participants’ feelings about the meeting? “Very interesting, educational, good choice of speakers…”
The consultation offered a comprehensive overview of theoretical and practical ways for handling this pressing problem. We as the EU, as a country, as a community and as individuals should be better prepared to face this challenge. With a coordinated effort of European and national interior and foreign policy we can be prepared for such surprises and handle them better than the always surprising first snow of the year, to make sure we have more tools at our disposal than the threats with human rights and the construction of technical barriers.
Darijan Novak (darijan.novak@SIAE.si), SIAE