On the 27th September, IARS will be hosting an International Roundtable Event to discuss the challenges and opportunities that confront societies seeking to improve the labour market integration of migrants and refugees, with a particular focus on the UK. This event provides a platform from which to discuss this pressing public policy issue from a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and theoretical angles. We shall be hearing from academics, authors, activists, mental-health workers, journalists, refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers. In line with the overall mission and ethos of IARS, this event aims to empower marginalised groups by increasing their participation in projects, research, evaluation, and dissemination.

This event will be chaired by Wendy Smith, a trustee at IARS, and Abdulwahab Tahhan, a Syrian refugee and journalist. The event will be introduced by Dr Simon Aulton, Deputy Director here at IARS.

Our Keynote Speakers offer their take on the broader contexts in which later discussions can usefully be situated:

Amanuel Woldesus, coming from a refugee background himself, has over 20 years’ experience of supporting migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. He currently works for the Migrants Resource Centre, a well-established migrant-led organisation addressing a range of civic inequalities confronting migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers in London.

Don Flynn began working in the field of migration policy in the mid-1970s. He has both worked for, and founded, a number of highly reputable organisations working to improve the lives of migrants, like Migrants’ Rights Network, PICUM, and UKREN. A line of thought underpinning all of these organisations is that addressing inequalities confronting migrants requires strong social networks facilitating an open and inclusive dialogue within and across nations in the formulation of public policy.

Jill Rutter is presently Director of Strategy and Relationships at British Future, a think-tank that focuses on migration, integration, identity, social and economic opportunity. Most of her research and writing has focused on migration, and she is the author of over 100 books, articles and reports on this subject. Her latest book Moving Up and Getting On (Policy Press, 2015) critiques policy on integration and social cohesion in the UK.

Following these introductory presentations, Rosa Heimer, will present the Move On project, delivering findings from our user-led research and learnings from our Move On training for career counsellors.  After that, a panel will take place with several female refugee participants of our Gender and Justice Empowerment Project, they will share their views, their experience and journeys of integration in the UK labour market and educational system.

This series of talks will be followed by lunch, and an afternoon selection of interactive workshops from which participants will be able to choose:

Theodora Cadbury and Ioanna Kor, from Xenia, will be delivering a workshop on English-language learning in women-only spaces. Xenia brings migrant, refugee, asylum-seeking & British women together for workshops that encourage English language practice & fun, meaningful two-way social integration. Theo Cadbury founded Xenia in 2016 to tackle the isolation, xenophobia and sexism experienced by many migrant women.

Dr. Pentaris, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Social Work, and Counselling at the University of Greenwich, will be exploring the concept of microaggression, and how it relates to migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers looking for employment.

Aloysius Ssali, Founder of Say It Loud Club Community Support Group, will be delivering a workshop entitled, ‘Working with LGBT Refugees, A Shared Experience’. Say It Loud has campaigned against homophobia in Africa and has supported LGBT persons in London, offering support groups, workshops, and one-to-one casework. Here, Aloysius will discuss both the familiar and the unique in outlining the challenges and opportunities confronting the LGBT refugee and migrant communities accessing employment.  

Ruth Appleton and Sharif Muhammed will be presenting a workshop entitled ‘Current Challenges in Policy & Service Provision of Mental Health for Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in the UK’. Ruth is an expert in the field of mental health, founding the Santé Refugee Mental Health Access Project in Camden in 2005, and Sharif is an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan. 

This is a free event to all IARS Members, small charitable organisations (under 10 staff members), migrants and refugees. We can pay up to £7 towards travel costs for refugees and migrants on presentation of travel receipts at the Conference.

To access the full event agenda and register for this event click here: Further details about the day can be found here: http://www.iars.org.uk/content/move-roundtable-event-2017-integrating-mi...

This blog post has been written by Harry Draper, an IARS Intern assisting in the organisation of the Move On Event