Time to say Goodbye
By Toby Johnson
Co-ordinator of the MAX project
What have migrants ever done for us?
And so, after 3 hectic years, the MAX project comes to an end, and it is time to be at the same time proud and humble.
Let’s draw up a balance sheet.
On the credit side, we have conceived a project to promote integration and tolerance thanks to a switch in the narrative, thus addressing one of the most intractable social problems of our age – racism and xenophobia.
This is a geopolitical issue, and it is constantly growing in importance. We are aware that this is an intensely emotional issue. For most people, statistics and sociology go in one ear and out of the other. Therefore, we have brought emotional tools to bear – stories on individual migrants and encounters between migrants and European natives all with an eye toward changing the narrative.
- We aimed to bridge the gap at a personal level.
- We brought together a transnational partnership to see how we could redefine the public debate on the role of migrants in Europe
- We defined a set of positive messages to put over the reality of what migrants do for Europe
- We showcased how successful migrants can be
- We identified and promoted good practices in integrating migrants
- We compiled a set of recommendations for better policy and brought politicians together to discuss them
- We held 15 local events and one European one to bring local people and migrants together to build dialogue and celebrate cultural diversity
- We held a film festival that attracted over 450 entries
- We trained 150 journalists in how to look at the plusses as well as the minuses
- We gave migrants a voice
And we did all this in the middle of a COVID lockdown.
Here then is a final public thank you to all the 20 MAX partners, all the participants to all our events, all of you who have contributed in person, read our recommendations and even maybe acted on them, and of course our funders, DG HOME.
Whatever, this little project has only scratched the surface of a global problem in a globalised world. We have at least made a modest contribution towards a new way of discussing migration, and we have opened up a dialogue in 15 places across Europe. It’s goodbye for now. But we will be glad to be part of continued efforts in this area.
Until we are active again:
- Keep demolishing the anti-migrant myths
- Talk about what really counts – the immense contributions migrants make to our society
- Keep up the political pressure
- Watch this space!