This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Refugees Initiative

TandEM project (Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe)

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INSTITUTION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

European University Association (EUA)
and International Organization for Migration (IOM)

COUNTRY

Belgium

CITY

Brussels

Address

European University Association (EUA), Avenue de l’Yser, 24, 1040 Brussels

EUROPEAN PROJECT

TandEM is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and brings together the IOM, COREIS Italiana and EUA.

TYPOLOGY

- Help desk and supporting services for refugee students
- Non formal education activities for students
- Tutoring and peer support for refugee students
- University policies on access to higher education

TARGET GROUPS

- Newly arrived refugees
- Students

DESCRIPTION AND METHODOLOGIES

TandEM (Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe) is a regional project, funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union, and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the European University Association (EUA) and the Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS).

It aims to improve higher education integration of third country nationals (TCNs), and to contribute to making societies in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain more socially inclusive.

In this spirit, the project TandEM – Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe aims to build a bridge between migrant and local youth to promote dialogue, mutual understanding and cohesion in Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, Croatia and Cyprus.

The project is grounded in a network of universities, as the places of socialization and first integration for an increasing number of foreign students in Southern Europe, and the ideal places to design a youth-led response to discriminatory and toxic narratives on migration.

The project aims to encourage young Southern Europeans’ active participation in the integration of young migrants in their countries, while allowing young people to speak up and define their own identities.

The project has four main objectives:
Each of these goals will be promoted through specific regional and national activities, which will be implemented from January 2018 to December 2020.
1. Enhancing Education: a regional study will explore foreign students needs and barriers to access to higher education, mapping challenges to integration in Southern European universities and developing recommendations for national Governments, Universities, international organizations and students themselves.

2. Promoting Understanding: universities, in partnership with local religious organizations, organize conferences and meetings to foster inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and understanding among students and young people, fighting Islamophobia and intolerance.

3. Encouraging Communication: regional and national social media campaigns have been launched to empower young people to define their own narrative on migration and inclusion fighting xenophobia and prejudice.

4. Supporting Integration: student mentorship programs have started within selected universities in Italy and Spain, to support the active inclusion of foreign students, and create cohesive academic communities.

In addition, TandEM pilots a student mentorship scheme, which takes inspiration from the cross-country study findings and from a well-established mentoring scheme carried out by WUSC (World Education Service) in Canada. During the two-year project (2018-2019), young TCNs also directly contribute to shape narratives on migration and cultural diversity in the six target countries. They participate in a Southern European social media campaign emphasizing youth’s multiple forms of identification, irrespective of their background. The project also organises inter-faith dialogues involving young TCNs and their peers.

RESULTS AND IMPACT

TARGET GROUPS
• Migrant and national youth,
• Migrant and national students,
• Higher education institutions,
• Policy makers,
• Southern European societies

The European University Association (EUA) is the representative organization of universities and national rectors in Europe. Created in 2001, EUA represents more than 800 universities and national rectors’ conferences in 48 European countries. It plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation.

EUA has contributed to TandEM with a comparative, cross-country study aimed at understanding the links between integration and higher education policies. The study also documents the conditions and circumstances for access, retention and completion of higher education for migrants from third countries, including those with a refugee status. Concrete recommendations to remove barriers and to promote integration are provided for the European and national policy levels, as well as for higher education institutions.
https://eua.eu/downloads/publications/higher%20education%20for%20third%20country%20national%20and%20refugee%20integration%20in%20southern%20europe%20v2.pdf

In addition, regional and national social media campaigns launched to empower young people to define their own narrative on migration and inclusion fighting xenophobia and prejudice.

Furthermore, university committees have been created, and local students are already supporting the inclusion of their foreign peers in different areas:
- Administrative and Legal Support: Registration procedures/ Information on university fees and exemptions/ Visa renewal procedures/ Documents translation/ Procedure for the recognition of Foreign Titles.

- Academic Support: Definition of study plan/ Exam preparation/ Notes and handouts sharing/ Access to libraries/ Creation of a second-hand textbooks research and exchange’s system/ Organization of linguistic. tandems and language courses.

- Social Support: Introduction to city’s services (e.g. health and social services, transportation system, driving license procedures etc.)/ House hunting support/ Events organization (e.g. cultural trips, recreational activities, sport)/ Information and support with bank accounts and telephone/internet plans/ Orientation and tips on local cultural approaches/ CV creation and job-seeking support.