August 23rd, 2013 1:09 pm

Sometimes the context we live in is taken for granted. A reflection about the people who surround you is crucial and probably the first step to overcome prejudices.

The world is becoming hypermobile. Some years ago migration was associated mostly with people’s mass movement related to wars or with a little number of experts moving from one country to another. Today, migration has many new facets. At many WSCF events at the ice-breakers session we ask people to raise their hands if they came from the country where they live, if they used to live abroad or if they live in the same place where they parents or grandparents used to live. The picture, perhaps a bit blurred, that we are getting usually shows a highly mobile group with one or more international experiences, showing that almost nobody lives in the place where their parents (not to mention grandparents!) live. Paradoxically, in the reality where cultures intersect and mingle people can still experience xenophobic behaviours of diverse characters.

In this issue we are trying to look closer at the European perspectives. The conference, which covered the issues related to xenophobia was organized in Italy – a country known for its rich history full of migrations and new neighbours. Recently, the Italian coasts have become an area of conflict between dreams and reality. The African compasses calibrated for the promised land point towards North, which means that more and more people of all ages head to Italy hoping for a better life. This trend and the links we had in Rome made WSCF think of Italy as a perfect venue for the conference “Who is my neighbour?” An intense week is vividly described by Annika Foltin, who was co-organizing the event. Hattie Hodgson and Jo Musker offer compelling contributions related to their experiences with human trafficking and xenophobia in Great Britain. Marta Varnagyi, who was also present in Velletri as WSCF Events Coordinator, had an opportunity to talk with her Hungarian friends about xenophobia in their country. Shannon Philip asks “Why do we call ourselves Christians, men or women, gay or straight, black or white?” and tries to understand the roots of fear of the other.

There were many conclusions that we came to in Velletri. It has been an eye-opening week, for some overwhelming, but for sure worth travelling many kilometers. We are trying to give you a taste of the issues and encourage discussions in your environments. Who are YOUR neighbours?

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