CIVICA European Week 2024 at LSE

CIVICA European Week 2024 at LSE

Exploring Migration Challenges and Opportunities

The CIVICA European Week 2024, hosted by The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) from June 25-28, brought together a diverse group of participants to engage in a multifaceted exploration of migration under the theme "Migration in a Changing Europe." This event featured 80 bachelor students from leading European universities, 20 high school students, 5 students from Ukrainian partner universities, 10 expert lecturers, and 10 tutors. The activities ranged from lectures and panel discussions to site visits and cultural experiences, creating a rich tapestry of learning and collaboration.

A multinational confluence

Participants included students from prestigious institutions such as Bocconi University, Central European University, IE University, SNSPA, Sciences Po, SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, and LSE. Their collective aim was to delve into the complexities of migration, driven by factors such as conflict, inequality, and climate change.

Helen Rosemont, CIVICA Manager at LSE, encapsulated the spirit of the event, stating on LinkedIn, “That’s a wrap on CIVICA European Week! A huge thank you to all of the external organizations, LSE faculty and staff, PhD students, and CIVICA partners for making this week such a success. We were truly impressed by the curiosity and thoughtfulness of the 80 incredible undergraduate students and 20 highschoolers who engaged deeply with the complex topic of migration and refugees in Europe.”

Insightful lectures and discussions

The week commenced with a series of online activities on June 25, transitioning to in-person events from June 26. Dr. Dina Gusejnova's lecture on European identity and migration, and a session on migration, work, and social inequality by LSE Social Policy experts, to include Dr Linda Platt, Dr. Isabel Shutes, and Dr. Patrick McGovern, set a strong academic foundation.

A highlight was the panel discussion on merit-based migration, provocatively titled ‘Who Gains Access?’ The panel featured faculty from across CIVICA partners involved in one of the alliance’s seed-funded projects, as well as a Ukranian expert on migration.

G20 Simulation on Climate Migration

One of the most prominent activities was a G20 simulation focused on climate migration, led by Angelo Martelli from the LSE European Institute. This simulation provided participants with a hands-on opportunity to understand the complexities and negotiations involved in addressing climate-induced migration at a global level.

Cultural and practical engagements

The event was not just confined to academic discourse. Participants enjoyed a film screening of “Le Havre” and site visits to organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and ODI Migration Research. A cooking demo by Migrateful, a charity founded by LSE alumni, offered a delicious interlude while highlighting the integration of refugees through culinary arts.

Walking tours of migrant neighborhoods in London, spanning areas from Peckham to Brixton and Whitechapel to Bethnal Green, provided a tangible connection to the discussions, illustrating how migration shapes urban landscapes.

Participants takeaways and reflections

Borja Santos Porras, Vice-Dean at IE University, emphasized the dual nature of migration discussions, noting, “Recognizing the current prominence of migration in European political discourse, CIVICA European Week aimed to shift the focus only from challenges and crises to the opportunities migration presents, fostering a fruitful debate.”

Students echoed this sentiment. Paula Rincón Muñiz from Sciences Po expressed her gratitude, saying, “With displacement increasing exponentially due to conflict, inequalities, and climate change, migration is one of the most pressing issues of our times, and being able to learn about this topic in such a multicultural city truly made this an eye-opening and unforgettable experience.”

Elias Shafiqullah, a high school participant shared his excitement about the event’s collaborative spirit, stating, “This was an extremely competitive event in which I was selected as one of ten high school students to represent LSE. The platform set for meaningful discourse on ‘Migration in a Changing Europe’ was incredible.”

A successful conclusion and looking forward to the next edition

The CIVICA European Week 2024 at LSE not only facilitated academic and cultural exchange but also fostered a deeper understanding of migration’s multifaceted impact on European societies. As participants departed, they carried with them a wealth of knowledge and a renewed commitment to addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Given the growing success of previous editions, CIVICA eagerly anticipates an impactful fifth edition in 2025, set to take place in Bucharest at SNSPA. Preparations for the next edition are already underway, with working groups for CIVICA undergraduate programmes actively planning to ensure another successful event.

photo credits: LSE