ROME, NOVEMBER 20 – “It is not acceptable to believe that where there are migrants, there are problems. As well as numbers, success stories from migrant diaspora deny this statement. That is why those stories must be told, without any narrative of victimization, but offering good examples, because we are at a turning point, where a new path is being built on one key word: ‘trust’ ”. With just these few sentences, Italy’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mario Giro, expressed the whole meaning of the first migrant Diaspora Summit was held in Rome on 18th November, promoted by the Working Group 4 of the International Cooperation’s national Council.
Over 7,000 migrant associations were registered, 50 countries represented, 400 associations involved the preparatory meetings organized in several Italian Regions in the last five months and, above all, more than 500 people coming from any part of the country attended the Summit in the Italian capital. “The role of refugee and migrant diaspora must be incisive, their voice must count and be heard”, Mario Giro said, “I hope they will soon be recognized as a subject able to collaborate with the institutions at all levels”, with the aim of creating that circular migration that is a win- win phenomenon, bringing mutual benefit.
The meeting at the Frentani Congress Center in Rome was an opportunity for a fruitful dialogue between migrant associations, institutions and civil society organizations, and it also has laid the basis in the creation of a tool for a permanent exchange of information and shared goals among the actors involved in the integration of migrants in Italy. A final document was presented, as the result of meetings arranged in several Italian cities, with the participation of the diaspora groups taking part in the project. In his speech, Emilio Ciarlo, Head of external relations of the Italian Agency for International Cooperation (AICS) highlighted the dual goal of the Summit : “On the one hand, it aims at fostering integration and opportunities in our country, and, on the other hand, it implements development at an international level”.
The role of diaspora is a priority theme for AICS, which wants to empower migrant associations, reflecting diasporas, which has to be represented within the Italian institutions and play as a mediator between the latest and the foreign communities. Many associations carry out activities of international development cooperation and promote good relations between Italy and the countries of origin.
(@onuitalia, 20 November 2017)