The 4th edition of the UNICRI Summer Course on Migration and Human Rights ended on July 19th. The Course took place from the 15th of July to the 19th of July in Rome, Italy, and was organized by UNICRI in cooperation with John Cabot University. Its aim was to equip post-graduate students and young professionals with legal, social, scientific and theoretical tools to better understand and tackle the growing challenges of international migration.
The Course offered lectures delivered by renowned academics and renowned professionals with backgrounds in law, economics, and political and social sciences. Professors from John Cabot University and the University of London lectured participants on International and European refugee and asylum law, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, irregular migration by sea, and the challenges of cultural and religious pluralism. Practitioners from UNHCR, IDLO, IOM, FAO, UNIRE, and OSCE discussed their role in the management of global migration, which defined the tools that can be used to reduce the vulnerability of migrants to human rights violation. They also illustrated the gaps and challenges that need to be addressed by the international community.
This year the Course was attended by 40 participants from 25 countries allowing for the creation of a stimulating, multicultural working environment. Two courses with alternating lectures were held in parallel to ensure participants would take home the most from the Summer School. Participants enriched the class discussion by contributing their own experiences and counting on the experts ‘mastery in a variety of fields such as law, international relations, political science, social sciences applied to the work in the international arena.
The opening of the Summer Course was marked by the Special Event Strange fish: the "black period" seen from the eyes of Tunisian fishermen, which preceded the welcome greetings of Mary Merva, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs of the John Cabot University; Emilio Ciarlo, Head of Institutional Relations and Communication of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation; and Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Director a.i. of UNICRI.
The Event continued with the screening of Strange Fish, a documentary produced with contributions from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, showing the other side of the Mediterraneanwhere the small Tunisian fishing community of Zarzis, has been saving migrants and asylum seekers adrift and has been giving a dignified burial to those who, unfortunately, lost their lives.
The Event ended with the engaging debate moderated by Silvia Scarpa, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science of the John Cabot University. The panel members that presented their perspectives were: Giulia Bertoluzzi, Director of Strange Fish; Carlotta Sami, Spokeswoman for Southern Europe of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Clara Pascual De Vargas, Human Rights Officer, Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Gian Cosimo Rosas, Director of the ILO Office for Italy and San Marino; and Jean-François Durieux, Course Convenor and Tutor, Refugee Law Initiative of the University of London.
In the words of the course's participant Katerina Milan Spasovska: "This summer course provides a chance to analyze migration and human rights holistically from different sides and disciplines, as well as through the lens of academia and practitioners from the field. It is a great opportunity for both young professionals and students to build a strong network of contacts from all around the world. Personally, I believe that this experience will be very beneficial for my PhD research, I wholeheartedly recommend it to everybody!"