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Roundtable on "Changing the Discourse: the Positive Face of Migration"

When, local time: 
Monday, 14 December 2015 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
France, Paris
Type of Event: 
Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Konstantinos Tararas, k.tararas@unesco.org

UNESCO organizes a roundtable on “Changing the Discourse: the Positive Face of Migration” at its Headquarters in Paris, on 14 December 2015. The roundtable is part of the celebration of Human Rights Day (10 December 10th) and International Migrants Day (18 December).

The roundtable aims to showcase a change of perspectives on migration and ways to achieve this. It will put emphasis on the positive impact of migrant women and men on every aspect of life - cultural, economic, political and social – in host societies. This is key to promote their inclusion and consequently their wellbeing.

Focusing on specific areas of UNESCO’s mandate, the invited speakers will shed light onto the grassroots realities, allowing thus for a better understanding of the magnitude, complexity and specificities of the issues under consideration. Combined with a focus on lessons learned and good practices, the interventions will also point to possible priorities for action.

The roundtable will be opened by Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences. The panel will include:
* Metin Arditi, UNESCO Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue
* Lucienne Redercher, deputy Mayor of Nancy (France) and Vice-President of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR)
* Priya Deshingkar, Research Director, Migrating out of Poverty, Research Programme Consortium, University of Sussex (United Kingdom)
* Assefaw Bariagaber, Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University (United States of America)
* Plantu, cartoonist at Le monde (France)

The roundtable resonates with the commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind”. It also feeds into the yearlong campaign launched by Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) under the slogan “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Migrants’ inclusion emerges as the theme for this year’s commemorative events. Attaining the goals set for all migrants, international and national, by the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development relies to a great extent on the success of efforts to promote respect for diversity and fight all forms of discrimination.

Advances in securing for migrants an adequate standard of living, promoting unhindered access to quality education, and progress in the realization of other basic human rights will require tackling persistent and newly emerging stereotypes and prejudices.

The most powerful way to achieve this is by providing data and arguments against such claims. Migration when orderly, safe and underpinned by planned and well-managed policies that are entrenched in human rights principles and standards, generates benefits that overshadow its challenges. Migrants, if assisted to fulfil their potential, can contribute significantly to cultural, economic, political and social life in host societies.

Employing creativity and culture for stimulating a positive attitude to migration and migrants and also to build bridges for dialogue and interaction, re-inventing cities as spaces of inclusion, highlighting the multiple forms of gender based discrimination against female migrants, whether international or internal, understanding current challenges and the potential of migration in Africa and exploring the positive role of media in challenging stereotypes are the themes that will drive the debate.

The 2015 commemoration of Human Rights Day (10 December) and International Migrants Day (18 December) will culminate in a cultural event. Youssoupha, a French rapper originating from Congo and known for his commitment to non-violence and respect for diversity, will give a concert at UNESCO Headquarters in the evening of 14 December.