re:fugees – Refugees and Migration at re:publica TEN

With the re:fugees sub-conference this year, held together with the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb), we will discuss aspects of migration and integration, and aim to provide a stage specifically for refugees and their supporters.

In addition, this year will be the first time the re:publica offers a tandem project: We are inviting interested refugees to get involved in this year's re:publica, as participants, speakers or helping hands. Our sponsor, the Federal Agency for Civic Education, will provide public transport tickets and meal vouchers (find out more here).

The "re:fugees" track will address the complexities of flight and migration and their consequences during all three days of re:publica TEN. We want to highlight scenarios from the destination country and embed them into a global context. The sub-conference will not just focus on the difficulties regarding the reception of refugees, but also discuss the effects of this fundamentally new situation on different areas of society, and the scope for action they provide. On the one hand, this refers to new economic cycles developing between the residents in camps or through the interaction of different actors at Europe's borders. On the other hand, an altered perception in civil society is noticeable, with more and more supporters organizing themselves as voluntary helpers.

Some of the questions we want to highlight within the sub-conference include: What is the potential that the Internet and digital technologies provide, in terms of reach, self-organization and self-determination, to enable new kinds of empowerment and moral courage? With the "re:fugees" track, we firstly want to help speakers and participants share their personal experiences. Secondly, the sub-conference will provide a platform to articulate joint recommendations and demands and promote possible collaborations.

"re:fugees" consists of different thematic blocks incorporating a wide range of formats, including interactive, discursive and artistic elements. The sub-conference is taking place on Day 2 (May 3rd), and the workshops on Day 3 of re:publica. We also have a number of Lightning Talks and meetups on the first day in particular (find out more about the program here).

You can look forward to these exciting sessions: One of the highlights is the keynote by YouTube star comedian Firas Alshater, alias ZUKAR, called "What refugees want". No less prominent is the sociologist and re:publica well-known, Saskia Sassen, who will address the lack of legal frameworks for refugees and displaced persons and the connections to the distribution of land ownership worldwide in her lecture "What is behind the new migrations: A massive loss of habitat". We are also organizing two sessions in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation. In "Innovation in Refugee Camps", Kilian Kleinschmidt amongst others will talk about his experiences as head of the UNHCR Refugee Camp Za'atari in North Jordan, and the new approaches they are working on there. Another round-table talk will discuss the ways in which developing countries can keep their young talents in the country and prevent the notorious "brain drain".

We would like to say thank you to the Federal Agency for Civic Education for the great cooperation, whom we have again set up an exciting sub-conference with for the re:publica anniversary. Since 2008, the bpb has been organizing interesting re:publica sub-conferences on topics such as "Net Neutrality" (2010), "European Digital Publics" (2012), "The Surveillance Net" (2014), and most recently, "Public Value Journalism" (2015). We are looking forward to exciting discussions! Especially since "re:fugees" and the question of integration into society also relates to our focus topic #Hatespeech.

For more info on our workshops on Space for Migration Hacking, please download our flyer below.

Photo credit: Metropolico.org (CC BY-SA 2.0)