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December 3, 2015

Think Global is a national network for local development of education centres and individual educators, aiming to utilise education to equip people with the skills and capabilities they need to help make the world a more just and sustainable place.

Think again, Think Critically was an event organised by Think Global on 12th November 2015. RfPUK was represented by Jehangir Sarosh and Jasmine Vapiwala.

“Migration” was the theme of Think Global’s event which featured Saira Grant, Chief Executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, John Flynn, Director of Migrants’ Rights Network, Emily Bowerman, Senior Programmes Officer at Refugee Support and Tom Franklin, Chief Executive of Think Global.

This event focused around rethinking issues regarding migration, addressing the importance to distinguish different types of migrants (i.e. economical, refugees/asylum seekers, terrorists, etc). Public perception of migrants depends on both government and media. This perception affects the discourse of migration issues. The rhetoric of a “migrant” often carries negative connotations, hence a more adequate system of terminology is vital. Various type of migrant should be categorised and each category warrants unique solutions needs to suit the varying needs. Multifaceted dialogue would promulgate a balanced view of various issues, and how these issues impact both those seeking migration as well as the societies in which they seek to reside. There will also need to be a commitment of substantial investment from government in infrastructure.

An element of humanity needs to be considered where people need to be given a voice. Currently large organisations, such as politicians, IOs and NGOs are doing the talking for the people, not the people themselves. The concept of justice that applies only to other countries citizens is no longer relevant. We need to consider a system operated on the basis of human rights globally with respect to the right to migrate. Policy and language has an impact on this discourse. By giving the people themselves a voice, and having an open dialogue, everyone will be in a better position to make informed decisions regarding migration issues. We therefore need to consider migration from a global learning perspective.

We are currently part of a social revolution such as the social movement of LGBT of the 80s and 90s, where by raising people’s awareness and tapping into personal experiences, there will be a social shift in the perception of migration.

By having a more sophisticated media strategy where we are proactive and engage with each other we will have an understanding of the real issues rather than being critical and sceptical. We need to get a better understanding of what the media agenda is. Being less defensive as a community and more self-critical will also facilitate this process.
It is important to note as well that migration is not a stand alone issue it impacts and impacted by other areas such as climate change, political climate, economy, etc. The new UN SDGs capture the complexity of these various issues.

The UK government had put aside funds with respect to migration for two purposes; to build infrastructure, or law enforcement. To date, funds have only been spent on law enforcement.

Another issue to consider is the impact of global capitalisation and free-market creating a bigger gap inequality between developing countries and non-developing countries.

Misinformation about religion (i.e. Islam), was also discussed, where Jehangir Sarosh participated and raised awareness of how Religions for Peace can assist organisations with many of the above-mentioned issues.

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