Debate EU Stance on Migration Online: My Participation on Europaeum Online Summer School on Migration

Erasmus Mundus Joint Master of Arts Euroculture: Society, Politics and Culture in a Global Context. An international Master degree programme that focuses on the complex interplay of politics and culture in European society, set in a global context. Partners Universities include: Universidad de Deusto, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, GeorgAugust-Universität Göttingen, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, Université de Strasbourg, Università degli studi di Udine, Uppsala Universitet.

Author: Viddy Ranawijaya, EMJM Euroculture student. See contributors page


In August 2021, I got the honour to represent the EMJMD Euroculture programme in the Europaeum Summer School on Europe and Migration presented by the Europaeum (a network of eighteen leading European universities) and the University of St. Andrews. The summer school consists of talks, papers, peer reviews, academic debate, and European Commission working group meeting role-play. 

As a first-timer, I enjoy the Zoom conference, following the discussion asking questions when necessary and taking notes from the speakers. I have also got a chance to be a peer reviewer of a paper written by a Finnish PhD researcher on the topic of 'Transnational Adoption and Forced Migration'. I never thought that interaction in the online paper section was very effective. While the speaker presented the paper, the audiences' discussion on chats was unstoppable. Moreover, the substance of interactive discussion after each presentation made the session more alive.

Apart from the paper session, the summer school has also held a creative event that involves participants in an exciting role play that simulate a real-life working group meeting between relevant parties that deal with European border and migration. Participants were split into nine working groups, each consisting of five people, and were given roles and scenarios that they should represent. The groups were the European Commission, Frontex, UNHCR, Migreurop, IOM, EU citizen migrants, Irregularised Migrants, and EU citizen non-migrants. 

The working group meeting simulation was divided into four sessions. Participants were grouped according to their assigned roles in the first two sessions. The sessions allow each group to discuss and come to a consensus on provided questions while sticking to the stance on a given scenario. The questions consist of principles and priorities that should govern European migration policies and the use of digital and biometric technology in EU migration governance. The consensus would then be a basis for each group stance in role-playing sessions. 

The last two sessions simulated the working group session. Participants left their initial interest groups and were reallocated to one of five consultations groups, which were made up of one member from each interest group. During the sessions, participants discussed a draft of a resolution prepared by the committee, with each representative approaching the consultation initially from the consensus position of their original interest group. The participants should answer whether the proposal should be taken forward by the EU (without or with modifications), whether it should be entirely rejected, and explain the decision with input from each representative member. In the end, each group presented the discussion note on a plenary session. 

After participating in the conference, I realise that online conferences might have many limitations, such as awkward networking sessions and inevitable technical difficulties. Nevertheless, it has led to much other innovation and creativity. After all, participants have an essential role in making online sessions 'alive', fruitful, and effective. "

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