Youth is one of the most dynamic and subtle groups in every society, well placed to pioneer new approaches to build more cohesive communities. Youth make a significant part of the third country nationals (TCN) resident population in Southern Europe and are increasingly represented in Southern European Universities. However, their higher educational attainment is lower than that of nationals and they are also more likely to be ‘early leavers’ from education than their European peers.
Universities represent one of the first contexts in which one’s self-identity is constructed as an adult. Supporting the integration of foreign students in Southern European Universities can, therefore, help in deconstructing negative narratives around migration, while empowering migrant youth to work together with their European peers to build new common identities and more cohesive and fair communities.
TandEM: Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe, is a regional project implemented in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain and targets migrant youth in formal and non-formal learning contexts (e.g. Universities, student associations), emphasizing youth’s multiple forms of identification to combat prejudice, intolerance and exclusion.
The general objective of the project is to foster the active engagement of young third country nationals and their Southern European peers in building more inclusive societies in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain. Specifically, the project aims to:
- Enable young migrants’ active participation in shaping the discourse about migration and diversity in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain.
- Foster the access to and integration of young migrants into more inclusive higher education in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain.
- Foster a Southern European approach to the integration of young migrants in higher education through the exchange of knowledge and good practices across the program countries.
The project is based on four main pillars:
- Regional and national social media campaigns, empowering young people to define their own narrative on migration, deconstructing inaccurate perceptions and fighting xenophobia and intolerance. This will include the organization of a series of social media contests designed to highlight the multiple identities of migrants youth in Southern Europe, as well as challenges and opportunities for their integration.
- Regional Study on the barriers to access to higher education, mapping the challenges to integration of foreign students in Southern European Universities, leading to recommendations for national governments, universities, international organizations and migrants students themselves.
- Interreligious dialogues, to be organized in partner Universities to foster inter-religious and intercultural understanding among students and young people, fighting Islamophobia and intolerance.
- Student mentorship programs, to support the active inclusion of foreign students within selected Universities in Italy and Spain, creating networks of support of local students for migrants youth.
The project is funded by the European Commission’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the European University Association (EUA) and the Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana (COREIS).