Policy Makers Conference „Dreams to Nightmares“ at the IPU Berlin
„Dreams to Nightmares“: Welcoming Culture, Xenophobia and Social Trauma along the Balkan Route
The DAAD research network „Migration, Trauma in Transition“ is holding a conference on 1 December 2018 at the IPU Berlin together with political policy makers from the countries along the Balkan route. One key component of the event consists of three parallel workshops on the subjects of integration, education and mental health. The conference will develop recommendations for methods and processes, and elaborate them for an online publication. Following the workshops, the results of the related questions will be presented and discussed in a presentation event open to the public.
The DAAD research network „Migration, Trauma in Transition“ is holding a conference on 1 December 2018 at the IPU Berlin together with political policy makers from the countries along the Balkan route. One key component of the event consists of three parallel workshops on the subjects of integration, education and mental health. The cooperative work undertaken by clinical and psychological trauma researchers, as well as by scientists from the fields of psychology, sociology, psychoanalysis, history and cultural studies with experts working with refugees forms the basis for the conference. Political policy makers are attending the event under the aspect of their involvement in the implementation of the related findings. Such tripartite cooperation is highly unusual and was only possible thanks to the establishment of the network. And it is urgently needed, not least because of the current refugee movements.
The conference participants include Dr. Judith Baessler from the GIZ Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Dr. Samir Rizvo, the Deputy Minister in the Security Ministry in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bulgarian Ambassador Stefan Tafrov, the prior UN Ambassador as well as the Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister, Svetlana Velimirović, the Deputy Commissioner for Refugees in Serbia and Elefterios Papagiannakis, the Deputy Mayor of Athens, with responsibility for migration and refugees.
When survivors from war zones seek protection in Europe, they encounter people who feel their immediate need for help and assistance – but also other people who are full of resentments, fears and doubts. Both the optimistic empathy and the fearful avoidance are rooted in unconscious convictions and expectations that are characterised by the differing national histories along the Balkan route and in the target countries. By way of example in Germany: Both volunteers and protesters carry the burden of the historical shame. Some of them are looking for a progressive way forward and are pursuing a utopia of transnational humanity, while others are emphasising the apparent benefits of a homogenous national or ethnical identity. Exploring and discussing these unconscious vulnerabilities contributes to an understanding of why citizens in a country accept or reject refugees, which helps, in turn, in the structuring and organisation of the political approaches accordingly.
Commencing with the clinical concept of social trauma, the intention at the conference is to elaborate approaches for dealing with people who have fled, which are aligned to three main questions:
– How and why does refugee support work along the Balkan route and in the target countries encounter support and resistance in the populations?
– How do the traumatic biographies of the refugees act and behave in relation to the traumatically driven national and/or ethnical identities in the transit and/or target countries?
– Which measures should be undertaken to avoid socio-traumatic entanglements and hindrances for refugee assistance programmes arising from such entanglements?
Since 2017, the international research network has worked on developing and utilising the expertise of the scientists for European refugee assistance. „These cooperative arrangements are necessary because laws and assistance programmes frequently fail when unconscious factors are not understood that have a negative impact on the intentions of the measures“, as Professor Dr. Andreas Hamburger from the IPU Berlin, who is the head of the research network, explains. One concrete aspect in this regard is the necessity for an understanding of the traumatisations of those who have fled, as indeed for the effective mechanisms of retraumatisations that ensue due to the experiences when fleeing. The conference will develop recommendations for methods and processes, and elaborate them for an online publication. Following the workshops, the results of the related questions will be presented and discussed in a presentation event open to the public.
Carmen Scher, Head of International Office at the IPU Berlin: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +49 30-300 117 722.