National Integration Conference to explore diversity, integration and Irish identity

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–Event begins tomorrow featuring international and national migration experts –

The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, how to replace direct provision, and how diversity is reflected in Irish identity in the century since Independence are amongst the topics that will be discussed at the National Integration Conference, which starts tomorrow (15.02.21).

Run by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, the conference will take place online from Monday 15th to Thursday 18th February. It will feature nine online sessions, including keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops. Over 30 migration and integration experts and activists will make contributions, exploring the theme of ‘Irish identity 100 years later’, marking 100 years since the establishment of the Irish State.

Commenting ahead of the conference, Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Manager with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said: “The Integration Conference is an annual coming together of national and international experts to discuss the most pressing issues around migration and integration in Ireland and further afield. Eighty per cent of our speakers are from migrant or refugee backgrounds. It is important to hold migrant-led discussions such as these, so that migrants have a platform to share their insights on integration and inclusion and have their voices heard on issues that directly affect them.

“With the upcoming 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Irish State, we are taking the opportunity to reflect on what this means for migrants, with the theme ‘Irish identity 100 years later’. We look forward to exploring perspectives on what being Irish today means, and what it will mean in the future, as a more diverse and multicultural society emerges.”

Expert Speakers

Speakers confirmed for the conference include:

  • Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Disabilities, Equality and Integration;
  • Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development and Charities;
  • Zrinka Bralo, CEO, Migrant Organise, UK;
  • Nicole Melaku, Director, National Partnership of New Americans, USA;
  • Mariaam Bhatti, Activist and EU Expert Group Member on Migration;
  • Dr. Ebun Joseph, labour integration and anti-racism expert;
  • Amanullah De Sondy, Director of Nasc, Senior Lecturer & Chair of Race Equality, UCC;
  • Liam Thornton, Associate Professor, UCD Sutherland School of Law;
  • Donnah Sibanda Vuma, Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI) and Founder of Every Child is Your Child;
  • Thomas Huddleston, Research Director, Migration Policy Group, Belgium;
  • Joy-Tenday Kangere, Co-Founder of Rooted in Africa & Ireland; and
  • Timi Ogunyemi, Creative Director, Ground Control.

Programme of Events

The conference will focus on migration and integration best practices, cultural identity, citizenship, labour integration, racism and direct provision. The nine sessions taking place over the course of the next four days are as follows:

Monday, 15th February

  • 10am to 12pm: ‘Learning from the past, looking toward the future’.
  • 2pm to 3pm: ‘Identity and Belonging’.

Tuesday, 16th February

  • 10am to 11am: ‘Anti-Racism victims support’.
  • 2pm to 4pm: ‘Replacing the system of Direct Provision’.
  • 6pm to 7pm: ‘Global perspective, local action’.

Wednesday, 17th February

  • 12pm to 2pm: ‘Making labour integration work’.
  • 3pm to 4pm: ‘Citizenship beyond the legal framework’.

Thursday, 18th February

  • 2pm to 3pm: ‘Integration of EU migrants’.
  • 6pm to 7.30pm: ‘Representation through black excellence, in collaboration with Rooted in Africa & Ireland, and Timi Ogynyemi’.

The full programme for the conference can be accessed here.

This is the second integration conference held by the Immigrant Council. Attendance is open to the public, free of charge. Anyone with an interest in attending any of the conference sessions can visit the Immigrant Council website to register. 

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