We are very happy and excited that so many fellow colleagues are participating at this year’s conference! Even though we can still meet online only, we are still united in our shared interests and concerns for people’s migration experiences. We would have enjoyed welcoming you all in Luxembourg, but we hope and trust that this online event will give you the opportunity to meet, connect and engage with each other’s work especially in these difficult times.
We invite you to join us in looking at the positive points from the last year and look into the future. We have learned a lot throughout this year and from the ongoing crisis – and yet still continue to learn. How we get together and convene events in academia has become more flexible. For instance, we have discovered the possibilities of new meeting and event formats, which for example allow us to meet without the same resources and environmental costs of before. Meeting online enables us to exchange with more people from many additional places around the world. We are glad that we have so many and diverse participants who join us at this year’s conference.
Another important development over the last years it how to become more self-reflective as academic community, also on the operational level for events such as our conference. In this context we have been creating a safe-space policy for IMISCOE-events. It is very important to us that every IMISCOE-member and every participant of IMISCOE-events knows that they are welcomed, treated fairly and respected, and thus feel included and safe. These efforts came out of the IMISCOE Anti-Racism Working Group, which has been founded to reflect on and to react to the BLM-Movement. The safe-space policy we invite all of you to read through is a dynamic, living document and we encourage you to give us your valuable feedback on it so that we can continue to develop and improve it.
Finally, with this conference we have adapted our sustainability concept and have moved from local organic fairly traded food and free child care to organize the off setting the carbon emissions we will create during this conference. With the help of all of you, we will support a reforestation project in Costa Rica, the COBIGA-Project. This project collaborates with the local community to reforest selected areas with native trees to connect the lowland rainforests of the Golfo Dulce region with the upland rainforests of the Fila Cal to create the La Gamba biological corridor.
So we have learned to adjust and will come stronger out of this crisis as a network that is more flexible, self-reflective, open and sustainable. Thank you so much for your support and we wish you all an inspiring and engaging conference!
Prof.dr. Birte Nienaber, Chair of the conference committee 2021
Prof.dr. Peter Scholten, IMISCOE Coordinator