Reflections of the BD & EB Chairs on the transition of IMISCOE

29 June 2023

Parvati Raghuram (Chair of the Executive Board) and Wiebke Sievers (Chair of the Board of Directors) reflect on the transition process of the coordination of IMISCOE from Erasmus University Rotterdam to the University of Liège (CEDEM).

2022 was a special year for the IMISCOE Board of Directors and the IMISCOE Executive Board. It was the year of our first live BD meeting after the many online meetings during the pandemic. It was great to see the many colleagues who came to Oslo in person to celebrate this occasion. Sadly, it was the year when Gianni D’Amato and Sarah Spencer chaired their last meetings as BD and EB chairs respectively. We would like to thank both very much for the incredible work they have done over their period of service. We would also like to thank the Board of Directors for electing us to the roles of BD and EB Chairs respectively. Last but not least, it was the year of the transition of the coordinatorship from Erasmus University Rotterdam to the University of Liège, which comes with a new agenda.

The new coordinators, Jean-Michel Lafleur and Daniela Vintila have promised to make IMISCOE a more diverse and inclusive network while continuing the path towards including more institutional and individual members. We fully subscribe to this vision and believe that our election to our roles is a confirmation that our visions are also where IMISCOE wants to travel and are pleased to be able to help lead this journey with the rest of the IMISCOE family, especially the Network Office.

All of this may sound as if IMISCOE changed completely in this one year. However, we see the year 2022 as bringing both continuity and change. It continues the path of growth that the network has taken since the EU-funded period ended in 2010 and in particular since Rotterdam took over coordinatorship in 2014. We used the transition to Liège to adapt our legal framework to this new IMISCOE reality. We revised the Consortium Agreement and prepared Standing Orders for all governing bodies. This is not the most exciting work, but a growing network needs clear formal rules in order to make sure that it works properly and that steps can be taken by those involved if it does not.

IMISCOE’s route towards diversity also has a longer history. The IMISCOE BD took a very important step towards becoming more diverse and inclusive when it installed the Anti-Racist Working Group, chaired by Parvati Raghuram, in response to the Black Lives Matter movements in 2020. The Working Group fostered a seminar series and helped to institute processes for inclusivity during conferences. In 2022, the Working Group became the IMISCOE Executive Committee on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, which deals with a range of diversity issues. This transition gives diversity a fixed place in the network. The members of the working group and the executive committee have laid the basis for some significant changes at IMISCOE and set the path for the next few years.

However, we do not want to leave it to the executive committee alone to diversify the network. The Executive Board has been very active in contributing to this process. We worked on the IMISCOE Code of Conduct that aims to make sure that everyone involved in IMISCOE activities can work in a safe and respectful environment. We have been working with the conference teams to ensure that IMISCOE’s commitment to diversity is evidenced at its’ events. We have also explored ways in which we can take the Board of Directors’ vision into IMISCOE’s organisational structure. We want to ensure we hear the voices of our diverse IMISCOE members. In this vein, we have started to implement a BD decision taken before the pandemic: the installation of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) that includes a brainstorming element that allows BD members to bring in their ideas and get more involved in taking the network forward.

The Board of Directors has collectively agreed to diversify its base and to become more inclusive. These issues of global and regional inclusivity is something we hope to engender and facilitate in our terms. We believe that migration is a global issue which encompasses many different people from various parts of the world. Our knowledge and discussions on this topic will be enriched through this inclusivity and we hope we can play a part in shaping this element of IMISCOE’s future in the coming years. We look forward to working with you all in making this come true.

Parvati Raghuram (Chair of the Executive Board) and Wiebke Sievers (Chair of the Board of Directors)

*This text originally written as an introduction to the IMISCOE 2022 Annual Report

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