Youth Forum on Refugees and Migrants in the New Media in SEE and CE

Deadline (extended): 30 December 2016
Open to: students, young researchers and activists with an interest in social sciences, coming from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia
Venue: 30 March – 1 April 2017, Skopje, Macedonia

About the Youth Forum

The Youth Forum “Refugees and Migrants in the New Media in South-East Europe and Central Europe” aims to discover how the new media in these regions have been reflecting on the migrant and/or refugee crisis and to what extent they contributed to the promotion of diversity. The project is being implemented by Mladiinfo International, together with its project partners, and it has been generously supported by CEI Cooperation Fund and Visegrad fund.

The Youth forum is the follow-up event within the project You(th) Challenging Diversity: Representation of Minorities in the New Media, aiming to foster European citizenship and improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level. This event will tackle yet again the issues of minorities and new media, but mostly in the context of the ongoing migrant and/ or refugee crisis.

The participating countries were strongly affected by the escalating waves of migrants and/ or refugees and these occurrences inevitably shaped media attention. The media as opinion-makers often constructed the image of migrants and/ or refugees through the process of “otherisation”, making a clear distinction between “us” and “them”. However, as a space for open and equal access, they should play a vital role in promoting diversity, tolerance, social affirmation and change.

That being the case, it is essential to keep track of promoting active citizenship, participation and appreciation of differences, instead of creating the so-called “culture of fear” or “fear of the unknown”, based on negative approach towards all minorities, especially towards migrants and/ or refugees. It remains questionable, however, whether the new media will follow the pattern of traditional media, or will indeed contribute to an increased societal cohesion and set forth better professional standards.

Young people from 13 European countries will participate at the Youth Forum “Refugees and Migrants in the New Media in South-East Europe and Central Europe”. Two categories of participants are foreseen:

1.  Speakers: Young people will present their own paper or essay written on some of the conference topics (see the eligibility section) and will join a discussion;
2.  Panellists: Young people will present a journalistic article they have prepared and will take part in the panel.

The topics can encompass, but are not limited to:

What is your say on this issue?

  • How are migrants portrayed in the new media? Is the new media setting the agenda and framing the debate on the migrant and/or refugee crisis?
  • How does the use of labelling (migrant, refugee, immigrant etc.) vary among the countries in question?
  • Have you been personally engaged in this cause and helped refugees in any sense?
  • How the migrant and/or refugee crisis “brought Central Europe together”? Can the principle of “flexible solidarity” be proposed by Visegrad Four (V4) group as a solution to migrant and/or refugee crisis?
  • What are some of the “myths” being constructed and prevailing among the public on this issue?
  • Is the media building or preventing stereotypes about the minorities? Why migrants are still perceived as “others”?
  • Is the migrant and/or refugee crisis often a subject of political contestation in media coverage?
  • How can migrants begin to be portrayed as a benefit to host societies, rather than as a problem?
  • What qualities can the new media bring for the promotion of diversity?
  • Would the migrant and/or refugee crisis somehow “reshape” the European Union?
  • What solutions to the migrant and/or refugee crisis are already present in the new media channels?
  • What can academics do about this crisis?
  • What are the responsibilities that we as humanity should take? What are the steps to be taken on local/national level by the respective countries?

All the participants at the conference will join interactive workshops where the topic will be further discussed.

Eligibility

Young students, researchers, journalists and activists coming from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia are welcomed to apply. There is no age limit, however, applicants aged 18-35 will have the advantage to be selected.

  • Speakers: Those applying to be speakers at the youth conference are expected to have a background in political and social sciences, including media, communication and journalism studies. They should have solid knowledge of research methodology and academic writing.
  • Panellists: Youth aiming to be panellists at the conference should have an interest in political and social sciences, as well as possess advanced journalistic skills, being able to attract readers’ and audience attention, develop their thoughts in an original manner and dispose of their rhetoric skills.

Costs

  • The travel costs are going to be reimbursed, after the selected speakers, panellists and participants, in communication with Mladiinfo’s staff, have arranged their travel to Macedonia, choosing the most affordable, but also most convenient means of transport;
  • Accommodation, breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks will be also covered by the organisers. Please note that the accommodation will be in a youth friendly venue, located close to the city centre of Skopje;
  • No conference fee is foreseen and the participation at the event is free of charge.

How to apply?

There is different application process according to the profile you are applying for.

Speakers:

  • A short abstract of the paper or essay they would like to present, not more than 300 words including the title of the paper, the main argument and conclusion as well as 3-10 references;
  • Short biography (up to 150 words);
    o These documents should be submitted until 30 December 2016 at recruitments@mladiinfo.eu. However, the pre-selected speakers are welcomed to submit their final papers/essays until 15 January 2017. Papers should be between 2 000 and 2 500 words long. The final selection of the speakers will be done once the final version of the paper has been submitted. Rules of citation and of text formatting will be announced after accepting the abstracts.

Panellists:

The aspiring young panellists at Youth Challenging Diversity Conference should prepare:

  • A journalistic article they would like to present at the conference, up to 500 words submitted with 3 suitable photographs with copyright;
  • CV (recommendable in Europass format) containing the education, job experience (if applicable) and social activities of the candidate;
  • Brief motivation letter (max. 1 page) describing how they will contribute and what are their expectations from the Conference.
  • The documents should arrive at: recruitments@mladiinfo.eu, no later than 30 December 2016.

Please note that this is a youth project based on the methods of non-formal education and no academic publications are foreseen. All the papers, essays and articles will be published on the project website – Youth Challenging Diversity. All entries need to be original writings, not published elsewhere before.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Mladiinfo’s team available at: recruitments@mladiinfo.eu.