Our #FirstWeds Spring Series holds in mind Ukrainians and people of other countries ridden by war and conflict, who have been forced to leave their homes and cross borders in search of safety.
What are some practical ways to extend support and solidarity from Ireland? And, as we extend this support and solidarity, how can we grow our understanding of the geopolitical contexts within which such calamitous events unfold? Moreover, how can we, from here in Europe, ensure a move beyond fortressed border policies and uphold our welcome to all people in need of refuge?
Over the next 3 months, we invite you to join us as we explore these questions and more. In the company of panellists from Europe’s East and beyond we want to deepen our understanding of the drivers of the conflict and migration we are witnessing, and challenge the dualities of attitudes towards refugees. We also aim (with some urgency) to consider the many ways we can be in solidarity with communities seeking refuge from war, violence and oppression in 2022, and with those supporting them on this dangerous journey.
In April our panel, consisting of Ukrainian activists and those working on the frontline of the ongoing refugee crisis caused by the war, will discuss what expressions of support and solidarity from Ireland can look like. And, as we extend this support and solidarity, consider how can we grow our understanding of the geopolitical context within which this calamitous war is unfolding.
Dr Maryna Shevtsova is a political scientist and human rights activist. Currently, she is a Visiting Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She is also the founder and director of Equal Opportunities Platform, a Ukraine-based NGO created with the aim to prevent discrimination, combat inequalities, and increase the participation of vulnerable groups in decision-making. Maryna has Ph.D. in Political Science from Humboldt University, Berlin, and she worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar and visiting researcher at Middle East University, Turkey, University of Florida, USA, and University of Lund, Sweden. Her most recent publications include the book LGBTI Politics and Value Change in Ukraine and Turkey: Exporting Europe? (Routledge 2021), and edited volumes LGBTQ+ Activism in Central and Eastern Europe. Resistance, Representation, and Identity (with Radzhana Buyantueva, Palgrave Macmillan 2019), and LGBTI Asylum Seekers and Refugees from a Legal and Political Perspective: Persecution, Asylum, and Integration (with Arzu Guler and Deniz Venturi, Springer, 2019).
Zoryana Pshyk is Ukrainian and has been living in Ireland for almost two decades. She is an ex-asylum seeker as she had lived in the Direct Provision System for 6 years. Over the years she worked tirelessly to bring an understanding of the Direct Provision System into the local communities, secondary schools, Further and Higher Education sectors. Through 2020 she worked with College Connect as a principal peer-researcher on A Community Needs Analysis with Refugees and People Seeking Asylum – Exploring Access and Barriers to Higher Education in Ireland.
Zoryana is an active participant in local community development in County Kildare with an emphasis on Social Inclusion. She is a chairperson of the Kildare Integration Network (KIN), a member of the Newbridge Asylum Seekers Support Group (NASSG), and a board member of the County Kildare Leader Partnership.
Zoryana holds, an H. Dip in Further Education and a Masters in Adult and Community Education from Maynooth University, and currently works as a Community Connector, MU, in College Connect. She also works with Partners Training for Transformation as a facilitator.
Monika Matus is a Polish activist who for 20 years has been working on Human Rights and environmental issues. She co-founded environmental movements in Poland as well as social movements, such as Akcja Demokracja. Recently she has been dealing with human rights in the context of migration and the humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian and Polish-Ukrainian borders as part of Grupa Granica, a network of Polish NGOs that monitors the situation and supports migrants on both borders.
You can follow the situation at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossings on a dedicated page and support the vital work of Grupa Granica below.
This session will be moderated by Dr Kieran Doyle of the Maynooth University Department of International Development.
6 April, 2022; 7PM: PART 1 – Solidarity with Ukraine – Watch it on YouTube
4 May, 2022; 7PM: PART 2 – Solidarity in Crisis – Watch it on YouTube
1 May, 2022; 7PM: PART 3 – Criminalisation of Humanitarians on the European Borders –
Watch it on YouTube
In case you missed it
PART 1: The Future is Now: Global Youth Voices on the Climate Crisis
PART 2: Where Does the Wisdom Lie? Elders on the Climate Crisis
PART 3: Post-COP26 – Community Activists on Where to Next
#FirstWeds events are organised in partnership with the Maynooth University Department of International Development and with the financial support of Concern Worldwide for which we are most grateful.
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