Following the project proposal, the first event of the project “MY EU: YOUNG, EQUAL, INCLUSIVE” had to address  the relation between immigrants and politics.

The mandate of this event was to “provide space to migrants to discuss over the meaning of being engaged in political life of the community in order to influence decision making process and actually integrate”.

The expected Results named in the partner agreement are:

– increased awareness about different policies on immigration and relative situation of immigrants in other European countries

– increased awareness of the importance to have political rights and to use them to promote their own integration process and to influence the decision – making process (i.e. right to vote)

– increased motivation to be engaged in the policy making process of their own Country of residence

The event had been hosted by Association LDA Zavidovici, for a three days activities in Brescia with the following programme:


MORNING : arrivals
15.00: Visit to the city with refugees
19.00: Dinner in Cascina Maggia restaurant
The main goal of the visit to the city was to create a friendly environment to support the communication and the exchange of experiences and opinion between the international participants and a group of 20 refugees involved in the projects of the hosting organization. This had been a good occasion for international participants to better understand the hosting contest and to approach for the first time this particular category of migrants composed by refugees, people who didn’t choose to migrate, but who were obliged to do it, and now they have to find the right way to participate and being active in the hosting society.


The conference was hold in Sala della Gloria, Università Cattolica di Brescia, Via Trieste 17 Brescia.
The programme had been the following:
10.00: Welcoming and introduction from Agostino Zanotti (President of LDA Zavidovici – hosting organization)
10.15 – 10.45: “Migrations in Italy” Pietro Cingolani – Fieri Center (International Centre about migration – Turin)
10.45 – 11.15: “From labor force to citizens” Franco Valenti – Fondazione Guido Piccini per I Diritti dell’Uomo
11.15 – 11.45: “Italian laws and immigration: protection or violation?” Lorenzo Trucco – President of ASGI (Association of Juridical studies about immigration)
11.45 – 12.15: “Migrants and urban spaces” Camillo Boano – University of London UCL
12.15 – 12.45 “Immigrants and needs of social relations: workers, women and second generations” Maddalena Colombo – CIRMIB (Interdisciplinary Center of research about immigration and integration of University of Brescia)
LUNCH BREAK 13.00 – 14.30
14.30 – 14.45: Welcoming from Franco Valenti
14.45 – 15.15: “Migrations and methodological nationalism” Maria Perino – University of Piemonte Orientale
15.15 – 15.45: “Yalla Italia, building new synergies for a political and cultural change”  Loubna Ammouna – Yalla Italia (Second Generation Association)
15.45 – 16.15: Migrants Associations in Brescia and their experience
16.15 – 17.00: presentation of the partner organization of MY EU project present  at the conference
19.00: Dinner at LDA Zavidovici headquarter with the Student of London University.
                The international conference on “Immigrants and Politics”, held in Brescia on February 2nd 2013 and promoted by the “LDA Zavidovici” association, proved to be a high level meeting characterized by a multidimensional approach. In fact, the issue has been raised both through the legal, social, cultural, political and urban angles. All the actors involved, from the immigrants to the specialists, had the opportunity to express themselves and to suggest new slants, raising large-scale issues and proposing solutions for an easier living together.
The speakers reflected on the inherent problems of the migration flows, such as the integration difficulties and the exclusion phenomenon, as well as the implementation of adequate policies at both national and European level.
                After a concise introduction by Agostino Zanotti, president of the hosting association, in which he clarified the specific immigration vocabulary and underlined that “thinking about immigration means thinking about the State, going beyond the xenophobic and populist excesses”, Maddalena Colombo, lecturer at the Cattolica University and president of the CIRMIB, Research and Initiatives’ Center on Immigration, emphasized the necessity to “re-elaborate our own system of values so as to create a culture of cohabitation” within the developed countries.
Pietro Cingolani, from the Torino International and European Research Forum on Immigration, realized a chronicle retrospective and insisted on the dynamic character of the immigration movements, with the current change of the typology of migrants.
Franco Valenti, from the Guido Piccini Foundation for Human Rights, described the injustices from which the immigrants suffer at work and the difficulties they have to face if they are not granted citizenship. Franco Valenti also denounced the fact that immigrant workers are seen as a financial burden though they represent a considerable resource and an underestimated connection with the foreign countries.
The president of the Law Studies on Immigration’s Association, Lorenzo Trucco, drawn up the pitiful and absurd picture of the Italian prescriptive frame which defines emergency guidelines  rather than determining common values and guaranteeing the respect of the migrants’ fundamental rights.
                In the afternoon, the meeting continued with the presence of Camilo Boano, architect from the London University College, who introduced town planning as a factor of social cohesion, explaining how towns have to be redesign in order to put an end to the existing segregation.
Maria Perino, lecturer at the Piemonte Orientale University, presented the sociologist approach and the limits of the methodological nationalism, which considers cultural discrepancies as the core of the integration issue. In her opinion, it is essential to consider the immigrant in his/her individuality rather than trying to define himself through his/her native country’s common values.
                She then handed over to immigrants’ association, such as Yalla Italia, represented by Loubna Ammouna, who read two moving excerpts, managing to make us feel shameful for the attitude adopted by Europeans towards immigrants.
Other immigrants, such as a young Bangladeshi father and a social worker who dedicates to women victims of wife-beating, had the opportunity to express their opinions and to tell the audience how hard is the interaction with the host populations. 
Guzeppi Attard, Mayor of the Maltese city Zejtun, explained that the immigration in Malta has a limited scale, and that the European Union has the duty to implement a global politics on immigration.
                Maddalena Colombo concluded the conference urging the necessity to overstep the Italian believe, shared by 60% of the population, stating that immigrants are too numerous in the country. 

The conference had been a great success at local level, in fact  the two local newspapers (see the articles attached)published very positive articles about it, as well as the local television ( and many other websites


Sunday 3 February

 15.00 Meeting with the Association “Forum Marocchino” and “Diritti per tutti” and draft of the recommendations to policy makers
19.00: farewell dinner with the Students of London University.
Association “Forum marocchino” is a local association representing a part of the Moroccan community of Brescia and Province, which is very active on the social scene of Brescia, trying to get involved also in the political life of the community. Their activities are mainly addressed to youngsters and their families, to mediate the generational conflicts between parents grown in the origin country, and young sons and daughters, born in Italy.
Association “Diritti per tutti” is a local Association composed mainly by Italians (most of them lawyers) that works voluntarily for the endowment of rights by migrants communities, supporting them on different levels and experiencing new ways of cohabitations and collaboration.
The meeting with Ait Allali Asma from ”Associazione Forum Marocchino” had been intensive and started from the question “second generations, have to live following the traditional culture of the origin country of their parents or have to live following the traditions of the hosting country”? During the discussion many important issues have been addressed, such as the relation between migration and identity in young immigrants or the relation between freedom of religion and the imposed laicism in France with a focus on the meaning of the veil in muslim culture, or the difference between faith and fundamentalism.
Also the meeting with Sergio Pezzucchi, a lawyer from the Association “Diritti per tutti” had been a fruitful occasion to exchange opinion and to know the good results obtained by the Association through the sharing of spaces belonging to different cultures, such as the mosque, the church, the municipality hall, the headquarter of the Association, etc…
The final considerations coming out  from this event are briefly the following:

  1. It is needed a stronger presence of European Union Institutions in boarder countries and a more flexible system for the mobility of refugees and asylum seekers, avoiding the concentration of them in some European Countries, more than in others.
  2. Integration starts and passes through the direct knowledge of the Other
  3. Integration is possible only if different cultures share same spaces, included the political space
  4. Education frees the potentialities of each person, and integration is possible only investing on education, which is also the keyword for the participation of migrants in the political life of the community.

For the dissemination about the event, please visit the following links:!topic/des-basso-garda/vc7wIsBH688!/menu/standard/file/BRESCIA_60.pdf