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The Future of Syria & Integration: Aspirations and Challenges

On the occasion of the Oriental Landscapes (June 16-23), Global Week for Syria and the International Refugee Day (June 20) The Hague Peace Projects and Music and Beyond Foundation are organizing a two day conference on the Future of Syria on the 19th– 20th of June. The first day will consist of a discussion surrounding the future of Syria; During the morning we will have panel discussions with high level experts involved in the peace negotiations on Syria. This will be followed by various workshops related to different aspects of rebuilding Syria. The second day will be focusing on the integration of newcomers into Dutch society, with our two main topics consisting of economic integration and social/cultural integration. We will bring together those organizations and institutions responsible for integration and the refugee community in order to promote better understanding and cooperation in the integration process.

Day 1: Future of Syria

Since 2011, the Syrian war has forced half of the total Syrian population to leave their homes and more than half a million Syrian have lost their lives. This war has profoundly destabilized the entire region and created a geopolitical standoff between great regional and global powers. Although the development of the war in Syria is uncertain, it is crucial for Syrians as well as the international community to envision a future, which strives for security, justice and peace.

Therefore, the Hague Peace Projects will bring together high- level speakers from Syria and the Netherlands to explore the possible outlines of the future of Syria. There will be a panel discussion in the morning that will also follow the recent changes and the on-going negotiation processes over Syria.

In the afternoon, several workshops will be organised by Syrian activists who are together looking for common ground to contribute to peace building in their country of origin by considering themes on workshops such as: the war economy, transitional justice, empowering women and youth, local governance and strengthening local communities.

Day 1 Monday 19 June: The Future of Syria

09.30 – 10.00
Registration  Coffee/ Tea
10.00 – 12.15
1st Panel Discussion: Future of Syria

Speakers: Rabie Nasser, Bassam Alahmad, Hala Alahmed.
Moderation: Esseline van de Sande

12.15 – 13.15
Lunch break
13.15 – 15.00
Workshop Part 1:
  • Youth Peace Initiative: Role of diaspora in peace building
  • PAX: Building blocks for a future in Syria
  • HIVOS: Women in peace negotiations
15.00 – 15.15
Break
15.15 – 16.45
Workshop: Part 2:

1.      The group Moderators from the workshops discuss the findings of the group in a panel setting.

2.      The floor opens to public.

17.00 – 18.00
Registration for the music event (free for the participants of the conference)
18.00 – 19.00
Lecture (interview with Tony Overwater)
19.00 – 20.00
Food: Syrian Cuisine
20.00 – 22.00
Concert: Salon Joussour – Rohana Overwater Ensemble

Reserve Tickets here for Day 1

Day 2: Integration: Aspirations and Challenges

After the influx of large groups of refugees from different countries in the past few years the national government, municipalities and civil society organizations have proposed many solutions for a smooth integration. Not all of them have shown clearly positive results and some policy measures even create great confusion and uncertainty among permit holders. One of the reasons of this failure could be a lack of consultation of permit holders. Thus, taking into account permit holders ‘ needs, capabilities, aspirations and suggestions for successful integration could be the most fruitful way forward for all of the parties.

Therefore, this event is intended to bring together policy makers and integration specialists from different organizations and municipalities including permit holders in order to discuss the obstacles and solutions towards a successful integration in The Netherlands.

The morning section is reserved for two panel discussions regarding specific aspects of integration, such as the labour market and social-cultural integration, where policy makers, academic and permit holders will share their knowledge and concerns. In the afternoon, permit holders together with local civil society activists will be conducting workshops to find solutions for some of the most pressing integration issues faced currently.

Day 2 Tuesday 20 June: Integration: Aspirations and Challenges

09.30 – 10.00
Registration  Coffee/Tea
10.00 – 12.00
1st Panel discussion: Integration in to the Dutch Labor Market

Speakers: Quirine Veth (workforce.nl), Catrien Smit (Den Haag municipality), Tesseltje de Lange (Amsterdam University), George Kader
Moderation: Mohammed Taha

12.00 – 13:00
Lunch break
13.00 – 15.00
2nd Panel Discussion: Social & Cultural integration

Speakers:  Kees Diepenveen (Wethouder Utrecht), Mirjam Huisman (VluchtelingenWerk) Besan Zarzar (Net in Nederland)
Moderation: Lisanne Boersma

15.00 – 15.15
Proceed to the workshops
15.15 – 16.30
Workshop Part 1
  • Khaled Elhouz and Heba Elebrahim: Education in the Netherland
  • VluchtelingenWerk Nederland: Labor integration
  • Unity in Diversity – Let’s talk Stereotypes
16.30 – 16.45
Break
16.45 – 18.00
Workshop: Part 2:

1.      The moderators from the workshops discuss the findings of the group in a panel setting.

2.      The floor opens to public.

18.30 – 21.00
Concerts

Aura Rascon – bansuri
Jol Alholo – dance
George Kadr – poetry
Ghaeth Almaghoot – clarinet
Nawras Altaky – oud
Sougata Roy Chowdhury – sarod

Reserve Tickets here for day 2

Location: Korzo Theatre, Prinsestraat 42, Den Haag
19 & 20 June

Integration Caravan on its way to Ede!

The Integration Caravan, a project created and organised by our Syrian working group, is visiting Ede on saterday 19th of October. This will be the 4th visit of a city in the Netherlands. Come and visit us at the Oude Kerkplein 2, between 11 and 4.

We create spaces where community members just like you can meet a refugee and engage in constructive dialogue. Also we give the Dutch people an opportunity to get to know refugee ask important questions such as ‘how is it to start a new life in the Netherlands? what should the refugees learn about our country? And what do we have in common and what can we share?’

We believe that healthy communities are the ones in which its community members can talk to each other despite their different backgrounds. You can hear stories you don’t find in the news papers.

All in all it was a very successful way of talking to people you normally hardly meet and create mutual understanding. Reactions in previsous cities were truly positive. We are very motivated to take this further to Ede. Check our calendar to see where we’re going next time!

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HPP on air: Turks and Kurds in the Netherlands

Our colleagues and program coordinators, Mirko and Tayfun were on the radio last week, not once but twice. In the first session they talked about the interaction and relation between Kurds and Turks in The Netherlands; what is the current situation, what do they have accomplished last year and what are their plans for the future. The item was well chosen called: the way to reconciliation.

Here’s a link to the radio broadcasting

The second interview was with Tayfun and Entrepreneur Cemil Yilmaz about the tensions among Dutch Turks after the coup in Turkey in July.  Yilmaz noticed that the tention is also between Turks and Dutch society, because very quickly people and media are portraying people as ‘Erdogan-hugger’, traitor or as poorly integrated. Tayfun concluded with stating that “it is time to work on Dutch citizenship. It’s time to invest in people.”

Listen here to the show

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Coming soon: The Integration Caravan

Great news, we have recAll-You-Need-is-Love-caravaneived funding that will enable the Integration Caravan project! The project conceived by HPP’s Syrian working group can be materialised thanks to tireless fundraising efforts and the consequent generous grant given by Wijdoenmee.nu.

Soon, in marketplaces all over the country, the Integration Caravan will set up camp and this group of enthusiastic young Syrian refugees will do their best to connect to their new homeland. By reaching out to local communities, sharing their stories, culture, and hopes and wishes for the future, they are determined to create a dialogue with the wider public. In this way they want to break the ice and overcome any reservations the public feels towards the Syrian newcomers.

Keep an eye on HPP’s Facebook and website for updates on events, locations and how you can contribute.