Strengthening Human Dignity and Refugees through Dialogue: Frankfurt and Yarmouk University Summer School Insights

Dima Mahjoub, a researcher concerning peacebuilding from JLU Gießen and a member of the Diaspora Network Alliance, recently participated in the International Summer School “Transnationalism and Localization in Social Work,” organized by Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences together with Yarmouk University in Jordan. The event brought together professors, researchers, and students from Germany, Jordan, and Syria to discuss and share experiences on supporting migrants and refugees in their host countries.

Vera Leal, Head of Programs at Arigatou International, who didn’t attend the event but contributed to the discussion later on, emphasizes the importance of upholding human dignity in supporting migrants and refugees. “Human dignity is not just about fulfilling basic needs, but also providing the ability to choose, have voices heard and considered, make decisions, follow paths freely, and reach one’s fullest potential,” says Vera.

Furthermore, she explains, “The safeguarding and upholding of human dignity implies the concrete application of a set of values such as respect, empathy and appreciation of others as human beings, applying attitudes and a mindset that help build wholesome relationships with others in the context of pluralistic societies and cities.”

Vera highlights that social stigma against migrants and refugees can develop from generalized negative perceptions, often exacerbated by misinformation, fake news, isolation, and the politicization of these issues. Over time, these perceptions develop into negative stereotypes, biases, and prejudices that can drive communities to isolate themselves to avoid discrimination.

Dima shares her experiences and interactions with refugees, mainly Syrians who have managed impressively to access Jordanian universities or work as volunteers to help others upon arrival. She was struck by their resilience and determination to contribute positively to society when provided with opportunities and a supportive environment. Dima says, “What strikes me the most in Jordan is the way in which they described their feelings on different occasions as being recognized as respected individuals who were treated with humanity and dignity.” Vera’s perspective on human dignity and recognition complements Dima’s observations, providing a deep understanding of the challenges faced by migrants and refugees.

Dima raises the question of how the EU can ensure the recognition and dignity of refugees in a country with limited resources like Jordan. In the face of such challenges, both Dima and Vera emphasize the importance of promoting dialogue and developing effective social inclusion policies for migrants and refugees.

The Network for Dialogue strives to create opportunities for meaningful interactions among different communities grounded in dialogue and mutual respect, ultimately fostering social cohesion and inclusion through dialogue.

The International Summer School on Transnationalism and Localization in Social Work has provided valuable insights and inspiration for the Network for Dialogue and its members. By sharing experiences and promoting dialogue among diverse communities, the Network aims to create a more inclusive and cohesive society where migrants and refugees are empowered to reach their fullest potential.

Through collaborative efforts and a continued focus on upholding human dignity, the Network for Dialogue will continue to work towards fostering social inclusion, building trust, and enhancing the abilities of different communities to live together harmoniously.

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