May 4, 2023

For a different narrative of migration: the MIGRANTS project’s Final Conference in Tunis


The Final Conference of the MIGRANTS project took place on the 2nd May 2023 at Cité des Sciences in Tunis.

It was a unique opportunity to bring together all the partners and institutional representatives to present the results of the project, to underline the importance of the project in Tunisia, and to share expectations for the future. More than 100 people, Tunisians and Europeans, academics, researchers, experts and representatives of labor market and civil society working in the field of migration, attended the event and shared the opportunity to celebrate this pivotal event.

In addition to all the Rectors of Tunisian and European partner universities and representatives of all project partners., the conference counted on a number of valuable contributions. It was attended by Matthew Forman, Representative of the British Embassy in Tunisia, Fabrizio Saggio, Ambassador of Italy in Tunis, the Coordinator of the Erasmus Plus office in Tunisia, Nesrine Baklouti, and representatives from the local branch of IOM – International Organisation for Migration.

MIGRANTS is a three year Erasmus+ capacity building project, funded by the European Commission, which aims to reinforce the capacity of the Tunisian higher education system concerning the management of a regular and safe migration. It is coordinated by the University of Palermo (Italy) and gathers together three Tunisian universities (University of Tunis El Manar, University of Tunis and University La Manouba), European universities (University of Granada and University of Westminster) and non-academic partners, namely UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union, COSPE – Cooperation for the development of emerging countries and CLEDU – the Human Rights Clinic of Palermo

The project’s main objective was an interdisciplinary Joint Master’s Degree “Migration Studies: Governance, Policies and Cultures” between the three Tunisian partner universities, which is currently involving 50 international students.

In order to have an impact on the labour market and society, the project strengthened the skills of the teaching staff through a comprehensive programme of training, job shadowing, coaching and mentoring activities. Throughout the day, the variety of activities was explained in details, its outcomes examined, the wide range of actors involved presented, giving value to the diversified range of stakeholders who contributed at its own title to the success of the project.

“Migrants Project is one of the most successful project that won the Erasmus+ grant in Tunisia due to the dynamics within the consortium and the cooperative spirit between the partners. The achievements of the project in terms of creation of the Master’s degree in Migration Studies: more than 200 applications, 25 students per year from various disciplines such as economics, law, international relations, communication, business and management, social and human sciences and English; a double degree just started and a network in the field of migration was consolidated; new projects are being discussed. Moreover, this project helps in fostering “cultural awareness” about the political, media and public opinion discourse about migration, given the local, regional and global challenges”, stated the Scientific Coordinator for University of Tunis El Manar, Prof. Samira Mechri.

Regarding the MA students and the creation of the Master, the Scientific Director and Coordinator of the project from University of Palermo, Prof. Serena Marcenò, said that: “Migrants has been working to train, study, research and work so that the youngest generations have the tools to develop a different and contrasting vision compared to the current security drift in the governance of migratory flows. And this is our sustainability, the knowledge, the skills, our students’ critical gaze on the present”.

In the greetings addressed to the partners and to the public, the Italian Ambassador in Tunis, Fabrizio Saggio, said: “All projects focused on training are supported by the Embassy of Italy and the Italian government, because this is how we can give future to young people. I hope that the results will be lasting and will allow students, Tunisian ones and others, to access the labour market with appropriate tools”.

The role of academic training and civil society in generating change towards a different narrative of migration has been repeatedly stressed by several actors participating to the conference. These are the words of the Coordinator of Erasmus+ in Tunisia, Nesrine Baklouti: “Higher education is crucial in the transition to inclusive societies. For this reason, universities must continue to work to capitalise on best practice in the future. The most important thing now is the sustainability and continuity of the project”.

Within the activities of the project, the team of the University of Palermo, led by Professor Serena Marcenò, will organize the last Summer School, which will be held in the prestigious setting of the Botanical Garden of Palermo from 10 to 13 July.

The “Migrants” project will officially end on 14 September 2023.


Moreover, during our Final Conference, the National TV Télévision tunisienne interviewed the Rector of the Université de Tunis El Manar Moez Chafra, our Scientific Responsible and Project Scientific Coordinator Professor Serena Marcenò of the University of Palermo and our Project Scientific Coordinator of the Université de Tunis El Manar Professor Samira Mechri. Watch here their interviews to know more about the project results and the cooperation between the universities into the frame of Erasmus Plus funding programme. Have a look at the Photogallery here and consult the post-event press release here.

Curious about the work UNIMED does in the framework of MIGRANTS? Keep reading the interview!