April 26, 2023

The legacy of a new international and interdisciplinary joint Master’s Degree on Migration: the final conference of the MIGRANTS Project on May 2nd in Tunis


On May 2nd, more than 100 Tunisian and European participants (academics, researchers, experts and stakeholders) working on migration will meet in the Cité des Sciences in Tunis for the Final Conference of the MIGRANTS project.

This is going to be an opportunity for Universities from Europe and Tunisia to consolidate their cooperation and demonstrate the impacts and results of the project on the occasion of the closing ceremony.

MIGRANTS is a three year Erasmus+ Capacity Building project, funded by the European Commission and carried out for 3 years all over Europe and Tunisia with the aim to reinforce the capacity of the Tunisian higher education system concerning the management of a regular and safe migration.

The opening of the event will start with the speeches of the representatives of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ambassador of the European Union, the Ambassador of Italy, the Presidents of the Tunisian and European Universities, and the representatives of the Project Partners.

This session will be followed by the presentation of the project’s results and main achievements by the academicians and the NGOs.

The project’s main result is the creation of a new joint international and interdisciplinary Master’s Degree “Migration Studies: Governance, Policies and Cultures” between the three Tunisian partner universities: the University of Tunis El Manar, the University of Tunis and the University of La Manouba.

A summary of the project can be consulted here.

50 students are currently enrolled in the Migration Studies Master’s Degree out of more than 200 applications received per year.

The Master’s has been run by 25 professors, scholars and experts from the three Tunisian universities and more than 20 University Professors from the University of Palermo, the University of Westminster and the University of Granada in addition to experts and practitioners in the field of migration from COSPE, CLEDU and other national and international NGOs.

In order to have an impact on the labor market and society, the project has always been strongly committed to strengthen the skills of the teaching staff through a comprehensive training programme, job shadowing, coaching and mentoring activities.

17 weeks of training were organized from September 2020 to May 2021 with the participation of 25 Tunisian Professors and17 European trainers for a total of 128 hours of training.

“The MIGRANTS Project started with an idea. It is like a baby that we nurtured together. It came out of friendship and solid cooperation between the partners. It started in the middle of COVID, but it could survive and thrive thanks to the commitment of the members of the consortium. Now it is bearing its fruit: a bunch of brilliant students equipped with skills for research and careers in the field of migration and a huge, prominent and promising network of Tunisian and European scholars, professors and experts aspiring for further collaboration”, stated Samira Mechri, Project Scientific Coordinator at the University of Tunis El Manar.

Serena Marcenò, MIGRANTS Scientific Responsible and Project Scientific Coordinator at the University of Palermo affirmed that “the MIGRANTS project has been a challenge for all of us. A challenge to put the right to education to the center of international cooperation between universities and civil society. A challenge focused on training in migration studies young people who will be working between Europe and Africa. A challenge for an idea of cooperation between communities, out of the roles of donors and beneficiaries. A challenge by strongly affirming the university’s role as a space for building democracy and rights. A challenge by keeping together teaching, research and cooperation with NGOs, international agencies in a share commitment against emergency discourse and securitarian approach to migrations. We have faced four difficult years, showing how exposure to risk can be faced not through mere management solutions but by keeping the bar straight on the tasks we set: caring for people and communities.

Today, at the end of this extraordinary experience, we can say that we have created the conditions for the sustainability of the MIGRANTS project:  our students, their skills, their knowledge, their critical gaze on the world”.

23 co-teaching mobilities were realized in cooperation with EU partners covering 17 modules in order to share teaching approaches between Tunisian and European professors.

3 summer schools were held in Granada (Spain), in London (UK) and the third one is taking place in July2023 in Palermo (Italy).

31 job shadowing activities involved 16 Tunisian professors in Tunisia, in Spain and in UK counting on the valuable work of a wide range of associations in each country: Terre d’Asile Tunisie, Arab Institute of Human Rights, Avocats Sans Frontières, African Leadership and Development Association, PRODIVERSA, Spanish Red Cross, Agrupación parael Desarrollo en Norte, Migrant Voice, Counterpoints Arts and Bail for Immigrants Detainee(BiD). In addition to that, 3 seminars were organized with civil society organizations in Tunisia.

Furthermore, two academic publications are about to be published focusing on Migrations: socio-cultural contexts and constitution” and “Migrations: governance, policies and rights”.

The project and the Master’s Degree consolidated the cooperation between the three Tunisian universities and the University of Palermo so much that they started a Double Diploma in the academic year 2022-2023.

From the intense work and close cooperation between partners, another cooperation initiative was born. It is the British Academy Writing Workshop “Migrants inTransit: a transdisciplinary writing programme for emerging scholars of migration in Tunisia” Led by the University of Westminster (UK) in partnership with the University of Middlesex University (UK) and University of Tunis El Manar (Tunisia).

The MIGRANTS project, which will officially end on September 14th, 2023, was coordinated by the University of Palermo (Italy) and gathered together Tunisian universities (University of Tunis El Manar, University of Tunis, University of La Manouba), European universities (University of Granada and University of Westminster) and non-academic partners (UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union, COSPE – Cooperation for the development of emerging countries and CLEDU –Legal Clinic for Human Rights).

The event will be held in an hybrid format, at Tunis Science City and streamed online for the benefit of external participants based outside Tunisia.

Further information on the MIGRANTS project and Final Conference is available on the official website www.migrantsproject.eu.

Have a look at the PROGRAMME and download the PRESS RELEASE.

Lastly, do not miss the interview to Prof. Samira Mechri, MIGRANTS Project Scientific Coordinator at the University of Tunis El Manar, who announces the project’s Final Conference at RTCI – Radio Tunis Chaîne Internationale.