CERMES (Center for European Refugee, Migration and Ethnic Studies) organized a thematic week ‘Diversity and Migration’ in occasion of December 18, International Migrants Day, in New Bulgarian University with the support of the MATILDE project. Science, teaching and art opened various horizons for understanding the links of migration with development and rights, for sharing innovative policies and practices from the world, Europe and Bulgaria, for building an interdisciplinary community.

The series of events started with a public lecture ‘Mobile Balkans: From Migration Crises To The Connection Migration And Development’’ that was held by prof. Anna Krasteva. On 15 December, students from the migration courses of the Department of Political Science in NBU paid a field visit to the office of the International Organization for Migration and had a meeting with Dr. Radoslav Stamenkov, International Organization for Migration (IOM) representative in Bulgaria and IOM staff.  

'Faces of diversity' exhibition

On 17 December the photography exhibition ‘Faces of Diversity’ was opened at New Bulgarian University. The authors of the photos are Vanina Ninova, a young researcher and member of the Bulgarian team of MATILDE, and Ivan Atanasov, editor-in-chief of the local media Sakarnews.

The exhibition presents photography of migrants from Harmanli and the Haskovo region and 10 of a total of 30 stories of foreigners from 13 countries living and working in southeastern Bulgaria. Some of the ‘faces of diversity’ that are presented are refugees from Afghanistan and Chad as well as English, Dutch, Swiss, Scottish and Zimbabwean migrants that have found peace in their new homes in the Bulgarian countryside.

The photo exhibition was opened by Assoc. Prof. Evelina Staykova, Head of the Department of political sciences in NBU and a member of the MATILDE team. Representatives of stakeholders like IOM and Ombudsman attended the opening. A special guest of the event was the Palestinian poet, writer and translator Hairi Hamdan, who presented some of his poems in Bulgarian.

Prof. Anna Krasteva, leader of the Bulgarian team of MATILDE, shares about the exhibition:

A bouquet of cultures and unique personal stories, diverse, sometimes dramatic, sometimes exotic experiences on global and local roads, meetings, bridges, dialogues – this is how I synthesize the European project with the beautiful name MATILDE for migration and local development. Its creative and beautiful expression is the exhibition ‘Faces of Diversity’, in which the authors with a camera and pen tell us about meetings with migrants in Harmanli and the Sakar villages.

The guests of the event were invited to take part in a Migration Coffee where gathered to exchange and generate ideas.

To watch a video reportage of the opening of the exhibition in Bulgarian, click here.

The new series ‘Faces of diversity’ in the national media on human rights and the local media Sakarnews started the same week. It presents portraits and interviews with migrant and refugees from the MATILDE region.

The photo exhibition at Sofia MENAR Film Festival

The exhibition ‘Faces of Diversity’ was presented for the second time during the opening event of Sofia MENAR Film Festival organized by IOM Bulgaria in the G8 Cultural Center in Sofia. Sofia MENAR Film Festival is a film festival that introduces the Bulgarian audience to the culture and traditions of the Islamic world.

The opening during which the photo exhibition ‘Faces of diversity’ was presented was followed by a screening of the Uzbek film “Waves of Love” (“Aydinlar”).

All these various diverse participatory and creative activities aim at impacting the public space at both local and national level in the spirit of intercultural dialogue, empowerment of both natives and migrants and co-creating of the local community.