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March 3, 2023

Building Inclusive Societies: Symposium at the Daisaku Ikeda Joint Research Institute for Education and Development, Spain

IEDDAI symposium on Building Inclusive Societies for supporting refugees
Symposium participants from left to right, Ali Al Rubaye, Almudena López Morillas, Ana Belén García Varela, Chad Hoggan, Tetyana Hoggan-Kloubert and Laura Caputo (interpreter)

On March 3, 2023, the Daisaku Ikeda Joint Research Institute for Education and Development (IEDDAI) and the Spanish Commission for Refugee Assistance (CEAR) co-organized a symposium titled “Building Inclusive Societies: Living Together in a Migration Society,” at the University of Alcalá (UAH), Spain. The event, open to the public and broadcast live via the UAH YouTube channel, sought to contribute to raising awareness about the phenomenon of migration and the ways in which migrants and refugees are being supported in real contexts.

In her opening remarks, IEDDAI Deputy Director Ana Belén García Varela explained that a key source of inspiration for the event was Daisaku Ikeda’s January 11, 2023, statement on the crisis in Ukraine. Chad Hoggan and Tetyana Hoggan-Kloubert, professors at North Carolina University, USA, and Augsburg University, Germany, respectively, and coeditors of the recent book Adult Learning in a Migration Society, then shared their firsthand experiences of the conflict in Ukraine, Professor Hoggan-Kloubert’s home country, and presented a project they are working on for the support of Ukranian refugees in Augsburg.

Next, Almudena López Morillas of CEAR, a Spanish NGO defending the rights of refugees, stateless persons and migrants, described efforts in cooperation with municipalities in Madrid to provide support to refugees, such as through language classes and employment initiatives. She introduced Ali Al Rubaye, originally from Iraq, who shared his own experience of the challenges faced by people forced to leave their countries and begin a new life in another culture and language environment.

Among the conclusions drawn from the talk was the fact that being human means being active and that, in this sense, migrants should be seen as people who are not only looking for help but who need to feel useful and to actively contribute to society. It was also emphasized that people are not vulnerable per se—it is situations that make us vulnerable.

The IEDDAI, established in 2019 within the Faculty of Education of the University of Alcalá in cooperation with Soka University of Japan, focuses its research on Soka education and its application, compiling and publishing educational material for the classroom, as well as holding symposiums and training programs.

[Adapted from an article in the March 15, 2023, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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