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Thanks to thirty years of growing dominant populist discourse on migration, the treatment of migrants has become an electorally toxic issue in many countries. Increasingly repressive policies have been the result of this populist trend. Deaths at sea, detention for the many, intolerable detention conditions, detention of children and families, underground labour markets with exploitative labour conditions, unethical recruitment methods, increasing precariousness of many migrants with temporary status, violence against migrants, toleration of discriminatory practices…, all result from ill-advised conceptions of human mobility across borders.
At the same time, the German “migration crisis” of 2015 has opened the eyes of many. Solidarity movements have emerged. Millions of citizens have contributed to welcoming migrants. NGOs, lawyers, churches are working incessantly to defend the rights of migrants. Labour unions and business associations are speaking up in favour of mobility and diversity. Good media outlets present a much more sophisticated analysis of migration movements and are increasingly critical of populist attitudes. The youth is much less averse to mobility and diversity than older generations, as demonstrated in the Brexit vote.
Migration is a complex issue: it is coextensive to human life itself and is in our species’ DNA. It cannot be reduced to simple answers and populist formulas. One needs to delve into the complexity of human mobility and develop nuanced opinions, informed by the experience and expertise of the migrants themselves.
This 2018 Venice Summer Academy is dedicated to developing such sophisticated analysis, weaving numerous threads: economic gains and costs for countries and individuals; cultural and existential anxieties; labour rights of all workers, including migrants; human rights of all, including migrants; freedom of movement regional zones; limitations of our present conception of representative democracy… It is posited that a liberal approach to well-governed mobility across borders will eventually emerge, when States start developing a strategic vision and operational planning of human mobility over the coming decades, and initiate an international cooperation and development framework that includes mobility as a key pillar.
EIUC reserves the right to alter any specifics related to the programme (e.g. duration, topic, lecturer) should any unforeseen event require it.