Event: Day Conference: New Scots: Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers:
Welcoming the World - Extending our World: Towards a Welcoming and Inclusive Scotland.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.
Date: Saturday 29 June 2019.
Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Day Conference: 10am-5pm.
Event Description: This day conference will explore themes associated with New Scots: Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers.


Event: Day Conference:

New Scots: Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers:
Welcoming the World - Extending our World:
Towards a Welcoming and Inclusive Scotland.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church,
41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.

Date: Saturday 29 June 2019.

Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am.
Day Conference: 10am-5pm.

Organised by Edinburgh International Centre
for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP,
Scottish Charity, SC038996, www.eicsp.org

Conference: 9.30am-5pm.

9.30am-10am: Arrival and Registration.

10am-10.10am: Introduction and Welcome: Dr Ian Wight.

10.10am-10.30am: Plenary address: Dr Alison Strang.

Bio: Alison Strang is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. A psychologist by background, for the last twenty years she has worked with people who for complex reasons have felt forced to move from their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. Alison’s work has taken her to diverse parts of the world to study the ways in which individuals and communities respond to stress, and to develop effective ways to support their resilience. Her work in mental health and wellbeing is used by humanitarian and development organisations to help communities to rebuild their own lives.

In addition to engagement in the humanitarian context, Alison has devoted much of her energy to addressing the needs of refugees resettling in new countries. Her research focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of refugees themselves, as well as wellbeing across whole communities affected by migration. She is known particularly for the development of the ‘Indicators of Integration framework’ (Ager & Strang, 2008) which has been used globally to shape refugee integration policy and practice. (Updated and relaunched by the Home Office and Ministry for Communities and Local Government in June 2019 to facilitate integration and social cohesions policy and practice.) This early research identified the central importance of social connections in people’s sense of integration and wellbeing.  So in recent years Alison has studied the role and patterns of social networks for refugees and those communities receiving refugees. She has a particular passion for developing research methods that enable people to build their own knowledge about themselves. Her tool for mapping community social connections that contribute to coping and resilience has been applied in resettlement and humanitarian contexts.

For the past twenty years Alison has been very active in Scottish life working with community organisations, civic and third sector organisations and Scottish Government. From 2013 to 2018, Alison chaired the implementation of the Scottish refugee integration strategy, ‘New Scots’. This collaborative strategy, led by Scottish Government, Scottish Refugee Council and Scottish local authorities, involved a wide range of public sector, third sector and community stakeholders. She is an advisor on social cohesion and refugee integration policy and practice across the UK including to the UK Home Office Greater London Authority and Scottish Government.

10.30am-10.40am: Discussion.

10.40am-11am: Plenary address: Prof Joe Goldblatt.

Title: The True Joy of Life.

Description: Our plenary speaker immigrated with his family to Scotland 12 years ago. Since that time he has travelled from the margins of Scottish society to the centre including having his own clan tartan designed and registered as the first in Scottish history with his surname. He has been a leader in the Scottish independence movement and also within the national Jewish community. He firmly believes that the nation that adopted him and his family and produced his first grandchild, Hamish, must continue to be a welcoming and inclusive place for many generations to come in order to thrive and flourish in the future.

Bio: Professor Joe Goldblatt is Professor Emeritus of Planned Event Studies at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He has been involved in the professional meetings and events industry for over 40 years.  He was the founding president of the 5000 member International Special Events Society and the developer of the original internationally recognized Certified Special Events Professional qualification.

He has produced hundreds of events for luminaries including U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and the opening of the Donald Trump Taj Mahal Resort. He is the author and editor of over 30 books in the field of planned events.  His book, Special Events, The Art and Science of Celebration, was the first text book in event management and has been in continuous publication through eight editions for over 30 years. He is the recipient of four lifetime achievement awards, two awards for teaching from the students at Queen Margaret University and holds honorary professorships at two Chinese universities.

Joe and his wife Nancy are the parents of Max and Sam and the grandparents of their grandson, Hamish.

11am-11.10am: Discussion.

11.10am-11.30am: Tea/coffee break.

11.30am-11.50am: Plenary address: Roza Salih.

Bio: Roza Salih is a human rights activist based in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2005, at the age of 15, she co-founded the Glasgow Girls with fellow pupils from Drumchapel High School. The Glasgow Girls campaigned to stop the UK Border Agency carrying out dawn raids and detaining and then deporting children, successfully preventing the deportation of their school friend, Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma from Kosovo.

Roza arrived in Scotland in 2001 to seek asylum. Her family had fled Kurdistan in Northern Iraq after her grandfather and two uncles had been executed for opposing Saddam Hussein, who was still in power.

She attended Drumchapel High School, and then graduated with honours in Law and Politics from Strathclyde University in 2013 where she was also Vice President for Diversity and Advocacy for the Students Association. Elected to the National Union of Students’ International Students Committee and the NUS UK Student trustee board.

Whilst still a pupil at Drumchapel High School, Roza Salih campaigned with school friends to stop the UK Border Agency carrying out dawn raids, taking school children to detention and then deporting them. As well as lobbying the Scottish Government and the Home Office, the Glasgow Girls, as they became known, developed an early warning system with friends and neighbours to alert one another about raids by immigration officers.

In 2016 she worked with the Scottish Refugee Council and Education Strategy Commission to campaign for funding for scholarships for asylum seekers.

In 2017, she stood as a Scottish National Party candidate in the Glasgow City Council election, but was not elected.

She is co-founder of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan and has travelled to Kurdish regions in Turkey as part of a delegation of trade unionists and human rights activists.

She works in the constituency office of Chris Stephens, the Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow South West.

A musical of the Glasgow Girls was co-produced by The National Theatre of Scotland, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Citizens Theatre and Richard Jordan Productions. Written by David Greig and directed and composed by Cora Bissett, it premiered at The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow in 2012. In the original 2012 cast, the part of Roza Salih was played by Amiera Darwish.

In 2017 she was honoured by the Saltire Society as an Outstanding Woman of Scotland.

11.50am-12pm: Discussion.

12pm-12.20pm: Plenary address: Jon Busby.

Bio: Jon Busby, Community Development and Events Manager, Welcoming Association.

Jon has worked in the field of community learning and development for over 33 years to develop and manage a range of services and also collaborate on initiatives and development of policies and strategies to support, help integrate and build the capacity of a wide range of refugee, migrant, minority ethnic communities in South London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

1986–1987. Started as community worker in a Social Work team in Kingston-upon-Thames, London working with disadvantaged communities of adults, children and young people in 1986.
1987-1989. Managed a community centre in Peckham, South London to deliver services to disadvantaged and marginalised adults and young people from local and minority ethnic communities.
1989-1994.Jointly managed the London Borough of Southwark’s adventure play services for children and young people from local indigenous and minority ethnic communities living in socially deprived and economically disadvantaged areas of South London.
1994. Managed Moray House Institute of Education’s National Play Service to develop an SVQ Centre for Play-work and it’s training and information services.  
1995-1996. Managed Strathclyde Regional Council’s play-scheme services for children and young people in local Scottish and minority ethnic communities throughout Glasgow city-wide.
1996–2004. Managed education and employment services for Scottish Refugee Council supporting asylum seekers and refugees including refugee theatre project, ‘IkaZe’ to raise awareness with schools and communities in Edinburgh and Glasgow to welcome refugees and challenge hate crime.
1994–1995. Managed multi-agency holistic opportunities programme in North Edinburgh for disadvantaged Scottish and minority ethnic communities experiencing long-term unemployment.
1995-1996. Managed ‘Yard’ project for 12 months to develop services to support Scottish and minority ethnic children and young people with a range of disabilities.
2006-2018. Managed the Welcoming Association (Adult Learning Project 1996 to 2011) to deliver a wide range of services and social and cultural integration activities for asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and minority ethnic communities.  Currently organisation is a partner with the City of Edinburgh Council’s Syrian Resettlement Programme and the Keep Scotland Beautiful climate challenge programme. In January 2019 stepped down as Director of Welcoming to become Community Development and Events Manager to develop and encourage partnerships with similar Edinburgh organisations working with refugee, migrant and minority ethnic communities.

12.20pm-12.30pm: Discussion.

12.30pm-12.50pm: Plenary address: Dr Emma Hill / Mohamed Omar.

Bio: Emma Hil is a Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. She gained her PhD from Heriot-Watt University in 2017. Her doctoral thesis, entitled Somali Voices in Scotland: Who Speaks? Who Listens? was awarded the MacFarlane Prize for outstanding contribution to research. She is currently part of the research team for the cross-European JPI Urban/Horizon 2020 GLIMER (Governance and Local Integration of Migrants and Europe’s Refugees) Project and is an Associate Editor for Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power Journal.

Bio: Mohamed Omar is Policy and Development Officer (Refugees) at the Mental Health Foundation which enables delivery of change working with partners including individuals, groups and communities to support and empower them. International relations and legal qualifications provides Mohamed with his critical thinking approach. He has a proven record of communicating and influencing stakeholders from Scottish Government officials to community activists and service users. Mohamed is of Somali origin, a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a Board member at Scottish Refugee Council.

12.50pm-1pm: Discussion.

1pm-2.15pm: Lunch.

2.15pm-2.35pm: Plenary address: Graham Campbell.

2.35pm-2.45pm: Discussion.

2.45pm-3.05pm: Plenary address: Moh Al-Haifi.

Title: Art as a medium of eliminating refugee and asylum seeker misconceptions | COLOURS of Edinburgh.

Dscription: COLOURS of Edinburgh is a student and graduate led initiative creating a platform for refugees in Scotland to share their stories through art.

The organisation holds primary and secondary research and interviews newcomers in Scotland who want to share their journey, their success stories, their struggles and their views that they help amplify through a creative and digital approach - both as physical events and a strong online presence.

Their long term mission is to aid in eliminating refugee and asylum seeker misconceptions through research, digital media and art.

Bio: Originally from Yemen, Moh grew up in Bonn, Germany, then decided to study business management in Napier University in Edinburgh four years ago. Moh then discovered the power of creativity and business acumen within the context of social and environmental change. He now works with multiple creative and socially beneficial Edinburgh based enterprises and continues to lead COLOURS of Edinburgh on a voluntary basis. 

3.05pm-3.15pm: Discussion.

3.15pm-3.30pm: Tea/coffee break.

3.30pm-3.50pm: Plenary address: Pinar Aksu.

Bio: Pinar Aksu is a Human Rights Activist and works with Maryhill Integration Network as a Development Officer in Glasgow, and with Active Inquiry using Theatre of the Oppressed methods. She has been involved with asylum and refugee rights since a young age. She is involved and a committee member at the Right to Remain, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Stand Up to Racism Scotland.

3.50pm-4pm: Discussion.

4pm-4.20pm: Plenary address: Abdul Bostani.

Title: Refugees: the Vulnerable People.

Bio: Abdul Bostani is Chair of Glasgow Afghan United.

Abdul is graduated from University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) in Accountancy and Finance and currently studies for a Masters in Community Development at the University of Glasgow. 

To date he has worked for various organisations as freelance as well as currently working at Glasgow City Council Linguistics Department.

For the last 6 years Abdul Bostani has been the Chairperson of Glasgow Afghan United and the Chair of Scottish Unity Football League, which are community led organisations for the Afghans and diverse EM third Sector in Scotland. Abdul’s experience covers a wide range of roles and responsibilities related to Race Equality, Asylum Seekers and Refugees Rights, Human Rights Education and Participative Democracy, Active Citizenship, Policy Development, Community Re-generation and Consultancy.

4.20pm-4.30pm: Discussion.

4.30pm: Summing up: Dr Ian Wight.

Bio: Dr Ian Wight PhD FCIP GTB was a professional planner, and then an educator of planners, in Canada for four decades. Currently enjoying some retirement-cum-refirement years in his native land, he engages in a range of inquiries in the arenas of placemaking, conviviality and wellbeing, especially as they relate to the conference sub-themes. An aspiring integral practitioner and committed life-long learner he is also approaching the day conference as an opportunity to explore the prospects for more world-centric perspective-taking and greater take-up of interest in the importance of ‘inter-work’ – between our ‘outer’ work and ‘inner’ work. How might we become really good at being really welcoming?


New Scots

NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.

Cost: £10/£8 (Concessions)/£3 (Students). For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0131 331 4469.

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