This year has brought its fair share of changes, however, despite the unforeseen changes, this year also marks a very special day is celebrated for over 70 million deaf and hard of hearing people around the globe. Considering its multilingualism, the United Nations decided in 2017 to establish September 23rd as the International Day of Sign Languages (see resolution).
Now, this decision, although probably late, is not inconsequential. Deafness can be found on a spectrum and, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, about 80% of the community lives in developing countries, adding up to 300 different sign languages. The community itself is sometimes ignored, through political inaction regarding inclusive policies or when it comes to reciprocal societal knowledge. This is, our daily lives are not necessarily welcoming for people on the hearing spectrum, hence the complexity in being held accountable when relating to their community.
However, considering we all take part of a larger community, this day is used as a platform to reflect on how frustrating it must feel not be actively engaged when you are perfectly capable and willing to do s, and yet public policies lack the ability to make you feel that you belong.
And this is precisely the keyword we are looking for: to belong. The right to feel that you belong to that larger community you are contributing to through empathy, reciprocity and respect for diversity.
The latter should be a model of a conscious society that is held accountable for its progression and implements effective inclusiveness, so that we all feel welcomed. In this vein, let September 23rd be a celebration of the deaf and hard of hearing community worldwide and I urge you not to lose the determination that this is a fight for visibility on the continuum, and that public regulations need to be paired up with knowledgeable attitudes.
So let’s get informed, get active and naturalize the fact that languages are a complex array of multiple forms to express valuable ways of seeing life itself.
Written by Santi, our long term ESC Volunteer
What is migration? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “immigrant”? Migration is such a broad word, that sometimes it can lose all meaning.
We tend to group migrants together, but the truth is that behind them there are thousands of stories yet to be told, especially the ones of those who don’t come from certain backgrounds such as what we would call, privileged. This post will be a first approach to a specific type of migration, the journey of those who MUST be protected: MINORS.
There are different kind of migrants with, of course, diverse backgrounds, origins, incentives to abandon their countries, etc. But somehow, the general image of an immigrant tends to be the one of a male adult usually coming from Africa. That’s why is important to raise awareness about the different situations of migrants and the need to highlight those unheard voices.
During the World Summit for Children, UNICEF, in 1990 it was said:
“There is no cause that deserves higher priority than the protection and development of the child, on whom depends the survival, stability and progress of all nations and, indeed, of human civilization.”
According to that statement, infancy should be protected, with independence of the circumstances that surrounds those minors. Problems begin when minors are crossing borders alone and in an “irregular” way. In these situations, unaccompanied minors face inevitable barriers with their hybrid identities, as both illegal aliens and children.
The main issue here, is that there is a whole international protection system that should be there to support them, but at the same time this idea is crashing with the general consideration of how to handle irregular migration.
Is important to keep in mind that these children who are facing irregular migration situations, are at risk. They are mostly exposed to both organized crime and violence, and even violence perpetrated by the authorities working in the borders. Being unaccompanied makes them even more vulnerable, and different countries should take measures to protect these unaccompanied or asylum-seeking children. The United Nations World Summit for Children says that children who migrate alone should be protected but does not dictate what kind of protection method should be followed.
In fact, the European Union has not yet established a common framework for action. There are simply certain legal instruments that do not have direct legal effect. The most common response to the arrival of the unaccompanied minors, is their transfer to common centres, although again depending on the country, there will be distinctions.
In Belgium, there is a specialized protection system in place for children, that will be different from that of minors who were born in the country or children who do not migrate autonomously. The Lisbon Treaty and its Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, was an attempt to move towards unification in Europe. This then to the development of an Action Plan that was approved by the Commission in 2010.
Unfortunately, it still failed to provide the required protection for these children. It is necessary to create a common framework of action for the well-being of children. A framework would notice incorrect procedures and ensure the safety of the unaccompanied minors.
Written by Marta, our long term ESC Volunteer
This post could be one of those philosophical and witty pieces, after which people deduce that what’s about to unravel in front of their very eyes is golden material. Although on second thoughts, those catchy headlines, often utilized in multiple academic and journalistic fields, do not necessarily represent other than a beautiful façade.
Instead, this is an attempt to start from the beginning without much embellishment.
These posts will reflect upon global issues impacting our societies with multiple outcomes. In this vein, the aforementioned reflections do not intend to lecture nor support a specific sided line of thought. Rather, they emerge as a personal view not exempted from exterior influences and a multifaceted identity, at times chaotic, at times contradictory. So, without further ado…
I am from Madrid in Spain, and as Spaniard in the diaspora, I have repeatedly come across the reflection of what migration in any of its forms entails. I have come to the not-so-obvious conclusion that migration is a complex phenomenon incited by multiple reasons among which we could find the economic and/or socio-political as two of the main driving forces.
In my case, as mentioned, I was born in Madrid, Spain. As simplistic as it may sound, it was and has been for a very long time, my unique vital compass, and as long as my reflection upon my own identity would go… This is, I had never thought features such as gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or class could crisscross within the same identity; which is at the same time shaped by circumstances, therefore contingent.
So, when I first had the chance to explore outside of the European bubble and across the Atlantic Ocean, I travelled 8,000 km to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It should not come as a surprise that my personal values shifted the same way the San Andrés Fault has done in the past and it is expected to do so in the coming years.
Therefore, I “became” certain markers such as ‘white, somehow Latino and definitely privileged’. Although I understand these assumptions are made by almost the entire society we navigate in—and eventually benefited my own journey to integration, I came across two markers that had not necessarily shown up back in Spain.
So, linking back to migration as a global issue impacting us all, the question is: How does migration intersect with identity? What are the dynamics by which we transfer our multiple identities through time and space? The once again not-so-obvious-answer has to do with the way each of us manage our identities and its external projections in westernized areas, where the white hetero-patriarchal paradigm can empower or constrain systemically and/or circumstantially to the benefit of a chosen few.
In Albuquerque, my identity was expressed through performativity, body politics and clashing self-image vs outer-assumptions.
A very concrete and idiosyncratic part of the Southwest where Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, Anglo people and a very rich social-ethnic melting pot would emerge to have an idealized and romanticized idea of who a European in general and a Spaniard in particular would embody.
That, however, is clearly not the case in Wales, which has shared history with Spain but does not have the same bonding.
Nonetheless, it is clear that so far, nationality is a social construct that does not necessarily define your identity, but it imprints markers through which you may be seen in multiple contexts. All in all, I have tried to pose various reflections in the hope that they motivate a social debate and help question ourselves for the sake of a knowledgeable coexistence.
Mae Medi 21 yn nodi Diwrnod Heddwch Rhyngwladol – dathlwyd gyntaf ym 1981, ac fe’i harsylwi gan genhedloedd a chymdeithasau sifil yn fyd-eang.
Thema eleni yw ‘Llunio heddwch gyda’i gilydd’ ac mae’n arbennig o feirniadol wrth i’r byd wynebu heriau pandemig COVID.
Yn ogystal â chymryd rhan mewn mentrau byd-eang i greu ‘craeniau papur’ yn nodi Diwrnod Heddwch 2020 gyda phartneriaid gwirfoddoli ieuenctid Canolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru a Cyfnewid UNA yn fyd-eang, bydd y diwrnod hefyd yn cael ei farcio gan 2 brosiect newydd cyffrous sy’n edrych i’r dyfodol : lansio Academi Heddwch, rhwydwaith Academi Heddwch i Gymru; a dechrau rhaglen ymchwil newydd i ‘Hanes Rhyngwladoliaeth Cymru’ rhwng Canolfan Materion Rhyngwladol Cymru, Prifysgolion Aberystwyth ac Abertawe, a rhwydwaith Heddwch yr Academi.
Mae’r fenter Craeniau Papur ar gyfer Heddwch, y mae’r Ganolfan a Cyfnewid UNA yn cymryd rhan ynddo ochr yn ochr â’n partneriaid byd-eang yn y Gynghrair Gwirfoddoli Rhyngwladol, CCIVS ac UNESCO, yn cael ei ysbrydoli gan stori Sadako Sasaki – plentyn a oroesodd o Bomb Niwclear Hiroshima ar Japan. Nod Sadako oedd creu mil o graeniau papur, tra’n dymuno am fyd heb ryfel – ond yn dilyn ei marwolaeth o wenwyn ymbelydredd yn 1955, mae plant (ac oedolion) wedi parhau â’i dymuniad yn fyd-eang hyd heddiw.
Creodd aelodau o dîm a gwirfoddolwyr y Ganolfan, graeniau i ffurfio ‘diadell’ cerflun lliwgar yn adlewyrchu llwybrau heddwch y Ganolfan- 7 thema gweithredu rhyngwladol ( cofio rhyfel, gwrthwynebu gwrthdaro, cynnig noddfa i ffoaduriaid, hyrwyddo menywod a chydraddoldebau, adeiladu undod rhyngwladol, ysbrydoli cenedlaethau’r dyfodol, a chydweithio)
Y mis diwethaf, nodwyd 75 mlynedd ers Hiroshima, a lansiodd y Ganolgan Archifau CND Cymru ar ei gyfer – adnodd newydd ei ddigido i fyfyrwyr ac ymchwilwyr Cymru archwilio’r agwedd gyfoethog hon ar Dreftadaeth Heddwch Cymru.
Dros yr wythnosau nesaf bydd y Deml Heddwch yn ailagor yn raddol i’r cyhoedd ar sail gyfyngedig, ar ôl cau 6 mis dros y clo COVID.
Hoffech chi wneud eich craen bapur eich hun i nodi Diwrnod Heddwch 2020? Dilynwch y cyfarwyddiadau isof fel canllaw – ac wrth i chi fod yn greadigol, meddyliwch am y camau y gallech eu cymryd i adeiladu byd gwell, yn eich cymuned ac fel unigolion.
Our current ESC volunteers are both from Spain. Marta and Santi will be working with the WCIA communications team on a range of projects and events in the upcoming year.
Read more about our volunteers below:
Marta is from Leganés in Madrid, and is excited to learn more about the volunteering and cooperation world.
During her Erasmus+ experience in Slovenia, she realised the importance of global issues and communication between countries.
Marta graduated with a Bachelor degree in International Relations and Sociology, and thought the best way of raising awareness on the importance of volunteering was to join the WCIA.
She enjoys reading, hitting the gym or watching a good TV show. She is enthusiastic about meeting new people and learning about new cultures and looks forward to the year ahead.
Originally from Madrid, Santi will work in the Communications team. He is very excited about this professional adventure at WCIA, and looking forward to learning more from team members and colleagues at the Temple Of Peace.
Santi has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and teaching Spanish as a second language. He has previously worked for various types of traditional media and more recently at the University of New Mexico in the USA.
He enjoys the intersection between culture—with language as its spearhead, and communication as a whole. He strongly believes body politics and identity intersectionality to be the key to cultural bridging and understanding.
At a more personal level, he loves cinema, hiking and learning romantic languages!