The Active Role of Digital Tools in Immigrants’ Integration

The Conference in Bucharest was organized by the European Academy Association and the Ilfov County Council, within the framework of the project “EU City Digital Strategies for Immigrants’ Integration (EUCIDIN)”. The project was submitted within the programme Europe for Citizens with two important activities, “Democratic engagement & civic participation – getting citizens involved”, and “Networks of towns”, both aiming to encourage the cooperation with other townships and Civil Society Organizations (e.g. NGOs), on a long‑term basis of experience and knowledge sharing.

The Meeting was held from January 24th to January 26thand all of its activities were hosted in Bucharest, Romania.

The conference The Active Role of Digital Tools in Immigrants’ Integration (25th January) was held at the “Louvre Room”, in Capitol Hotel. The conference has a short introduction speech delivered by one of the two hosts, Mr. Andrea Menna, President of European Academy Association.

Mr. Andrea Menna was followed by Ms. Ana Neamțu, Integration Specialist at the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration. She shared with our guests some of the strategies of the institution for which she works, to the purpose of the integration of migrants. She also spoke about the measures taken by the General Inspectorate for Immigration, such as a legal overhaul, and pilot-projects aimed at social integration, the establishment of Regional Centers for Integration, and their Integrated “one-stop-shop” approach. She was followed by Vlad Zaharia, Deputy Director of the International Projects Department at SIVECO Romania, with his lecture, “The Role of eLearning in Immigrants’ Integration in the 21st Century”. Then the floor was taken by Bogdan Gavrilă, Digital Activist, at the Resource Center for Civil Society. In his lecture, named “Tools and Technology for Digital Inclusion of Immigrants”, he addressed issues about humanity, about the differences between the EU and the USA in regard to integration policies, about concepts like European citizenship and the United States of Europe, about creating a community instead of committing immigrants into centers, and about bureaucracy.

Professor Victor Nicolăescu, PhD, addressed some crucial elements in the process of understanding the migration phenomenon, with his lecture, “Social Integration of Migrants in European Union – Local Challenges and Opportunities”. From the decreasing population of Eastern Europe, especially in Romania and Bulgaria, to migration waves, humanitarian aid, etcetera. Mr. Victor Nicolăescu is a reputed researcher in Behavioural Economics, Business Administration and Financial Economics. He boasts an outstanding and long career as an officer with the Romanian National Police and with the Romanian Home Office.

After a short coffee break, the conference continued with an interesting speech held by journalist Mihai Ursu, who works as an international news correspondent for various agencies, and whose career in journalism spans over two decades. His presentation, “Zero Empathy, Zero Tolerance. Immigrants and News Coverage”, tackled the sensitive topic of media stereotyping, fake news, and their effects on democracy. The day was ended by Iulian Chifu, President of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Center Bucharest. Mr. Chifu delivered a compelling speech on information warfare and on truthful information about immigrants. Among many other outstanding accomplishments, Mr. Iulian Chifu also served as counselor to Romania’s President Traian Băsescu.