On the 6th of February Dr Zana Vathi was invited to give a talk as part of the monthly meetings of WorldWide Wednesdays, alongside other migration stakeholders in the region. The event aimed to increase awareness on migrants and refugees in the North West by drawing on Liverpool’s long history of (im)migration. It was also focused on collecting donations for a local charity – Warm Welcome – that works to welcome refugees and improve their initial experience in the local communities where they settle.
Zana’s talk focused on EU nationals’ sense of betrayal after Brexit vote and their mobilisation. She outlined the key findings on the change of attitudes among EU nationals and the many instances of increase of awareness and engagement with UK and EU politics. Her fieldwork in Liverpool was facilitated by different stakeholders and leaders of pro-EU lobbies in Liverpool, as well as the generous and proactive attitude of many ‘ordinary’ EU nationals that live in the city. She made reference to their lived experience, closing with a strong message on the importance of the mobilisation of the EU nationals for the future relations of the UK with the EU member states and EU institutions.
Among the speakers was Ms Nadine Daniel BEM, National Refugee Welcome Coordinator. Her talk was focused on the role of faith-based organizations in the UK. She emphasised the massive contribution of the church in welcoming refugees in the country, while the social protection from the state has retracted.
Lauren Cape-Davenhill of the Right to Remain group spoke about the enormous challenges that asylum seekers face due to their deportability – a fascinating talk that emphasised the importance of reception of formerly detained migrants from communities.
A young refugee – Yaman Awaz who is Member of Schools’ Parliament, summarised the international response to the Syrian crisis. Despite his young age, he offered specialist analysis of the international law framework and inconsistencies in the interventions in Syria, highlighting the cost for civilians, communities, and the physical environment.
The evening closed with an endearing and inspiring talk by Gordon Pennington, Our Warm Welcome Charity. He shared his experience of trying to provide a positive experience to the new-coming refugees and the well-wishing attitude of the locals, despite the negative political discourse and the competing discourses in the North West.
Dr Zana Vathi is a Reader in Social Sciences at Edge Hill University.
Zana specialises in migration studies and has been doing interdisciplinary research in this field since 2005.