The 2018 VSPS Annual Program „Perceptions of migration in the Visegrad Group” (VSPS Migration Program) is designed to influence and shape the public debate on migration in Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. During 4 sessions, the program takes 20 young leaders to 4 cities in 3 countries, where they will attend workshops, discussions and meetings covering different aspects of migration.
The VSPS Migration Program will gather 20 participants – social activists, young journalists, promising politicians and representatives of NGO etc. – from Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, who have a proven track record of involvement and engagement within their community, demonstrating leadership potential and a desire to take an active role in positively shaping the world around them.
The VSPS Migration Program is a full-scholarship initiative, covering workshops, materials, certificates, accommodation, meals, flights to and from Strasbourg and partially covering other travel expenses.
The goals of the VSPS Migration Program are threefold:
to deepen the participants’ knowledge on the issue of migration, develop their ability to identify and solve the complex challenges facing Central European societies, as well as enhance their capacity to shape and strengthen the democratic processes in their respective countries;
to share different perspectives on migration between Visegrad Group and Germany and discuss their root causes;
to influence the younger generation by conducting meetings with high school students and providing them with unbiased view of the migration crisis, as well as presenting them with a forum to express their own views, doubts and thoughts.
The program is organized within the framework of the Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe and the project was supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
WORKSHOP SESSIONS (Warsaw, 11 – 15 June 2018 & Kraków, 18 – 20 January 2019)
The two workshops sessions for the participants will include meetings with key actors of the migrant crisis: government officials, border guards, experts and journalists, humanitarian workers, as well as migrants themselves. Moreover, they will analyze the phenomenon of migration from several perspectives: historical, economic, political, legal, social and cultural. During lectures and meetings on: History and origins of migrations, EU and national migration policies, Political, social and economic developments in MENA region and others, the participants will discuss in depth various points of view. Additionally, in Kraków, the young leaders will have a chance to share some of their knowledge as well as become exposed to ideas coming from a wider public during an international student conference on migration.
WORLD FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY (Strasbourg, 19 – 21 November 2018) The participants of VSPS will attend the World Forum for Democracy in Strasburg, organized by the Council of Europe. Additional meetings held during the Forum will bring together participants from Visegrad Group, Germany, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey in order to fight misconceptions, combat hate-speech and open each side to the arguments of the other.
To find out more about the World Forum for Democracy, please click HERE.
MEETINGS IN SCHOOLS (September 2018 – March 2019)In the period from September 2018 to March 2019 each of the participants will go to 2 high schools of their choosing, not only to present an overview of the migrants crisis (origins, development, humanitarian issues etc.), but more importantly to engage the students in a dialogue – listen to their opinions, experience and fears to explain any misinformation or fallacies, as well as counter commonly used stereotypes with reliable data. We will provide the participants with scenarios to use innovative methods of non-formal education inspired by Compass, the manual on human rights education for young people published by the Council of Europe. This approach will combine a verified method with a new approach to discussing issues such as tolerance and multiculturalism with young people.
ROUNDTABLE IN BERLIN (13 – 14 May 2019) The Berlin roundtable will be an occasion to sum up the project as well as to present the results of the 2-year report based on data collected during the two editions of the program (2017 – 2019). The VSPS participants, along with experts from Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will engage in dialogue with German experts to compare and contras attitudes and approaches towards migration.
Deadline for applications: 16 May 2018
Citizenship of one of the following countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland or Slovakia;
Minimum 23 years of age;
Minimum 2 years of working experience and proven track history of involvement and engagement within their community (i.e. involvement in the NGO sector, student unions, local and national political parties);
English language competency: C1;
Participants must submit the online application form, including CV and Letter of motivation.
The ideal candidate demonstrates a desire to take an active role in positively shaping the world around them.
Candidates will be selected based on the information provided in their online application forms and a phone/skype interview.
Kata Balint is a recent graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, where she studied for a Master of Science degree in Political Psychology. She acquired her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Communication from Roskilde University. She currently works at Dialogue for Hungary, a green political party, where her duties involve conducting desk research, policy analysis and assisting at political events. Previously, she worked as a research intern at Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis and Political Capital Policy Research & Consulting Institute, where she was involved with research projects on youth political participation, anti-Roma prejudices and European social and employment policies.
Paula Beger is a PhD student in Political Science at Leipzig University. In her research, she analyses the change of the Visegrád’s asylum policy since the EU accession phase. She wrote publications elaborating on the Hungarian asylum and refugee policy in the crisis (Südosteuropa Mitteilungen), the Visegrad group contesting the European relocation and resettlement mechanism (ZfVP) and the Czech migration policy (Volume edited by Astrid Lorenz und Hana Formánková). Furthermore, she holds seminars about the Europeanization in Central Eastern Europe at the Institute for Political Science in Leipzig. She further enriches her seminar with guest lecturers from the Central Eastern European region. As a fellow of the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) Program, in which she participates since 2016, she was currently elected member of the board of the local association of Sylff Fellows ALUS.
Eva Čivrná is a student of gender studies and social anthropology under the Department of sociology at Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Republic. They is a Women Deliver Young Leader class of 2018 focusing on gender and social equality. While they is a member of student association Gender kolektiv, they works as a lecturer in Amnesty International focusing on migration and humans rights. In NGO Nesehnutí they is also a lecturer of workshops related to body autonomy and gender-based violence, using methods of gender-sensitive education and feminist pedagogy. Except lecturing Eva is also cooperating with various NGOs and is involved in several projects and publication activities.
Jan Charvát is a graduate student of Comparative History at the Central European University in Budapest. Originally from Karlovy Vary, he studied in Germany and Poland and completed his BA in international relations and European studies at the Masaryk University in Brno. During his studies, he worked as an assistant political analyst focusing on the Polish foreign policy. His research focus is on romantic nationalist myths and various instrumentalizations of perceptions of the ‘non-European’ other within Central European literary and political works. His most recent work engages in a triangular comparison of Czech, Polish and Serbian historiographical narratives.
Zuzanna Grejner works as a trainee in an office of a Member of the European Parliament, dealing mostly with the activities of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. During her traineeship at the European Commission, she supported the unit responsible for the protection and promotion of the citizenship rights and free movement of persons in the EU. She is a graduate of Law, American Studies, and Centre for American Law at the University of Warsaw. She also studied international and European law at Utrecht University and liberal arts at the University of Florida. In the period between 2012 and 2016, she worked with the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation on organizing the yearly European Meetings. She gained her professional experience also through interning for law firms and the American Embassy in Warsaw. As a volunteer, she was involved in several NGOs, such as The Good Lobby in Brussels and Congress of Women in Poland.
Katarzyna Grodzka is a law student at University of Lodz (Poland), currently enrolled in Master in European Law program at University of Luxembourg. Additionally, she works as a research assistant in the interdisciplinary research unit in humanities and social sciences. Her academic activities and interests, as well as professional experience, concentrate around the topic of human rights and international humanitarian law with a specific focus on migration issues. Katarzyna had an opportunity to work in UNHCR centres located in Turkey, coordinating activities with Syrian and Afghan refugees and facilitating their integration process in Turkish society. She was also a national researcher in Legal Research Group on Migration Law ELSA in cooperation with Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, preparing report on the topic of relevant policies and legal tools on integration of migrants within Europe. Katarzyna, as a holder of Students’ Research Grant, was actively conducting research in the topic of counter-terrorism legislations in European countries and possible threat for human rights abuses, her project included study visit at Maynooth University in Ireland. Katarzyna conducted internship in the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland in the Constitutional, European and International Law Department and the Embassy of Poland in Luxembourg.
Agnieszka Guziewicz is a senior-year student at the Faculty of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw, currently working on the thesis concerning the discourse analysis of the Standing Rock Reservation Protest, which aims to raise awareness and people’s engagement in discourses that target social justice. She is enrolled in the Academy of Young Diplomats with specialization “International Organizations”. Within the Student Union she is responsible for providing information and support for students as the Exchange-Program Supervisor. As a member of the Scientific Group For Human Rights she co-organizes and takes part in scientific meetings. As an Amnesty International volunteer, she regularly plans and takes action in team’s activities. Agnieszka is an assistant scout leader in the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association and works as an English and German teacher at British School.
Attila Hromada is a student of the Free University of Berlin, studying East European Studies (MA). He has completed his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from BISLA, Bratislava. He was a trainee at EUROCLIO in the Hague and was responsible for creating learning materials with a multiperspective approach. He completed a traineeship at the Bundestag in Berlin specializing on the issues of the EU and is involved in some projects of the European Academy of Berlin and the Model European Union events. Since 2015 he is publishing articles for a Hungarian-Slovak journal called Katedra, focusing on civic education and minorities in classrooms. Last year he has co-founded an initiative called “Living Abroad: Ukrainian Migrants in Poland”.
Adéla Jurečková is currently working as communication and advocacy officer of the Migration Awareness Program in the Prague-based NGO People in Need. The central activities of People in Need are humanitarian help, development assistance and human rights, while the Migration Awareness Program focuses on the public and media debate about migration in Czech Republic. Its activities include seminars about migration for journalists and journalism students, organizing public debates and publishing own analytical work. Adéla studied political science and sociology in Germany and worked in PR and communications, e. g. for the Goethe-Institute and the German Embassy in Prague. Her professional interest lies in the field of journalism and communications, combating stereotypes and building media and advocacy strategies. Alumna of the International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) Program at the German Bundestag.
Jan Košák, a fresh and prospective politician with five years of experience in politics, working in European Parliament, organising campaigns and leading many projects. Member of Social-Democratic party of Czech Republic, Young Social-Democrats and think-tank Masaryk Democratic Academy. Within ČSSD he is Campaign manager advisor and member of the central committee for EU affairs. He is specializing in EU foreign policy. He is graduate of University of Ostrava (Czech Republic) and has working and studying experience on FSU Florida state university and UCV Catholic university Valencia. He is a member of The Ones to Watch program for future European Leaders of Central and Eastern Europe. Jan is working as a project manager and event organizer, and he is trying to change the world.
Dominika Majchrzak is a graduate of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. During her studies, she was a member of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA Poland, Poznań). Studied also at the Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. In June 2014 she completed School of American Law in Wroclaw in cooperation with the Chicago-Kent College of Law. From October 2016 until February 2017 she was a trainee in the European Parliament in Brussels (Robert Schuman traineeship). Currently works as an office clerk in the Wielkopolska Voivodship Office (WUW) in Poznan. In WUW she is responsible for conducting administrative proceedings in matters related to granting foreigners temporary residence permits.
Michal Markiewicz-Al Saeedi
Michal Markiewicz-Al Saeedi graduated his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from RWTH Aachen University (Germany) with distinction from the Robert Bosch Foundation. He is an awardee of numerous prestigious scholarships – Government Scholarship (The City of Wroclaw), European Union’s Motivational Scholarship, Geh-Deinen-Weg (Germany Foundation), Rochus-Beatryche-Mummert (Robert Bosch), etc. to name a few. He serves the eminent Robert Bosch Foundation as Spokesman & President of Organizational Development since 2015. He is an experienced entrepreneur and multilingual person, well versed in English, Polish, German and can communicate in Arabic and Russian as well. At present, he is working as a Technology Consulting Business Analyst at Accenture in Munich and Lisbon. He gained his entrepreneurial experience while leading the family business NOOR (www.noor.pl) and supporting several governmental projects outside of Europe (e.g. China, UAE).
Astrid Müller has a Master’s degree in Social and Communication Science and a Master of Evaluation. She worked as an evaluator at the social research institute uzbonn and as a local journalist for the editorial office of the General-Anzeiger. When she started working for VENRO, the umbrella organisation of development and humanitarian aid non-governmental organisations in Germany (VENRO), she was concerned with issues related to impact orientation and development policy education in Germany. Since 2017 she is responsible for the implementation of a VENRO-project in the area of migration. Funded by the Robert Bosch and the Bertelsmann Foundation, the project aims to strengthen the participation of the German civil society within global migration policy processes.
Jan Šabaka works as a policy assistant in the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission. He devoted his postgraduate studies at the Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague and the Academy of Ministry of Interior in Sofia to risk management and international police cooperation. He has further extended his knowledge conducting an internship at the Czech Ministry of Interior, the Prague office of the OSCE Secretariat and the Blue Book traineeship at the European Commission. Jan took part in the Robinson-Martin Security Scholars Program of the Prague Security Studies Institute in 2015/2016, having previously participated in various youth forums and seminars focused on the current security challenges.
Born and raised in Grojec, Poland, Martyna is currently completing her master degree in International Development at the University of Birmingham UoB. She is also a President of International Development Society at UoB. Her academic and activist interests have been mainly youth participation, gender equality and intercultural dialogue. Martyna has followed her passion for development and humanitarian work through working for Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a disaster relief NGO. At IRW, Martyna is part of CEO team, supporting the leadership to fulfill the charity’s mission and ensure the success of the organisation. Martyna is also a scout leader managing a community integration project for young adults from local and refugee community which aims to make connections between people from different backgrounds and create a sense of belonging to the broader community. Through scouting, Martyna took part in the organisation of various workshops and outreach activities for youth. Martyna is a backpacking enthusiast and has traveled and worked in Australia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands.
Paula Switon completed her bachelor studies in Political Sciences at the University of Vienna and her master’s degree in Social Sciences at the Humboldt University of Berlin. After graduation, she has worked at the EU and UN institutional level, in Frontex and UNODC, in the areas of migration, security and border management. Currently, she works for the EU in the field of law enforcement cooperation as a strategic analyst. Throughout her career, she has maintained her involvement in various migration-related research projects, and for instance, worked as a field interviewer on the issue of immigrant integration and participated in the expert discussions in the framework of the Berlin Demography Forum.
Sibu Szymanowska was raised between Costa Rica and the United States, and graduated from Jinan University in Guangzhou, China. During her studies, she created a business that catered to the growing demand of goods in China. After selling her part of the company, Sibu moved to Europe to pursue a career in International Development. Since then, she has worked for several consultancies and organizations in Poland, the UK and Germany. In 2015-2016, alongside the UK-headquartered NGO Raleigh International, she led, managed and completed a sustainable development project in rural Nicaragua. Since her return from Nicaragua, she is based in Berlin and supports the local UNICEF branch as a campaign organizer and SDGs facilitator. Sibu also provides consulting services for refugee aid projects at 180 DC, a consultancy that aims to assist social organizations in overcoming challenges.
Katarzyna Szyposzyńska graduated from Lodz University in 2006 majoring in American Studies and Mass Media. Then she was a student at Clark University specializing in Professional Communication. Since 2012 she has been working in Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Lodz, currently she deals with environmental projects. For two years she has been a volunteer of Wielka Orkiestra Światecznej Pomocy. In 2017 she succeeded in establishing cooperation with Polish newspapers (weekly and monthly) being responsible for writing articles concerning local issues. In the same year she got a scholarship funded by European Academy of Diplomacy. Thanks to this she had the pleasure to attend meetings, workshops and lectures concerning journalism and public diplomacy. In 2018 she started to realize her original project “My USA”. In framework of this project she conducts the meetings which are dedicated to the pupils and students who want to broaden their knowledge about the United states of America. Thanks to The Casimir Pulaski Foundation she is one of the participants of Women in International Security Program – Polish edition. Alumna of the 2017 Visegrad School of Political Studies “VSPS Meets Russia”.
Ildikó Zombori has spent the last few years with learning languages, volunteering in different countries, working for some non-profit, student and humanitarian organizations (e.g. UNICEF). She has lived in three different countries so far and speaks 3 languages (Hungarian, English and German). She has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management and beside her studies, she was always an active member of student networks (Erasmus Student Network, AIESEC) and the Liska Tibor College for Advanced Studies. She is interested in social sciences, especially political sciences and sociology.
Klaudia Wegschaider is Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung where she focuses on migration and democracy. Her work on migration concentrates on the UN Global Compacts for Migration and on Refugees. Her work on democracy analyses the socio-economic divide in voter turnout. Klaudia is currently working on two publications, an extended version of the German election study and a research guide on ethnic discrimination in Germany. She serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief at the Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, a bi-annual publication that bridges the gap between academics, policymakers, and stakeholders. In 2016, she completed the MSc in Migration Studies at Oxford University where she graduated with distinction and won the Examiner’s Prize.