The crisis of the refugees in Europe centers the annual meeting Alumni
Alumni of all faculties gathered yesterday at the Barcelona campus to celebrate the annual meeting. Nacho Parellada, president of the group, and Marianna Zanuy, Director of Alumni, made a summary of the activities of the past year and explained the projects for the coming months. The main event of the meeting was the round table "Reason vs. heart. Refugees in Europe", moderated by Professor of the Faculty of Law, Montserrat Nebrera.
The current flow of migrants in Europe, both refugees and immigrants, was the subject of the round table at the Alumni get-together held on 1 December. A Lebanese student called Patrick Saliba from the Master’s in Healthcare Management who is also a student on the doctoral programme in Health Sciences participated in the session. Patrick talked about the situation in his country, which has taken in 2 million refugees to date. On the other hand, Ángel Alcaraz, an expert in immigration and security stated that “any state has an obligation to regulate the flow of migrants while respecting human rights”. Juana Martín, reponsible for the refugee programme at Cáritas Diocesana Barcelona, said that only very small numbers of people have been attended to by her organisation, because the borders have not been opened.
“We base everything on numbers; and these numbers are relative”. What they talked about was the personal testimonials of of the men and women fleeing from the horror of war. This was the essence of an exhibition created by Alfredo Fernández, General Director of OIDEL, who lives in Switzerland. “Values and identity in Europe are wounded; we are scared and don’t think about the future”. We are motivated by the mistrust that we feel for people from other cultures or other religions. “Let’s talk about wounded identities. In order for this to change, the educational system has to be changed”, suggested Fernández.
Professor Nebrera pointed out that the media is a window onto the world. “They told us that refugees will arrive en masse and will take our jobs away from us”. Salvador Aragonés, who was formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at UIC Barcelona and also Director of Europa Press-Catalunya, assured the audience that the media is a vehicle. “The truth does not sell any more because the truth does not excite people”. Social networks reflect issues that excite people, even if they are not true. “They besmirch the truth because you can say anything on social networks. Check everything and the opposite story too. The main paradigms of this are Brexit and Trump’s victory”. Populism is prospering. “We are living in the post-truth era and post-truth does not make human beings happy”. He ended his talk with a few words from Pope Francis from his recently published Apostolic Letter ‘Misericordia et misera’: “Truth goes hand in hand with beauty and goodness”.
The event ended with Christmas refreshments, and was a good opportunity for alumni members to chat to their former classmates and professors.