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Climate change meets migration at the DEAR Exchange Hub

by Ilaria Tiana and Federica Benedetti

Campaigning, advocacy, and education are the instruments through which the DEAR Programme of the European Union supports global change. Young people, with passion and knowledge, are key to reaching the change.

Around the theme “Migrations, Climate Change and Youth Engagement”, 10 projects were involved during the DEAR Exchange Hub in Tallinn, Estonia, from 28 to 30 September 2022. It has been an opportunity for young people and staff from different projects all over Europe to learn from their peers and exchange good practices and methodologies.

DEAR Hub specific activities have taken shape with workshops, games and presentations of studies about climate change and migration. Participants have been encouraged to share, learn, and get inspired from exchange and cross-fertilization: the best way to grow together.

The programme also included the XXV Open Society Forum, organised by the Open Estonian Foundation with the title “Climate Change Meets Migration”. Different voices discussed the challenges and opportunities that the pressing issues of climate change and migration present.

Among the speakers, there were the former Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid, the Canadian social anthropologist professor Mark Nuttall, the singer Marten Kuningas, several young activists such as Kertu Birgit Anton and Dominika Lasota, Mr. Anthony Agotha, senior adviser of European Commission’s Vice-President Timmermans, and the angel investor Mrs. Triin Hertmann. They all shared concerns for climate crises and their social impacts, but from different perspectives, ensuring a thought-provoking debate.

However, the voices that really had to speak up were not there. Where are the vulnerables, the migrants, the indigenous people? Where were the people all the guests of the forum were talking about? Can we still think that we can have these kinds of dialogues without involving everybody? These questions emerged after the forum.

During the Youth-led event at the “Club of Different Rooms” a lot of inspirational workshops were led by the young DEAR participants with the aim to share and involve the other peers into their projects with handicraft activities, quiz and project management exercises. The final session was held by Kelvin Akpaloo – word artist and dancer – who created a piece of slam poetry around the theme of change, thanks to the involvement of all the participants.

The message is clear: we’re not alone, we can change together.