Migrantour Adventure: Copenhagen’s Coolest & Colourful Neighborhood

After taking part in her first migrantour, Crossing Borders volunteer Margaret Maged Maher from Egypt wrote the following piece on her experience:  On my second day in Denmark 15 November 2023, I had one of the best experiences I’ve had in learning about a world I wasn’t aware of! How can one neighbourhood contain all these landmarks that highlight so many cultures? I never thought that when I came to Denmark, I would see so much diversity and different ethnicities from many cultural backgrounds from all over the world. On this migrant tour I was one of 23 international students from various countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Vietnam. After coffee and croissants, we were taken on exciting tour of NørreBro starting from the Cultural House UNION and through some 5 landmarks in the Nørrebro neighborhood which ranks as the coolest neighbourhood in the world in 2021 according to Time Out magazine. Each landmark has its own story about the cultural background those immigrants brought along with and how they integrated into this new world while maintaining their own identity. The neighbourhood has both been shaped by as it shapes the new cultures. At the end of the tour, I discovered that the migrant tour is one of the most important activities that emotionally affect a person and make him more connected to where he is. Organised by the Anna Lindh Danish Network, the event was a collaboration between Crossing Borders as Head of the Network and International People’s College as a member. The purpose of the Migrantour is to train and empower immigrants to tell their stories and the stories of the neighbourhoods they call home from their perspectives. The guides of the tour were Furkan Akay from Turkey and Maryam Alaoui from Lebanon.

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Food For Thought with Marek Azoulay Jørgensen

On the 3rd of August 2023 the Danish Anna Lindh Network organised a very inspiring Food for Thought talk with Marek Azoulay Jørgensen. Marek is a consultant at Deloitte, youth leader and inclusion activist with multicultural background. Thus, his lively talk focused on inclusion, diversity and democracy in our society. The participants, 30 in number, were also very diverse in terms of culture, age, disability and gender. In addition to ALF Danish members, there were people from Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, France, Sierraleone, South Africa, Turkey, Switzerland, Uganda, Ukraine, etc.    The event was moderated by CB board Vice Chair Nyeleti Nkuna.   During this wonderful evening, Marek started his talk by telling us about his childhood and teenage years which have played an important part in his journey.   Marek was born in Copenhagen by Moroccan/French mother and Danish father. He was a very shy boy and labelled as the “Moroccan kid” at school. Later on, he learnt that he was Jew and wanted to know more about the Jewish culture & religion and embrace his heritage. So now, he was also the “Jew kid”. At this time, Marek was still just a child and didn’t really understand what all the fuss, especially the implication of being part of a minority. But the other kids made him feel that way with silly jokes and teasing. Then, during his teenage years, Marek started to assert himself and wasn’t the shy boy anymore. He became hyperactive and took a leading role in high school associations and got interested in debate and youth engagement.   It was at that time Marek started to wonder about his sexuality. It took him time to realise that he was gay and out of fear he decided to hide it from everyone, family and friends. The lack of representation at this time was a huge challenge. It was hard for young people to relate to people who lived the same struggle and to feel confident in their own skin. That is why, when he did his coming out later on, he created a LGBTQIA+ association to help build a community and support people within this community on their journey.  Marek continued his talk by telling us about his personal and professional engagements.   He is a board member at Nyt Europa, a non-profit organisation that works for a sustainable and democratic EU. He is also a project coordinator at Fashion Revolution, the world largest fashion activist movement. And he is delegate at Ungdoms Bureauet, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering youth engagement and influence in societal matters.     Marek is also a co-founder of Mino, an interest organisation that works to strengthen the opportunities, voices and community participation of ethnic youth minority Danes, and at DUF (Danish Youth Council) an umbrella organisation representing all youth associations in Denmark that promotes youth participation in public affairs.  Regarding his activism and engagement, Marek also tries to include it into his professional environment within the company Deloitte where he is a Transformation Leadership Consultant. Marek is convinced that it is possible to work in the business sector and still be an activist. According to him, we should not put in opposition these two stakeholders. Private sector and NGO or citizens should work hand in hand for a better society, especially by using and fostering dialogue.  And to answer the question asked by Giselle Mesiara, Project Coordinator at Crossing Borders and Global Activist: “How can we make these two worlds, private sector and NGO, meet and bridge the gap between them?”, Marek assures that people are the solution to do that. We need people who are interested in crossing paths, changing directions and bringing all their experiences, convictions and engagements with them.  Overall, Marek’s journey and commitment demonstrate the importance of creating a more inclusive, diverse, and sustainable society through youth involvement and open dialogue.  Marek’s efforts align with the goals of the Anna Lindh Foundation, international and inter-governmental organisation of which Crossing Borders is the Head of Network in Danmark, which promotes a culture based on intercultural dialogue, exchange and cooperation between people.  That is what Food for Thought is all about, bring people together, allow them to share their stories and foster dialogue between people and culture. The discussion went on during the delicious dinner prepared by Claudia from Brazil. 

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Participation of the ALF Director in the ALF Regional Network Meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden

On 9-10 March 2023, the Swedish network of the Anna Lindh Foundation organised a regional network meeting at the World Culture Museum (Världskulturmuseet) in Gothenburg, with the participation of members and alumni of the Anna Lindh Foundation Swedish network and network coordinators from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.   The meeting programme includes networking activities, practitioner’s lab workshop, and open mic presentations of intercultural dialogue projects by members and network coordinators from Finland, Denmark and Germany. The Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Josep Ferré, presented the Foundation Strategy 2022-2025 and its working priorities.

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Anna Lindh Foundation Intercultural Café

On 11 May 2023 morning took place the Intercultural Morning Coffee around the topic: Talking About My Generation. During this meeting, 3 speakers talked about the importance of intergenerational dialogue as a mean of prevention and creating solutions to our global problems. How can leadership and power be shared between generations? What are the most common stereotypes that exist between generations? How do we counter ageism? How do we gain access to the filter bubbles around each generation?

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The National ALF Head of Network Meeting in Gothenburg (Sweden)

On 12-14 June, the Swedish Network hosted the Anna Lindh Foundation institutional meetings with the Board of Governors, Advisory Council and Network Coordinators in the framework of the Sweden’s presidency of the EU Council. The meetings were hosted by the Swedish network coordinator at the World Culture Museum in Gothenburg with the support of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those meetings focused on how to tackle the issues encountered by the coordinators. They were presented to the board of the Anna Lindh Foundation of which Mari Neuvonen from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland is the chairman.

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