Where did this Special Interest Group come from and what has happened so far?


Following the influx of refugees to Europe in mid-2015, following the Syrian war, and the subsequent or parallel rise in anti-immigrant sentiment across the continent,  many SIETAR Europa members felt that SIETAR needed to be involved in some form.

The matter was raised at SIETAR Europa Board meetings and after some discussion Joe Kearns volunteered to lead the creation of a SIETAR Europa group.

SIETAR Europa has often discussed the concept of Special Interest Groups* to focus on topics of particular interest to members across Europe. The creation of the Migration Special Interest Group  is the first of its kind in SIETAR Europa and we expect it to be the first of many.

Why “Migration” and not “Refugees”?

It was felt that while the motivation for the creation of the SIG was the refugee crisis caused by the war in Syria, the topic is much broader and as such we look at the more general topic of Migration which of course encompasses Refugees.

What has happened so far?

Migration SIG Face-to-face Brussels May 2016

Following the Board decision to support the creation of the SIG a first face-to-face meeting was held in May 2016 which 23 SIETAR members attended (read the report on the meeting here) and the website for the event here.

At this meeting we agreed the purpose of the SIG – see Home page on this site

World Café at SIETAR Europa Congress May 2017

With the organisation of the Congress taking up much time the next event of the SIG was the World Café event at the Congress in Dublin. The event was hugely popular with more than 90 people in attendance. See some photos of the event here, the drawings/posters here, and the ideas post-its here.

Migration SIG face-to-face Berlin November 2017

The weekend face-to-face in Berlin was held primarily to

  • Refine the structures of how we store and retrieve data – the so called Grid
  • Design the application to allow members to store and retrieve information
  • Get some insights into work being done with migrants in Berlin which has, probably more than any other city in Europe, felt the impact of recent migrations – ( 85,000 in 2015/2016)

See the website for the event here – including the report on the event

Formation of the Provisional Leadership team May 2017

Following the World Café the group that organised that event agreed to form a Provisional Leadership Team to continue the formation and structuring of the SIG. The team have been meeting regularly, including a face-to-face in Amsterdam in Sept 2017, where the next event in Berlin Nov 2017 was organised.

We are now more formally the Leadership Team as follows

The team:

Joe Kearns

Heike Stengel

Cynthia Tilden-Machleidt

Workshop on intercultural training and tools for migrants, those working with migrants and receiving communities at SIETAR Switzerland Congress May 2018

* Note on the term Special Interest Group. It has been pointed out that the term in French, and possible other languages, is more normally associated with political lobby groups. While we need to be sensitive to what terms can mean in different languages this term is the one normally used in English for “focus groups”. In the field of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) for example Special Interest Groups might include Business English as a SIG.