Ashoka’s Hello Spain Festival: Innovation in migration


It’s called the ‘Multiple Discovery’. An effect when people in different parts of world think of the same idea, all at the same time.

At Ashoka’s Hello Spain Festival in Madrid, we gathered with like-minded initiates and the most relevant actors in the field of migration and refugee movements. We felt inspired and were amazed by the synchronicity of the group, it really did seem like we were all dreaming of the same world, all at the same time.

Ashoka’s Hello Spain aims to activate social innovation globally.  We were joined by  professionals from all walks of life, including people from the the social, public, private and academic sectors, social entrepreneurs as well as representatives and community members from migrant and refugee backgrounds. 

Across the board, we all agreed that we did not support integration with the implicit idea that newcomers should adopt all the practices of the host culture. Instead, we believe in co-creation, where newcomers contribute to societies with their ideas, talents and cultures freely.

Again we were all singing the same tune when we decided that in order to build inclusive societies we must start with interaction. Interaction is defined as a mutual or reciprocal action or influence, and can happen in so many ways. SPEAK from Portugal for example, does it through peer-to-peer language learning, while Juntos en la misma dirección from Tenerife, does it through co-creating with newcomers and the local government. We at SINGA do it through shared experiences in our SINGA Spaces events as well as our shared projects in our SINGA Labs entrepreneurial programs. One thing we all have in common is we are looking for ways to create interaction and true engagement. We all want to meet, connect and support each other, because we all know that together we are so much stronger.

Finally, we were reminded by porCausa that migration is human nature (it starts at birth!). To move is to migrate. Some move by choice, some due to necessity, and others move by force. We should all be questioning our own narratives, because truth is we are all migrants, moving and pilgriming through life.  Even the famed Spanish Tortilla is really an amalgamation of migrant foods, with the potatoes originally coming from Peru and the onions coming from Asia. Just more proof  that each time we encounter a new culture, a new way of communicating or a new community it is an opportunity to enrich our knowledge.

We are proud to be part of this conversation, and look forward to more collaborations and events where people are brought together for one simple reason, to make the world a better place.

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