This August and September, NIMD’s offices in Latin America came together to launch the first-ever NIMD regional Democracy School.
Over five weekly sessions, the school brought together current Democracy School participants and alumni from across the political spectrum in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela in an online environment.
Beyond borders: the theme of migration
This diverse mix of young leaders from political parties, civil society and academia explored the topic of migration, an issue which has (and still does) very much affected the region as a whole in recent years.
Each week, the participants explored a different facet of the theme of migration, including human rights and the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on migrant groups.
The participants were encouraged to think critically, questioning the capacity and responsibility of states to guarantee rights and wellbeing, not only among citizens but also for migrants.
So, what did the participants learn?
Following the school, we asked the young participants what they will take away from the course.
Here are some of their replies:
“For all of history, humans have migrated. The problem is not migration. The problem is that we see our fellow human as a foreigner, an outsider. What kills our brothers is indifference and lack of opportunity. That is what drives us to participate actively in decision making”
“Migrants do not only face physical borders. They also come up against borders related to crime, and exclusion from health care or education, among others.”
“We have an unequal system, whereby the rights of the poor are limited while extra rights are created for powerful. There is a battle to make our countries a dignified and fair place. It is not about migrant status, it is about making all human rights count, for all people.”
“I learned that human rights belong to every person, regardless of their migratory status. I realized that there is a big gap between rights and reality for migrants. I strengthened my commitment to fight for a fairer life for everyone, regardless of their citizenship.”
“Human rights do not depend on a person’s character or status. They are inherent to all humans”
Migration as a cross-border issue
“Interacting with participants from other countries showed me the magnitude of the problem in Latin America. States must ensure the inclusion of migrant groups.”
Putting lessons into action
Through these sessions, and through their larger alumni network, NIMD’s Latin America offices have empowered the aspiring leaders to use their new knowledge and skills in their political careers. Armed with their experience in the Schools, and their new regional network of participants, they are better placed to make a difference to politics in their country.