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Ireland hosts JRS Europe AGM

jrs_agm_01The Annual General Meeting of the Jesuit Refugee Service Europe took place in Clongowes College in County Kildare, Ireland, from 29 October – 1November 2009. Over 60 participants from 18 countries participated. The topic of the meeting was “Pathways to Integration: A challenge in Principle, in Practice and in Policy”. There were a number of workshops facilitated by Eugene Quinn, Director of JRS Ireland and their aim was to explore how integration relates to JRS mission, what is happening on the ground in terms of integration and services of JRS National Offices and how JRS can influence integration policy and approaches at local, national and regional level. A social night in Dublin was also enjoyed by the attendees. The next AGM will be held in Malta. For JRS Ireland’s account of the event read below.

JRS EUROPE AGM IN CLONGOWES

Over 60 participants from twelve JRS National Offices and two Spanish Jesuit Migration Organisations participated in the JRS Europe AGM, which was held in Clongowes Wood College from October 29th to November 1st 2009. The event was opened by the Acting Provincial, Fr. Noel Barber SJ, and the Mission Officer Director (and former JRS Regional Director for East Africa) Fr. John Guiney SJ.

The theme of the AGM was integration. A day and a half workshop entitled ‘Pathways to Integration: A Challenge in Principle, in Practice and in Policy’ was facilitated by Mr. Eugene Quinn, JRS Ireland, National Director and by Mr. Fidele Mutwarasibo, Senior Research and Policy Officer, Immigrant Council of Ireland. The workshop was opened by the Minister for Integration, Mr. John Curran TD.

In addition there were a series of meetings monitoring progress on JRS Europe common projects which include: a research project into the conditions in Detention in Europe for Vulnerable Asylum Seekers (DEVAS); a project establishing an Advocacy Network for Destitute migrants in Europe (ANDES); and the Steering Committee for an Externalisation of Asylum project.

Fr. Michael Shiel SJ provided a very entertaining tour of the Castle and history of Clongowes most famous students. This was followed by a very enjoyable social evening for the AGM participants as the guests of Community. The timetable also allowed for a free afternoon to explore Dublin, which involved for many a novel experience of travelling on a Double Decker bus!

In the three days prior to the AGM there was a Regional Coordinators Meeting for JRS Europe. This was attended by 28 persons including all the JRS National Directors. An operational plan for the next 18 months agreeing common projects in the areas of detention, destitution and externalization of asylum was agreed.

Eugene Quinn said ‘I would like to express my appreciation for the tremendous effort and dedication of the JRS Ireland staff and volunteers in ensuring the event was such a tremendous success. I would also like to pay tribute to the excellence of the Clongowes staff and facilities and wish to acknowledge in particular the assistance of Mr. Ray Kenny, Mr. Pat Keenan and Ms. Anne Cooke.”
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