Learn and Get Inspired from the Past seminar

The “Learn and get inspired form the past” seminar was held in La Jonquera and Girona in Catalonia, Spain, 15-20 March 2017. It was the first official seminar of PATH and A Route to Connect projects, which are both part of the Building Bridges campaign of SCI. Participants from 9 different countries gathered to learn about the Spanish Civil War and analyzed its similarities to current conflicts and forced migration nowadays. The seminar was hosted by SCI Catalunya and co-funded by the European Youth Foundation and the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union.

Participants of the seminar taking part in a workshop session in La Jonquera, Spain (11 March 2017) Photo by Suvi Helko

During the seminar the participants visited the Exile Memorial Museum (MUME), had a day hike through the routes of the end of the Spanish Civil War, organized a human library with a Spanish Civil War veteran Ramon Brugués Serra and Syrian refugees Eyad Ibrahim and Khaled Al-Mousa and participated in different workshops and lectures on the topic. Throughout the seminar the participants were divided into three working groups: video, exhibition and final event. The video group made interviews and filmed events during the seminar and uploaded material online to be edited as part of a larger video by Laura Basta. The exhibition group prepared photos and texts for the final event of the PATH project, which will be held in January 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The final event working group prepared speeches for the final event of the seminar, which happened in Girona 14 March 2017.

Kubra Khademi, Afghan artist living in Paris, speaking during the final event of the seminar in Girona, Spain (14 March 2017 )Photo by Suvi Helko

One of the organizers of the seminar, Marta Palau Alba describes her thoughts during the seminar:

“Looking back at the Spanish Civil War we recognized so many patterns that are being repeated nowadays: the incapability of governments of acting efficiently in front of an humanitarian crisis, the misuse of information and the manipulation of the reality, the polarization of societies and the rise of racism… The nonsense of war when those who cause it say it’s done to achieve peace. Sharing thoughts with other participants, we could not help but feel frustrated. But most of all, we felt the urgent need of finding a way to push things in the opposite direction.”

Exile Memorial Museum (MUME) in La Jonquera, Spain (11 March 2017) Photo by Suvi Helko

The participants of the seminar described the experience as inspiring and empowering. A common agreement seemed to be that it is time to learn from the past and stop making the same mistakes. The seminar in Spain planted a steady ground for the upcoming activities of PATH and A Route to Connect projects. A big thank you to the organizers and everyone who was part of making this seminar happen!

Participants and organizers of the seminar during the hike through the routes of Spanish Civil War, Spain (13 March 2017) Photo by Suvi Helko.