A Charter For A Europe of Diasporas

Brussels
07/04/2016
Society

This text is an affirmation of the core values, ideas and objectives of the network “A Europe of Diasporas”. By signing this text, we express our support for them and our willingness to work together to promote them.

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To see the list of signatories please click here.

We are diasporas of Europe. We are dispersed over many countries, yet we share a common, durable identity across borders. Our transnational communities share a common cultural heritage transmitted through generations. The Roma, the Jews, the Armenians and the Assyrians/Arameans are examples of diasporas in Europe.

We are a product of Europe's history, we are part of the European tapestry, we have contributed to making European civilization what it is today, and we will continue to do so in the future. Diasporas are an asset and an opportunity for Europe, not a hindrance: they have helped circulate ideas and techniques and helped connect Europe.

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Diasporas are civil society. It is a characteristic of diasporas that they have no center and no periphery. Each of their members is part of their country's society. Each community and organization is autonomous and a master of its destiny. Furthermore, diaspora leaders and organizations have a role to play in the development of European society at large.

Diasporas are also faced with considerable challenges linked, inter alia, to a lack of resources, to their voluntary character and to the dispersion of their members. We commend the remarkable commitment of countless diaspora volunteers and leaders for their dedication to community service, to humanitarian causes, to culture, to education and to advocacy. We encourage diaspora organizations to work together, between diasporas, and to innovate to meet the challenges of our time.

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Prejudice, power and the past. As members of diasporas, we are deeply committed to the European values of inclusiveness, valuing diversity and human rights. We have a profound interest in the pursuit of peaceful cooperation and open exchange between all the nations of Europe and we are committed to the idea of Europe. Together, we will work for acceptance and understanding, and for the social recognition of diasporas.

History has also created a legacy of domination and discrimination which has left deep marks: we have learned that even if slavery, oppression and genocide are long past, their legacy of domination and trauma remains unless it is addressed. It is the common responsibility of all Europeans, including public authorities, to explore, acknowledge and address these legacies in order to help overcome them.

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Educate and empower. We believe that the public authorities of the countries where we live, in Europe, have a responsibility to support the promotion and development of cultures associated with diasporas, their educational needs and the preservation and promotion of their heritage. Children affiliated with a diaspora, in particular, should have an opportunity to learn of their background and heritage, including access to appropriate language and religious education.

We believe that Europe's and each European nation's history includes the story of their diasporas. In the future, they should be part of new, inclusive narratives. It is important for us all, including in particular those in positions of authority, to be educated about the reality and legitimacy of Europe's diasporas.

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Learning from diasporas. Diasporas, like most of Europe's nations, are the product of historical migration: some of their members arrived many centuries ago; others very recently. Migration, forced or voluntary, continues today in Europe, and many of those arriving will form the diasporas of the future. Europe must look constructively and with lucidity to its past to draw lessons for the harmonious integration of new Europeans. Diasporas often provide considerable experience in this field, and may offer successful models, which we must examine and share.