EPIA Final Project Documentation (2012-2014)

The Grundtvig Learning Partnership 'Exchanging Best Practices in the Integration of Assyrians in Europe' (EPIA) has aimed to exchange experiences of Assyrians in the field of integration in Europe, map problems and challenges, and promote best practices.

The partners represented institutions of Assyrians in four different European countries (NL, SE, DE, BE).

Since the 1960s, Assyrians have emigrated and established themselves in large numbers (about 300.000) in Europe. Already from the beginning their journey to Europe was a 'one-way ticket'; they burned their ships behind them to establish themselves for good in Europe. To a great extent, this first intention has influenced the way they have oriented and established themselves in Europe. Nevertheless, integration into modern Western societies led to a comprehensive societal transformation, and introduced new problems and challenges for the group.

This partnership project has aimed to evaluate the 50-years of settlement of Assyrians in Europe, develop more insight in the processes of the integration, to exchange experienced problem and challenges, and to map best practices in the field of integration. In order to realize the envisaged aims and objectives, the project has focused on educational activities. Three seminars, two workshops and a conference were organized in partner countries during the lifetime of the project. These are:

  • Promoting Active Citizenship: Upward Mobility of Assyrians in Europe (Seminar, Gothenburg)
  • An Intergenerational Approach to the Problems and Challenges of the Integration of Assyrians (Seminar, Augsburg)
  • Linguistic Diversity, Mother Tongue and Integration: The case of Surayt (Seminar, Liege)
  • The Integration and Empowerment of Assyrian Women in Europe (Workshop, Gothenburg)
  • Second Generation and Integration (Workshop, Hengelo)
  • Assyrian Diaspora in Europe: Past, Present, Future (Conference, Berlin)

The planned activities realized successfully, and attracted in total more than 500 participants (learners, public audience). Furthermore, all events were broadcast on Assyria TV and disseminated further to a broader public worldwide. Moreover, various articles were written about the project in local/national newspapers and internet magazines. Furthermore, all activity reports and selected presentations were collected in a final report which is available on the project partners' websites as an open educational resource.

Some of the main conclusions of the aforementioned partnership activities:

Education plays an essential role in upward mobility by giving opportunities for individuals to change their path within the broader society.

'Learning links' between generations do not function properly; this prevents a respectful and fruitful interaction between generations.

Intergenerational tensions are based upon the fear of assimilation and thus disappearance. The re-production of this fear paves the way for the inward-looking attitudes and tensions between parents and their children.

Among second generation who have grown up in European societies, gender equality has become a more central value. They do not differ so much from their native peers with regards to norms and values.

Assyrian women underwent a big transformation process after settlement in Europe. The change in the position of Assyrian women is very remarkable. However, they still face structural discrimination.

Bilingual children who can speak their mother tongue become more successful in school where their mother tongue functions as an asset for their personal and cultural development. The learning of the mother tongue is one of the most important points for successful integration.

Second generation Assyrians perceives the European countries where they were born as their home, and they have all established themselves well.

This report consists of a short profiling of partner organizations, chronicle reports and articles published on the various activities. In few cases, activity reports other than in English language are included in order to demonstrate the linguistic diversity of the partnership. In the annex, the reader can find some of the speeches given during the partnership activities and activity posters.

We are thankful to the Assyria TV for their cooperation in this project.

July 2014

Download the whole documentation here.

EU Grundtvig Logo

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.