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WEMov’s Second Annual Meeting 

     Women on The Move (WEMov)’s Second Annual Meeting was held in the sunny and lively island of Cyprus, situated in the northeast park of the Mediterranean, from 27th to 29th April 2022. After more than two years of virtual and hybrid events, this was the first meeting one hundred percent settled in-person.  

     1 (WEMov’s Second Annual Meeting organizers: Maija Ojala-Fulwood, Georges Kazamias, Ellianna Farazi, Marie Ruiz

    The organizers were tireless in their efforts, in particular Georges Kazamias, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Cyprus. Thanks to them, all the participants were able to enjoy an “event without walls”, sitting outside in the conference outdoor venue at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, enjoying the weather while listening to the remarkable presentations that were programmed.  

    2 (Conference outdoor venue at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation) 

    The kick-off meeting with the local stakeholders on Wednesday 27 April, marked the official beginning of our journey. It started with the opening video of Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner, followed by the welcoming words of Georges Kazamias who pointed out that “Nicosia is still divided, but it’s the brightest capital in the world!”, which we could confirm in the days that followed. 

    The meeting continued with speeches by Constantinos Yiorkadjis, Mayor of Nicosia, about the capital’s solidarity network with NGOs and refugee organizations and Tasos Christofides, Rector of the University of Cyprus, who highlighted scholarships from the university to help Ukrainian refugees. He mentioned as well that the University of Cyprus is sensitive for social issues, and works with an alliance of 10 universities (e.g., Maastricht, Essex, Madrid, Rijeka, Poland, Bremen, Rome, Torvegata) on gender equality and diversity. Before the break, we listened to a representative from Nicosia City Council who introduced the social activities carried out by the municipality. She presented the aims of the Multicultural Children Day Care Centre, the Nicosia Municipal Multifunctional Foundation and the Solidarity Network Nicosia in Action, and how they help the integration and everyday life of women migrants. 

    3 (Presentations of Constantinos Yiorkadjis, Mayor of Nicosia and Tasos Christofides, Rector of the University of Cyprus at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation) 

    After a marvellous coffee break during which we participants could taste some Cypriot specialties and visit WEMov’s exhibition with posters and milestones that were exposed outdoors, the meeting continued with the presentations of Marie Ruiz and Maija Ojala-Fulwood, respectively WEMov’s chair and vice-chair. 

    4 (WEMov’ posters and milestones exposed at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation) 

    The workday followed its course with the participation of local organisations, namely the Civil Registry and Migration Department, by Michalis Beys and the Cyprus Refugee Council, by the Legal Councellor Kristina Marku. Related to women’s migration they mentioned the specific challenges faced by migrant women (including healthcare, prenatal services) and the “Engage program” which focuses on 3rd country national women asylum seekers. They presented the “National Action Plan on the Equality between Men and Women” which aims to eliminate the legislative discrimination against women; the “EMIRE – New Actions for Migrant womEn” (founded by ERASMUS), and the “National Action Plan on the Integration of Migrants” which networking with the Cypriot community to help the empowerment of women. These presentations were followed by a round table and discussion. 

    After the lunch, it was time for the Core Group to meet. In the afternoon, participants could listen the keynote speaker, Marlou Schrover on the topic of intersectionality, and on how categories of power and identity intersect. The presentation was entitled: “Moving on: perspectives on migration and intersectionality” and was followed by a discussion. Colleagues who couldn’t manage to be present connected online, such as Igor Lyman, Francesca Falk and Laura Peja.

    On that evening, participants had the chance to watch a documentary about using oral histories of women on the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    5 (Presentation of Marlou Schrover, keynote speaker) 

    The second day of the WEMov’s Annual Meeting (28th of April) was divided into two parts. 

    The morning was dedicated to research at the University of Cyprus with the presentations of Chrystalla Constantinou about « Spinning industry in Cyprus in theearly 20th century. A scent of a woman », Chrysovalantis Kasionis about “Displaced Female Labour Force: Some evidence on the situation after the 1974 invasion in Cyprus” and Polina Michail about “Women Walk Home: the initiatives by women against the effects of the Turkish invasion”. 

    6 (Presentations of Chrystalla Constantinou, Chrysovalantis Kasionis and Polina Michail) 

    After the presentations and discussion participants were introduced to the Women Walk Home movement by Titina Loizidou, Diana Markides and Anastasia Hamastou. “Women Walk Home” is an independent non-party movement of Greek Cypriot women from all walks of life. They are dedicated to non-violent dynamic action to demonstrate their rejection of the division of Cyprus. Women Walk Home are working towards a country in which there is no dividing line and no occupation army. The presentation turned out to be very inspiring around personal accounts on the human right of being able to enjoy peacefully properties situated in the Turkish Cypriot-administered area, namely in the hometown of Kyrenia, where “every stone holds memory” (Titina Loizidou). 

    7 (Presentations of Titina Loizidou, Diana Markides and Anastasia Hamastou) 

    Before the lunch break, participants were surprised by a very interesting non-programmed visit to the new Nicosia Town-hall, which is a very particular building in the geographical heart of the city, and from where we access a beautiful view of the city. On the site where it was built, important antiquities were discovered during the first day of construction and the whole design was completely modified to fit to the new situation.  

    8 (Getting ready for the visit of Nicosia City Hall and lunch time.) 

    8 (Visit to the Nicosia City Hall) 

    9 (Meeting of WG2 around lunch with Fiona Bakas, Pirita Frigren, Maija Ojala-Fulwood, Veronika Capska, Heidi Martins and Bénédicte Miyamoto

    The second part and the afternoon were constituted of two panels. The first one about “Women Migrants and Material Culture” and the second one about “Migration as emancipatory experience”. 

    After a lunch break in which some Working Groups took the opportunity to work and define the next steps of their activities, the first panel moderated by Bénédicte Miyamoto took place around the topics of women migration and material culture with the presentation by Heidi Martins and the presentation by Natasha Ružić.  

    Then the second panel on migration as emancipatory experience, moderated by Maija Ojala-Fulwood took place. It started with the presentation by Petko Hristov and Niya Spasova, followed by Sónia Ferreira‘s presentation.  

    Both panels were complemented with animated discussions.  

    10 (Walking tour around the city, with detailed presentation by name ?? left side of the picture) 

    On that evening, a walking tour of Nicosia took place with the enthusiastic and amazing guide. One of the things she suggested that undoubtedly remained in the memory of the participants is: “if you only have time to visit one thing in Nicosia, please visit the Lusignan House! ». This House is one of the unique buildings reflecting the characteristics of both Lusignan and Ottoman architecture. The building dates back to the 15th century and is a source of attention now because of its gothic arched entrance door, its Lusignan coat of arms and its decorated Ottoman period wooden ceiling. 

    11 (Outdoor dining… name of the restaurant? Or other details ?) 

    At the end of the city walking tour, the participants could enjoy a deserved diner on an outside terrace, enjoying the wonderful weather.  

    12 (The audience getting ready for the last day of work.) 

    The last day of WEMov’s second annual meeting started at 9 pm with the presentations of Tatjana Saric, Camelia Zavarache and Janet Laidla

    After a short coffee break, the work session continued with the presentations of Miguel Olivieros Mediavilla and Snježana Vasiljević.  

    The main topics of the presentations were: 1) data collection methods in gender and migration studies; 2) women, migration, and education; 3) and, finally, many faces of migration: refugees, exploitation, and tragedy.  

    13 (WEMov’s MOOC interview filming sessions.) 

    It was also the day in which WEMov’s MOOC interview filming sessions took place. 

    14 (Picture with all the participants.) 

    The day ended up earlier with the closing remarks from Marie Ruiz, the Chair of WEMov’s network. And, before lunch, there was time for a “family picture” with all the participants of this WEMov’s Second Annual Meeting. 

    15 (Last diner at the Kafestiatorio Orfeas restaurant.) 

    The diner took place at Kafestiatorio Orfeas, a beautiful restaurant, where all the participants got to try the “meze”! Several types of meat, served with chips, houmous, tzatziki, salad with feta cheese, and lots of delicious other specialties. Nobody could even move after such a delicious meal.  

    Some of the participants were leaving that same evening but some others were still meeting the day after. Indeed, on Saturday 30th took place the WG3 meeting opening with the keynote speaker, Umut Erel, presenting “Migrant Women Enacting Citizenship”, a deeply moving co-participative research, based on the experience of migrant women as mothers, understanding how gender does shape migrants’ citizenship. A perfect ending to this meeting.

    Looking forward to our next annual meeting!  ​