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Kick off meeting (London, UK)






London calling

On 26-29 th of October the first meeting of the project European Reader’s club for migrants was held in London, UK.  Every organization was excited to embark upon a new challenge and start developing a very interesting initiative. However most of us didn’t have enough info about the specifics of every other organization. Noone  really knew each other, except for partners from Poland and Turkey (see preparatory visit) – thus every participants was excited to travel to London to meet new people, who could surely become ones close friends after 2 years of project implementation.

As it turned out the whole variety of different organizations representing  various realms of the society will be jointly conducting this project, and thus the cooperation and exchange of experience promise to be very fruitful. Foundation Ternopilska as a coordinator will make every effort to make the migrants benefit as much as possible from the project.

A few words about London

London  is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London’s ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its square-mile mediaeval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, the name London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core. The bulk of this conurbation forms the London region and the Greater London administrative area, governed by the elected Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence. It is the world’s leading financial centre alongside New York City and has the fifth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world, and the largest in Europe (as of 2008). London has been described as a world cultural capital. It was the world’s most visited city during 2011 and London Heathrow is the world’s busiest airport by number of international passengers. London’s 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe. In 2012 London will become the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.

London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries. In July 2010 Greater London had an official population of 7,825,200, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union, and accounting for 12.5% of the UK population. The Greater London Urban Area is the second-largest in the EU with a population of 8,278,251, while London’s metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with an estimated total population of between 12 million and 14 million. London had the largest population of any city in the world from around 1831 to 1925.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory marks the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) and GMT).

The main aim of the kick off meeting was of course to introduce partner organizations and their working methods. This task was succesfully fullfilled. The meeting in details looked the following way.

25th of October (Tuesday)

All the participants of the kick-off meeting arrived in London and their accommodation was arranged by UK partner.

26th of October (Wednesday)

The first meeting of the European Reader’s Club project took place in the premises of the ALFA rehabilitation day center of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, United Kingdom, London. The 1 and half day meeting was chaired by the project coordinator A. Korniychuk, representing Foundation Ternopilska (Poland). At the beginning of meeting the partners introduced themselves and delivered promotional materials about their organizations and countries of origin. Representative of each organization described the main activities and goals of his/her organization and the potential contribution to this project. There were 6 presentations all together. Then the coordinator introduced the project goals and activities as well as expected results. At this point the partners discussed the organization of the next meeting which was originally planned for February 2012 in Turkey. The partners agreed on making a change of the date of the next meeting – they agreed provisionally on 27th of February – 3 of March, 2012 in Turkey, the date will be confirmed additionally. Website of the project was created and will be managed by the Turkish partner with help from coordinator, accessible at http://readerclubs.org/. Contact person: Murat Kert

27th of October (Thursday)

Partners spent the working meeting discussing and agreeing on the organizational and practical issues. Partners agreed that a logo should be designed for the project. It was decided that every partner should propose something till the next meeting in Turkey ( 27th of February). The proposal was to make an open competition between the participants for the best logo, a prize is foreseen for the winner. Partners agreed to make comparison of reading rates among migrants in different partner countries – for that purpose all organizations need to send statistical data to the project coordinator by the end of the year 2011. Partners agreed that no more than 15 people should attend one meeting of the reader’s club – this way it will be more effective for the project beneficiaries. Partners decided to choose at least 1 common book (preferably more) to read and discuss during the project. Books should represent classical literature and the main topic should be connected to migration, travelling – moving somewhere in general. It was decided to send literature proposals to the coordinator till the end of the year 2011. Partners decided that participants will write the summary of the book in their native language and every organization will make short translations into English. The summaries prepared in a pdf file will be uploaded on website and put on a project DVD. All participants agreed what to choose questions measuring the migrant’s cultural knowledge and traditions of Europe and partners countries in particular. Every partner needs to send to the coordinator 10 questions about their country (capitals, currency, history, famous and known people etc.).

Participants of the project must write examples of CV in their native languages (4cv’s per partner 2 written by men and 2 by the women). It will be put in pdf file and will be uploaded on the website and put on DVD. The CV’s must be sent by the end of the year (January 2012 the latest) to the coordinator so they could compare it at the next meeting in Turkey. Partner organizations must choose questions for the ICT test (measuring the participant’s knowledge of computer and internet). All organizations need to send 5 questions to the coordinator by the end of the year 2011. One of the project results are the migration stories. Every partner must prepare 3 stories about the people’s experience regarding their migration path. Another project results is a booklet about voluntary work – every partner prepares such 1 document about the help one person can offer to another (summarizing the participants experience), based on the expertise and experience of the partner organization. We emphasize that every person can assist someone else, help to solve the problems of another human being – and age or gender doesn’t matter. Everyone desided to hold the 3rd partner meeting in Lithuania (May 2012). That means in January/February we meet in Italy for the 5th partner meeting.

Overall every partner had to send to the coordinator the following documents  before the meeting in Iskenderun:

  • reading rates in the partner country – December 2011 the latest;
  • proposals for the common books to read – December 2011 the latest;
  • 10 question about partner country for the cultural awareness questionnaire – beginning of December 2011;
  • 5 questions for the ICT test – December 2011 the latest;
  • CV examples (2 by men and 2 by women) – December 2011/January 2012 the latest;

Launch of the European Reader’s Club

In the end partners decided that the first meetings of European Reader’s Club in every country should start at least in January 2012 the latest. During that month (or end of December 2011) organizations should at least hold an organizational meeting and explain potential participants what the project is about and what they can expect from it, give application forms to fill out etc.

28th of October (Friday)

Before the sighteeing started the partners also decided to have a common dinner to get to know more about each other interests and make some plans for the future cooperation.

Cultural Day during which partner organizations were given time to get to know the capital of England better and learn smth new about the British culture. After a preparatory cultural session on Thursday conducted by ALFA Center every organization received general information on historical sights in London and with the help of British partner could develop the sightseeing tour which suited them best. This was a good chance to practive some English (*working langauge of the project) and see the beautiful history of the British nation.

29th of October (Saturday)

Departure day. Everyone got back home to start working on their partner tasks, but every single partner was looking forward to meeting again in Turkey in February.