This mass migration has posed numerous challenges to both the receiving countries and the Venezuelan migrants themselves. The workshop "Venezuelan Migration in Latin America" explored the multifaceted issues surrounding the integration of Venezuelan migrants in Latin American countries, highlighting both the challenges and the potential opportunities that arise from this phenomenon.
The primary focus of the event was on the integration challenges faced by both Venezuelan migrants and the host countries. Participants delved into key areas of concern, including access to education and employment. Recognition of qualifications and competition for jobs were explored as obstacles to successful integration. Additionally, the workshop addressed the social and cultural dimensions of integration, with a focus on combating discrimination, fostering social cohesion, and promoting intercultural dialogue.
Amidst these challenges, this workshop also highlighted the opportunities that arise from Venezuelan migration. Attendees explored the potential economic contributions of Venezuelan migrants, who often bring valuable skills, entrepreneurship, and innovation to their host countries. This workshop emphasized the benefits of cultural diversity and how it can enrich local communities and foster a more inclusive society.
The workshop started off with the opening remarks of Dr. Omid Alizadeh Afrouzi and an introductory video from Dr. Vanessa Boanada Fuchs, in which she discussed the objectives of the research project behind the workshop. Dr. Boanada Fuchs explained that the project is grounded on the themes of international migration and sustainable communities and fits into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG11 (making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable).
The first panelist, Dr. Juan Fernando Palacio Roldán, asserted that the Venezuelan crisis is one of the three biggest crises in the world, along with Ukraine and Syria, and therefore our responsibility is to focus on these migrant communities, as well as the host communities. Dr. Palacio also spoke about integration processes and presented the empirical cases of Colombia and Brazil. He believes that this Venezuelan crisis is a litmus test, not only for Latin America, but for the entire sub-global. Dr. Palacio has highlighted the importance of stakeholder networks and stakeholder ecosystems, identifying nine different actors who can influence the integration of Venezuelan immigrants.
The next panelist, Dr. Omid Alizadeh Afrouzi, focused on xenophobia against Venezuelan immigrants in host communities. He emphasized that Venezuelan immigrants are perceived as a threat to economic prosperity, job growth and public services, resulting in vulnerabilities and racism. Dr. Alizadeh centered his presentation on narrative persuasion and messages that can humanize Venezuelan immigrants. Through an empirical example, Dr. Alizadeh pointed out that narrative messages can be an efficient strategy to reduce prejudice against immigrants.
The third panelist, Dr. Irulú Labarca, addressed the challenges of Venezuelan women entrepreneurs and the activities of the NPO Emprecolven. And the final presentation came from Mariana Silveira who spoke about indigenous migration to Brazil, the Warao case. In her research Mariana asked if the Warao are nomads and how do the Brazilian laws apply to their case. She detailed the cultural differences and language, as well as the gender differences and prejudices they face.
This workshop was organized by Centro Latinoamericano-Suizo (CLS), St.Gallen Institute of Management in Latin America (GIMLA), Asociación Colombiana de Investigadores en Suiza (ACIS), and Rede Brasil Suíça de integração acadêmica e professional.