Working with high schools students in Turin, against Frontex

I recently met (for the second year in a row) some high school kids here in Turin to talk about Frontex. It was their teacher, the talented Antonella Mantovani, who brought them to me for a class project related to migration and the issue of ‘fortress Europe’.

I share Antonella’s feedback on this experience, which gave me even more strength to fight Frontex and the militarisation of the university (my translation).

Dear Michele,

the students in the group that had had the wonderful experience of meeting with you about Frontex made their presentation last Friday, which ended with the class holding a demonstration against Frontex during the lecture break.

The students did a great job and I urged them to send you the ppt, to show you that your great willingness allowed us to do some counter-information. Tell me if you have received the work, if not I will pass it on to you.

In the personal reports the guys expressed great appreciation for you. I’ll turn some extracts over to you.

“This group work was one of the most interesting I have ever participated in and it allowed me to inform myself on sensitive and topical issues. Three months ago, in fact, I knew nothing about Frontex and its violations and I knew nothing about the agreement between the Polytechnic and the Agency, which is now being talked about more and more.
The work of ‘a world without borders’ also gave me the great opportunity to interview Professor Michele Lancione in person: meeting him was extremely interesting and educational and I believe it also added considerable value to our work. I was pleasantly surprised by his enormous helpfulness from the very beginning, when we contacted him by email, until our meeting: he even gave us a tour of the beautiful Faculty of Architecture, which I had never entered before.
… Lastly, I am really very pleased with the flag we had coloured: I am happy that our classmates liked the idea in the first place, and then also the people from Galfer who came to help us. I believe that our objective, that of letting as many people as possible know what Frontex was and did, was achieved, and I had proof of this when some curious kids who were passing by on the second floor asked me to explain our work to them in detail. “

“I think that of all those I have done this group work was the most interesting for two main reasons. The first was definitely for the interview with the expert in the field, Prof. Michele Lancione, because it was an experience I had never had before. All the various steps of the meeting, from the contact, to the formulation of the questions, and ending with the actual interview, were a completely new situation. The second reason is because of the topics covered, as especially the part on current affairs allowed me to discover many aspects of today’s world that I was not yet aware of. The glaring example is the European agency Frontex, which I would still be completely unaware of if it were not for this group work.
I was also very impressed by the attitudes and mannerisms of the professor, who showed himself to be an affable and humble person, but at the same time particularly knowledgeable and very determined to continue on the path taken in the fight against Frontex… “

I should add that when I went down to the floor where the small demonstration was taking place (the class was colouring a STOP FRONTEX sign prepared by the working group and explaining to those who asked questions what Frontex is) I found a very pro-European colleague who was arguing with the students, claiming that Frontex has been ‘diverted’ but originally has good purposes. I joined in the discussion and then sent her some material… the colleague today thanked me for the material, which she read, and expressed all her scandal about Frontex, about which she had wrong information.
I mean, the guys have really made some changes.

Thank you very much!

A greeting full of esteem and admiration

The esteem and admiration are all mine, dear Prof, for how you treat your students, and how they treat the time they have at school.

And by the way, the demonstration against Frontex during recess is something that makes me very proud. It is one of my best contributions to the impact of the university and research on civil society.

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