On Monday May 2 a coalition of Jewish, Armenian, Roma and Assyrian organizations launched a charter “For a Europe of Diasporas” at a conference in the European Parliament. The document (available here) is a call for Europe to rediscover and value its diasporas.
The document emphasizes that diasporas “are a product of Europe’s history, [a] part of the European tapestry, have contributed to making European civilization what it is today and will continue in the future”. It defines diasporas as “transnational communities [that] share a common cultural heritage transmitted through generations.” Says Ismael Cortez of the UNESCO Institute of Philosophy: “many believe that there is an original European ethnic group. That is nationalist thinking. The perspective of the project “A Europe of Diasporas” is that Europe has always been a mosaic of peoples. […] My people, the Roma, are truly European as much as the rest.”
Conference panels discussed two areas of concerns in particular: education and the need for “inclusive narratives”. The charter’s call for “children affiliated with a diaspora [to] have an opportunity to learn of their background and heritage” was backed by the representative of the European Commission, Ms Kristina Cunningham: “we are arguing that schools today need to take the mother tongue of every child into account to support the development of children’s individual multilingualism.”