In a united process against xenophobia and alienation, we will organize a 30-days intercultural festival across the island of Chios, where local and refugee communities will be introducing their history and culture to each other. Local women and students will present the history and customs of Chios, the local arts and crafts, and the Chiotan food and mentality. In exchange, the hosted communities do the same, inspiring integration and co- creation.
Chios is a Greek island at Northern Aegean. It has 57.000 inhabitants, of which 5.000 are refugees.
Europe is not about Europeans only, and the refugee problem is not only Greek. Our project will suggest and implement ways towards social inclusion, equality and solidarity, leading to a harmonic co-existence based on mutual respect. This way, we promote a democratic model of co-existence.
After the festival, the existing cultures will have made a starting point for communication and inclusion. The refugees will feel more welcome, and the Chiotans less threatened. Moreover, we will have set up the grounds for further organization of similar institutions.
We intend to use research and direct action. We will mobilize local women's groups, cultural associations, public and private institutions, artists, schools, sport clubs, and ask them to join. We will create similar groups amongst the refugee communities and suggest the collaboration between them, making them co-organizers of the festival. We will create dance, music and cooking and media groups, athletic events, self-defense classes, language workshops, involving as many people as possible.
My family comes from Chios, and they where refugees who reached the island after the war in Asia Minor. The refugees then, managed to enrich and flourish the local culture. I think that this is possible now, only if the new inhabitants get to know the island, and the locals their new neighbours.
We are organizing this event, addressing to all the inhabitants of Chios, with a particular focus on women and children from the local and refugee communities.
We would appreciate any constructive criticism and creative advice.