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Days 1 & 2: EU Migration Challenges

The First Open Conference was kicked off on Friday evening with opening addresses by Dr. Katarzyna Pisarska, leader of InsSciDE WP1 and director of EAD, and Prof. Pascal Griset, Project Coordinator of InsSciDE. In line with the Conference’s theme of ’Migration’, Dr. Pisarska delivered an overview on EU migration policies and their key concepts and approaches. Prof. Griset introduced the powerful potential behind science diplomacy and explained how the practice’s ‘sum’ is greater than its parts.

On the second day of the Open Conference, Ave Poom, policy adviser at eu-LISA, the EU Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, discussed the agency’s mandate and activities. eu-LISA’s mission is to support EU Member States through technology ’for a safer Europe’. It manages the operations of three central EU information systems: the Schengen Information System (SIS II), Visa Information System (VIS) and EURODAC. The agency ensures continuous and uninterrupted exchange of data between national authorities using these systems, and the ’fair, lawful and correct’ treatment of personal information. These information systems are central to the EU’s management of migration. They also set the stage for technology and security diplomacy - Poom pointed out that eu-LISA oversees negotiations between Member States regarding the use of these technologies.

Discussants considered the role to be played by science diplomacy: what values do we embed in our border technologies? Participants pointed out that scientifically and technologically proficient diplomats can make sure that border technologies are sensitive to cultural differences, so that certain gestures or acts are not misinterpreted as indicators of criminality where they are merely culture-specific.
The afternoon saw breakout sessions on the topics of human rights, border control technologies, gender in migration, and policy instruments for development aid and spatial management . The day was wrapped up by a plenary summary which tied together the dimensions of science and diplomacy in migration policy.