Migrant and Refugee Leaders Network
The Migrant and Refugee Leaders Network is a peer support platform where migrant and refugee leaders can reflect on their leadership journeys, share stories of success as well as challenges, and motivate each other to continue on their community empowerment work.
Ireland is a very diverse society: 1 in 8 (12%) of us are people of a migrant background. Within our migrant and refugee communities Ireland has a pool of talented and inspiring leaders. They deliver a great deal of work contributing to the wellbeing of their local communities and transforming our society to be a better place for us all.
However, many of the leaders work in silos, with no connection to wider networks or platforms. Migrant and refugee leaders are also still marginalised from public discourse on migration, integrating, diversity and anti-racism. The migrant rights sector and campaigns are still largely led by people who are not directly affected by those matters. Engagement of migrants and refugees in the public discourse and campaigning needs to be based on fair power dynamics embedded in leadership.
The overarching aim of this platform is to build a well-connected and effective network of migrant and refugee leaders in Ireland. Strong network of leaders makes migrant and refugee communities resilient and empowered to speak out on issues affecting them. The longterm objective is also to increase diversity in leadership in the social justice sector, by providing access to career enhancing opportunities.
Migrant and Refugee Leaders Network consist of participants and alumni of leadership and political participation programmes delivered by the Immigrant Council:
- Migrant Leadership Academy
- Migrant – Councillor Internship Scheme
- Migrant Electoral Empowerment Project
- Community Navigators
The Migrant and Refugee Leaders Network is also a part of a wider network of migrant and refugee leaders under the umbrella of the Transatlantic Migrant Democracy Dialogue (TMDD). The TMDD is the led organiser of the annual Democracy Summit, a 3 day training and peer-learning forum, focusing on democracy, solidarity, anti-racism and leadership.
What do we do?
The Migrant and Refugee Leadership Network aims at being a resource, safe space, a springboard, and a source of motivation and support. Members can participate in the network and engage with other members through a variety of channels:
- Monthly Network Sessions – This is a space where migrant and refugee leaders can meet, connect, discuss, learn and plan. The monthly session will provide a mix of facilitated discussions, workshops, panel discussions, keynote speakers and brainstorming sessions. For the schedule of monthly meetings go here.
- Information exchange – One of the main reasons of marginalisation of migrant and refugee leaders from the mainstream discussion is information gap. Coordinators of the MRL network put a strong emphasis on facilitating a regular information exchange on various opportunities that can support leadership development, and career progression of the network members, and members of their communities.
- One-to-one support – Members of the MRL network have a variety of expertise, skills and knowledge. Members will be encouraged and facilitated to reach out to each other for support, advice and practical help on projects and campaigns.
- Joint collaboration – Many migrant and refugee leaders work on the same issues and face similar challenges. The MRL network is a platform where people can form alliances for joint collaboration.
- Platform sharing – The Immigrant Council commits to sharing their platform by engaging the network members in various speaking opportunities, facilitating participation in national and international integration forums, supporting avenues for media engagement, etc.
Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Manager
Immigrant Council Integration Manager Teresa Buczkowska is a Polish migrant woman living in Ireland since 2005. She joined the Immigrant Council of Ireland in 2013, initially as an Integration Intern, progressing to the position of the Integration Team Coordinator in 2015.
Teresa holds an MA in Ethnography and Social Anthropology from Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. Teresa is a qualified trainer in diversity management, intercultural competency and anti-racism. In 2019 she was awarded a bursary by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to study for a Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality at the Institute for Public Administration.
Teresa is published both in Ireland and internationally on racism, integration best practices and integration politics. In December 2019 Teresa was appointed to the board of the Arts Council.
Liliana joined the Integration Team at the Immigrant Council of Ireland in August 2021. She has been involved in social inclusion and migrant integration projects as the current Chairperson of the Venezuelan Community in Ireland (VCI) and the South Dublin Migrant Integration Forum (SDMIF). She previously worked as a consultant for the UN-agency FAO and the Natural Resources Governance Institute. Liliana holds a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) from the School of Public Policy of the Central European University and a Certificate in Charity Law, Governance and Trusteeship from the Law Society of Ireland.
Monthly Network Sessions’ schedule
- October – Welcoming meeting. Date: 19 October 2021
Hosted by: Teresa Buczkowska, Valeria Aquino and Liliana Fernandez
- November– Monetising your skills and experience. How to put a value on your work in the social justice sector. Date: 23 November 2021
Workshop by: Megan Flynn Dixon, business strategist
- December – Diversity in Politics. Keynote speaker and Q&A
Keynote speaker: name TBC. Date: 21 December 2021
- January – Community navigators – migrant led outreach and service provision.
Panel discussion moderated by Valeria Aquino. Date: 18 January 2022
Panellists: Community Navigators
- February – Healing justice – how to put healing at the centre of your community work.
Workshop by: Act Build Change. Date: 15 February 2022
- March – Migrant Women Change Makers
Discussion moderated by: Name TBC. Date: 22 March 2022