AEIDL played a major role in coordinating the cooperation between 20 partner organisations involved in MAX (Maximizing Migrants’ Contribution to Society), a European project that aimed to change public attitudes to migrants not only by seeking to convince rationally on the basis of facts and figures, but also acting on emotion through personal stories and face-to-face encounters between local citizens and newcomers.
Funded through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), MAX brought together 20 partners, that is 15 local organisations from 12 EU Member States (BE, CZ, DE, EE, EL, ES, FR, SI, IT, NL, PL and SE) and five EU-level partners, with the aim of strengthening – through innovative means and techniques – the existing fabric of networks and parties involved in providing a fairer and more accurate portrayal of migrants, focusing on the contribution they make to society, and providing the tools and guidelines to do so, in a flexible manner that can change over time according to needs.
Diversity Dialogue Fora: AEIDL led and supported MAX’s 15 local partner organisations to foster links between migrants and local citizens through models of local fora. Those were both online and physical grassroots activities connecting third-country nationals, local residents, public administrations, organisations involved in migrant integration, local newspapers and other stakeholders, to work on overcoming stereotypes and misconceptions and to analyse the evidence-based findings on the positive contribution of migrants to society in the European Union.
MAX Diversity Film Festival (MDFF): AEIDL initiated, designed and carried through an innovative festival for films made by and/or dealing with migration in Europe. It attracted 477 entries, both long and short, and both amateur and professional, from 82 countries, of which 73 were selected as eligible and judged by a panel of 10, in four categories. The jurors pre-selected their eighteen finalists and the general public were enabled to vote online for their favourite under each category as well as for the Audience Award, and 2,164 valid votes were received. The winners were announced during the ceremony award on November 5th, 2021 and further invited, along some of the finalists, to the MDFF Reunion to debate about the migration stories behind the films.
MAX’s main achievements include:
- The organisation of 21 Diversity Dialogue Fora events in 12 countries, which attracted over 1,300 participants of different backgrounds around Europe;
- The celebration of the MAX Diversity Film Festival, with more than 450 applications received and winners announced in five categories;
- The publication of four research reports on the impact of migrant populations in Europe (social, economic and cultural) and the opinions, fears and prejudices regarding migrants in Europe;
- The presentation of one policy recommendation paper during a policy roundtable with representatives from EU institutions;
- A social media campaign with a set of 21 key messages aiming to improve the public image of migrants in Europe;
- A database of good and bad practice (successes and failures in migrant integration) with videos, articles and reports;
- A two-day final event in Brussels with 150 participants, combining a conference and a cultural festival;
- Drafting of a curriculum for solutions-focused migration reporting tested during the training MAX did with 145 journalists and communication students based in 23 countries across Europe;
- Dissemination of 48 solution-focused migration news in the MAX project web and media as well as at the media outlet of The Local Europe;
Achieving over 500,000 impressions on Facebook and Twitter.