The Migrant Peacebuilding Project

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Educational Seminar and Updates

Posted by Sam Chase on July 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Today we had the opportunity to visit a local school and conduct the second of our educational seminars on the topic of migration. One of the participants from our first focus group is a teacher who was very interested in our project, and invited us to give a presentation about the issue to a group of students who have been studying the Guatemalan internal conflict, which officially ended in 1996. Migration patterns, particularly those of ‘first wave’ migrants during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, are closely tied to the high levels of violence and weak rule of law present during those decades. While escaping violence is still a driving factor behind modern Guatemalan emigration, the pull of greater economic earning power in the United States has largely asserted itself as the dominant factor pulling migrant workers away from what they perceive as bleak economic conditions at home.

      The students were very interested in our project, and we were able to use the opportunity to speak with some of them, as well as their teachers, about their perceptions concerning migrants and politics of migration. One teacher we spoke with had herself previously migrated to the States, now she teaches English. English proficiency gained while abroad is a valuable skill in the Guatemalan labor market, and we are hopeful that employers in industries such as tourism or telecommunications will be working with us to match migrants who speak English with jobs which meet their skillsets.

Preparations for the job fair are also well underway. We have booked a space in the Grand Tikal Futura Hotel for August 18th, and already several companies have committed to send representatives to attend and speak about their organizations and hand out job applications. Other services we plan to provide at the event include a resume building and skills area, job interview tips, a seminar on motivation and leadership conducted by a professional trainer, and even live music from a band which has generously donated their time! We are in the process of promoting the job fair, and are putting up fliers all around the city, as well as hopefully partnering with the IMO to hand them out to newly returned migrants at the airport. We also have a few media interviews planned for next week which should help get the word out, and we plan to take out ad space in some newspapers which have a wide circulation in Guatemala.

Additionally, we have largely concluded our survey on public perceptions of stigmas, and are working hard to analyze the data we have gathered. The survey, along with the results from our upcoming final focus groups, should give us enough qualitative and quantitative data to draw valid conclusions and write a pretty interesting report, especially as this is a relatively new area of academic study. We have two upcoming focus groups planned, one for CEOs and other employers scheduled for Friday, and another to hear from migrants themselves early next week. After that, all we have to do is actually write the report’s conclusions, as well as continue to contact enterprises and raise awareness of our job fair among migrant communities. All in all, things are going pretty well, and make sure to check back for more updates on our progress!


Categories: Reconciliation (2013)

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