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"Conversescion": not a mis-type, a different way to inclusion of asylum seekers

Your Name and Title: Matilde Fontanin

Library, School, or Organization Name: University La Sapienza (Rome) and University of Trieste - Italy

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Italy (Europe)

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Librarians, social workers and public administrators (especially in areas with centers for asylum seekers or other populations not speaking the local language)

Short Session Description (one line): How asylum seekers and locals learnt from each other at the library

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

This is a story from real life from which some lessons could be drawn. The experience took place in a small town in Northern Italy, where over 10 years previously a center for asylum seekers had been established, answering the pressure of population movements from the Middle East and Africa  - above all - to Europe. The town never hosted foreigners in its history, except for a couple of families after the 90ies, so the sight of groups of young men  - prevalently from Pakistan and Afghanistan - walking in the street was a cause for distress for many.

In this context the local administration organised a series of meetings at the local library entitled "Conversescion" - a joke on the way the word "Conversation" would be spelt in Italian - to invite the local population to learn English from the asylum seekers.

The story here reports the speakers' impressions: what participants learnt, who learned from whom,  in what way the fact of holding the meetings at the library made a difference, what worked and what did not.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: Conversescion Facebook group

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