Just Peace 2017 #4

How does The Hague welcome newcomers?

Discussion - 

During the weekend of Just Peace, we discuss with policy-makers, newcomers and artists how The Hague does it: welcome newcomers. Our special guest is the Syrian photographer Issa Touma. During the war he organized workshops that brought together young people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds. What can The Hague, the most segregated city in the Netherlands, learn from his experiences?

We discuss with Issa Touma this project and his experiences in Aleppo. How should a city counter polarization? What should The Hague and its inhabitants do to welcome newcomers? And what responsibility do newcomers themselves have? We then continue the conversation with policy-makers, newcomers and community builders from The Hague.

About the speakers

  • Issa Touma is a photographer, documentary maker and curator based in Aleppo (Syria). In 1992 he set up the first photography gallery in the Middle East. When this gallery closed, he set up the art organization Le Pont, which promotes freedom of expression and the local art scene through international events. For example, in 1997 he started the International Photography Festival Aleppo, an event still held every year despite everything. In 2012, shortly after war broke out, he initiated Art Camping, which organizes workshops aimed at bringing together young people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds and encourages them to express themselves through culture.
  • Rabin Baldewsingh is a Dutch politician, writer, poet and film maker with a Surinamese-Hindu descent. He has been an arbitrator in the Hague since 2006 Currently integration is one of his portfolio. This year he has been much in the Dutch media because of his criticism on the national integration policy and on his own integration approach in the Hague, for which he made social internships for refugees mandatory.
  • Mohammed Taha is a Syrian newcomer, currently living in The Hague and studying at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. He has been traveling several times with Integration Caravan, an initiative of mainly Syrian refugees, who travel to different cities in the Netherlands to get to know the country and initiate conversations with the locals.
  • Two citizens of The Hague who participated in the project Studio Aleppo [The Hague] will talk about their experiences. How do they think that The Hague is welcoming newcomers?
  • Shervin Nekuee is the moderator. He is a sociologist, publicist and program maker.

About Studio Aleppo

Issa Touma is the initiator of Studio Aleppo – Picturing (New) European Citizens, in which pop-up photography studios are set up in various European cities. In each city, newcomers and ‘established’ residents are invited to have their picture taken by a prominent photographer. In the weekend of 16-17 September, Humanity House will transform into a pop-up photography studio. Here, renowned photographer Robin de Puy will photograph fifty residents from The Hague. In addition, the people portrayed will be interviewed about their ties to the city.

Join the conversation and stay updated at the Facebook event.

Photo: Dirk-Jan Visser.