Identity on the Line
Identity on the Line

Policy recommendations

Project findings and recommendations

The findings of the I-ON project are more relevant today than ever. They raise the awareness that migration policies should not only look at the short-term economic and social effects of migratory movements, but also at the long-term consequences that they have for the migrants themselves and their descendants. Traumatic experiences can haunt former migrants, their families, and local societies for decades, and this comes in addition to the demanding personal attempts to shape a new identity in a new country. 

Through joint approaches and the conduction of more than 160 in-depth interviews in all countries, have the project partners to identify common reactions to trauma and how trauma transfer takes place. The joint outcomes of the project gave informants an opportunity not only to tell their stories for the very first time, but also to start personal healing processes and make their voices available to the general public. 

Informants were given a chance to talk, and to be heard. 

Through a multilateral approach, the collection of empirical data, and the use of a methodological and analytical framework, I-ON has transformed its research on these experiences into concrete recommendations for European policymakers. We invite regulators working on migration policies to:

  1. Raise awareness about the long-term consequences of war and forced migration by always applying a three-generational perspective.
  2. Intensify efforts to provide multidisciplinary support after collective trauma; support by cultural mediators, ethnologists, anthropologists, historians, sociologist, ideally in collaboration with psychologists and psychiatrists.
  3. Support and enable professionals and institutions working with cultural heritage to raise public attention towards sensitive and contested historical events, and apply a multi-vocal perspective.
  4. Intensify initiatives on societal and political levels to diminish all forms of stereotyping of migrants
  5. Initiate further research on how public interpretation and display of contested history can positively impact individual and societal physical and psychological wellbeing.
Looking ahead

These recommendations are a contribution to long-term solutions for an issue that is often seen as a short-term urgency. I-ON provides ideas for initiatives that are designed to foster societal cohesion and avoid critical pitfalls on the way to more sustainable societies.  

Museums and academia can make a real difference in the communities they operate in – by providing a safe space where unheard voices can be heard, by facilitating a unique access to information on sensitive experiences, and by creating an arena for participation and intercultural dialogue. These are crucial components in the healing of collective trauma.

This is, however, a collective social effort that needs concrete support from all institutions in the European Union – one that requires everyone to work together for the well-being of today’s and future Europeans.

“Today, I don’t see this as a problem anymore, but as something that enriches me. Because of this, I can get along with different people and environments. With migration and unconditional support, my parents gave me a broader perspective.”