On December 26th the MAX Project´s “Building new narratives: Migration and its contribution European society”, final event was hosted in the Museum of Natural History in Brussels. It was the celebration and epitome of diversity and cohabitation of different origins and cultures.
Adem Kumcu, president of the New European Business Confederation, opened the event with a keynote speech underlining the importance of combining scientific facts and statistics with stories, narratives, art, culture food, music etc. which is often forgotten when speaking of foreigners and their contribution to the host society. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of the human and emotional touch for successful advocacy.
Following the speech, the film makers Lidija Zelovic and César Díaz who were part of the jury of the MAX Film Festival, were invited to the stage and had a conversation moderated by the Master of Ceremonies, Vanessa Cotterell.
Lidija, coming from Bosnia, and having to leave her country when it was at war, she explains that for her it was difficult to accept that she was a refugee because she did not see herself as such, but as a “princess and princesses could not be refugees”. César points out during the conversation that integration does not mean forgetting who you are. Both shared experiences and interesting insights about their journey and vision of migration which you can enjoy here. After the discussion, participants had the chance to interact with each other in a relaxed atmosphere over exquisite and varied food prepared by immigrants and refugees living in Belgium. In parallel, two exhibitions, showing paintings and cartoons about migration made by refugee and immigrant children and a mosaic photography exhibition describing the contribution of immigrants to Belgium were accessible for participants to visit throughout the evening.
The soirée continued with two captivating concerts one by the Tatyos Ensemble which took the audience to southern places through modern and classical Turkish music and one by In C, an ensemble of 14 musicians with as many instruments as different cultural influences, reflecting the wealth of music in the city. Meanwhile and accompanying the rhythm of the music, the illustrator Gerda Dendooven provided colourful, meaningful and hypnotizing projections on a screen behind the musicians.
In contrast to the lively atmosphere, participants had the option to escape and join the film projection taking place in a cinema room where two movies, centered around the topic of migration, that participated in the MAX Film Festival, were shown.
It was an enjoyable and entertaining evening, with in a unique and magical setting that allowed participants to remember our humble and common origins, to escape reality for an evening, travel in time and to faraway countries.