Supporting the self-representation of refugee youth.
The Council for Refugee Students at DIME is a democratically elected body of self-representation and advocacy for young refugees in the higher education programs of DIME. The first body of its kind in Mexico and Latin America, the Council for Refugees in Mexico seeks to create a safe space for the voices of refugee students and allow for the full expression of diverse identities and opinions on issues relevant to this community.
At the same time, the Council serves to implement different initiatives by refugee students themselves, collaborate with the base team of DIME, and participate in national and international forums to strengthen the new generation of refugee-led organizations and youth networks.
In the future, DIME envisions an expansion of the Council to include a greater diversity of refugee voices, including those outside of university communities.
DIME’s Council for Refugee Students was inspired by other powerful youth movements and refugee-led organizations and acts in response to the global need to promote the self-advocacy of refugees and related communities. UNHCR defines a refugee-led organization (RLO) as:
“an organization or group in which persons with direct lived experience of forced displacement play a primary leadership role and whose stated objectives and activities are focused on responding to the needs of refugees and/or related communities.”
Not only has it been shown that refugees are usually the first to respond to crises affecting their communities, but also that supporting the work of RLOs is among the most effective ways to benefit refugee communities in both the short and long term. With this project, DIME follows the United Nations Global Compact for Refugees in its actions and firm belief that effective change is only possible if the people who are affected by it are actively and meaningfully involved in the measures and decisions taken.
Furthermore, DIME’s work with the Council for Refugee Students supports and complements the actions of other international refugee movements, such as Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-Seat), the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Student Action for Refugees (STAR) in order to transform the way refugees’ needs are represented in international cooperation, humanitarian assistance, and other arenas. Only with refugee participation and leadership can decision making comprehensively and sustainably address the diverse needs of these communities and change prevailing narratives.
At DIME, we care about the overall well-being of each student, and we are aware of the obstacles they may face in various areas of their lives. However, we know that no one is in a better position to identify specific needs and priorities than the refugee students themselves.
Therefore, in order to ensure the success and sustainability of the Welcoming Communities program, it is critical that refugees are included in the design and implementation of the activities in the higher education environment, and that their voices are heard loud and clear throughout the process.
The Council is composed of members from diverse cultural backgrounds, countries, genders, and educational programs. This body works closely with DIME to ensure that the implementation of the program meets their needs.
The key strategies for a successful and sustainable implementation of the project are:
DIME works with Council members to identify their interests and needs, which can be supported by our organizational capacity. In this way, the Council can become better equipped to share its own knowledge and capacities with the broader student and youth community in Mexico.
Based on the priorities identified by Council members, DIME supports their initiatives for activities that raise awareness on questions relating to forced mobility and integration in order to promote meaningful participation and the inclusion of refugees in decision-making processes and other key areas.
Each year, DIME facilitates a space for leadership development through the work of the Council. The Leadership meetings include a series of sessions to nurture effective collaboration, refugee integration, and increased awareness among both DIME Higher Education Program students and local student committees in Mexico.
The Council for Refugee Students at DIME regularly collaborates with local student committees at Mexican universities to carry out joint work on integration opportunities. A variety of activities, such as cultural events, sports, shared meals, and others allow for bridging any cultural differences and creating opportunities for mutual engaged learning.
Rooted in the core values of DIME, we aim to provide the Council with diverse opportunities to engage with a broader audience and Mexican civil society in various areas in order to mitigate possibilities for conflict and encourage the exchange of ideas based on the richness of cultural diversity.
The Council for Refugee Students supports DIME in the design, planning, and implementation of events to express its needs and priorities, as well as strengthening its capacity in this area. Public events are often key venues for message dissemination and meaningful dialogue based on lived experiences rather than second-hand accounts.
At DIME, we seek to strengthen and amplify the voices of refugee youth and facilitate knowledge exchange by fostering connections between similar organizations, movements, and youth-led initiatives in the field of forced mobility. This promotes the sharing of best practices, improves representation in decision-making processes, and enables better identification of key areas for growth.
[email protected]+52 449 110 75 78Francisco I. Madero 802, Barrio de la EstaciónC.P. 20259 Aguascalientes, Ags.México