These encounters, initiated in 2000, seek to facilitate the exchange of experiences, work proposals and useful information, as well as the closeness and collaboration between those people and entities who, across Europe, work to guarantee that the Catalan expats have a point of encounter, and to spread the Catalan culture abroad.
The Secretary of State on Government, Meritxell Borras, inaugurated the encounter with an informative session about the new electronic vote system, -currently a bill ending its processing- which seeks to guarantee the right of vote to the Catalans living abroad.
The encounter had the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the EU, Jordi Sole, who stressed that “the members of the Catalan communities abroad are the best agents of the Catalan public diplomacy”. The Head of Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Sergi Marcen, intervened to open the doors of the Delegation and to offer a close relation with the Catalan communities in both countries.
The program included presentations about the overseas vote, the register of the Catalans abroad and the Catalan communities abroad Act by Antoni Montserrat and Jordi Gairin, representatives of the International Federation of Catalan Entities.
The teaching of Catalan language to the communities abroad was tackled by Ester Pou and Jordi Bou, coordinators of the Catalan School of London. On the other hand, Maria Jose Sanchez, from the Linguistic Immersion and Reception Service of the Department of Education of the Catalan Government, explained how the linguistic policies for the newcomers in Catalonia are applied, as well as the existing resources and educational material.
Marina Falco, President of CatalansUK, presented the welcome and orientation program “Welcome newcomers” organised in collaboration with the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Josep Puigbo, President of the Buenos Aires Catalan community, shared its orientation to the newcomer program via Skype. Likewise, Orland Cardona, Head of the Institutional Relations and Participation Area of the Ministry of Equality, Migrations and Citizens, leaded a debate about migration policies and the support to newcomers in Catalonia.
The Catalan professionals abroad networks were introduced by Xavier Urbaneja, from the Lausanne-Geneva Catalan Community, and Jordi Giudicci, from CatalansUK, who presented the dinner and social gathering model with some personalities from the politic, economic and social Catalan world, as well as Professional Talks, where young Catalan professionals working in different institutions and companies in the United Kingdom share their experiences. Oscar Marti, Director of Catalonia Trade&Investment in the United Kingdom and Ireland, presented its functions and objectives.
The encounter included a workshop about social networks by Sergi Marzabal, who created Catalans al Mon (Catalans in the World, in English), a virtual platform for Catalans around the world, with 410 registered webs and more than 12.000 users in 125 countries.
Finally, the most interactive part was performed by Daniel Gimenez, in charge of Knowledge Management in the Catalan Public Health Agency and collaborative work expert, and Xavier Urbajena, representative of the Catalans Communities abroad Council and innovation expert. By means of workshops, they presented the tactics and tools of the team and network work among the Catalan communities abroad.
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