September 29, 2022

Waterford political candidates with immigrant backgrounds sought for new webinar series

The Immigrant Council of Ireland is calling on potential political candidates with an immigrant background in Waterford to attend a series of webinars exploring diversity in politics.

The Immigrant Council, in partnership with Dublin City University, is hosting the series in March and April.

The series will feature contributions from former election candidates and current serving advisers with immigrant backgrounds, as well as political system and campaign experts.

The webinar series – titled “Promoting Democratic Participation: An Active Citizenship for Migrants” – aims to introduce potential candidates to the Irish political system, covering topics such as: party systems in Ireland, mobilizing migrant voters, women migrant women in politics, party affiliation, organization of electoral campaigns, awareness-raising strategies and campaigns on social networks.

The first session of the series will take place on Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m.

According to a study conducted by the Immigrant Council on the experiences of migrant candidates in elections in 2019, migrants face additional campaign obstacles that other candidates do not have to face.

In order to combat these barriers, the Immigrant Council has implemented a number of projects, including voter education workshops and internship programs for migrants.

The webinars will be co-coordinated by Teresa Buczkowska, Immigrant Council of Ireland and Dr Valesca Lima, Dublin City University.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Yara Alagha, a board member of Women for Election, has been named one of 22 activists to watch in 2022 by the Irish Independent.
  • Councilor Abul Kalam Azad Telekdar (FF), former Deputy Mayor of Limerick.
  • Councilor Uruemu Adejinmi (FF), Lord Mayor of Longford.
  • Sandra Ruiz, migrant integration expert and candidate in the 2019 local elections.

Commenting on the upcoming series of webinars, Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Manager at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said:

“The political participation of migrants has increased considerably in recent years. Currently we have 12 local councilors with an immigrant background and are working with a number of potential election candidates.

“Local councilors are the best trainers and role models who can provide knowledge and encouragement to migrants considering running for local office in Waterford in 2024.

“There are many capable migrant community leaders in Waterford and across Ireland who would make excellent local advisers and we hope we can reach them with our webinars.”

Also commenting on the upcoming series, Dr Valesca Lima, Assistant Professor of Politics at Dublin City University, said:

“Active citizenship is an important element of migrant integration and a healthy democracy.

“Having diverse voices at the decision-making table supports equality and ensures the success of all our communities and a cohesive society. We hope the webinar series will help migrant candidates run successful election campaigns in 2024 and beyond.

The webinars are part of the New Foundations project funded by the Irish Research Council. The online webinar series begins Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m.

All webinars are free and those interested can register here.