Public Webinar Series: Diversity in Politics
The Immigrant Council of Ireland, in partnership with Dublin City University, is excited to present a series of public webinars on the theme 'Promoting Democratic Participation: An Active Citizenship for Migrants'. This webinar series introduces various aspects of the Irish political system, with a focus on aspiring local election candidates and those with an interest in the Irish political and electoral system. The series covers topics such as party systems in Ireland, mobilisation of migrant voters, migrant women in politics; party affiliation, electoral campaign organisation, outreach strategies, and social media campaigning.
The webinars will be coordinated by Immigrant Council Integration Manager Teresa Buczkowska and from DCU Dr Valesca Lima. The series consists of 4 webinars that will feature former candidates and currently sitting councillors of a migrant background as well as experts in political system and campaigning.
The webinars are part of the New Foundations project funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC). All webinars are free. To register please see the links below. You will need to register for each webinar separately.
Migrant political participation
Migrant’s political participation is essential for a healthy democracy and fair decision-making process. Ireland has one of the most inclusive electoral systems in the world. Every person regardless of their nationality can vote and run in local elections. Many members of migrant communities do not participate in elections due to low level of knowledge about their voting rights. The Immigrant Council’s research on the experiences of migrant election candidates in 2019 also found that migrants experience additional campaigning barriers that other candidates do not have to face.
To address the knowledge gap and to elevate some of the migrant specific barrier the Immigrant Council of Ireland have been investing time and resources to deliver various projects, varying from voters' education workshops to internships scheme for migrants with local councillors.
Webinar dates, times and topics
Webinar 1: Migrants voting and running in Irish local elections
Date: Wednesday, 9 March 2022, 6pm-7pm
- Cllr Abul Kalam Azad Talukdar - Former Deputy Mayor of Limerick
- Yara Alagha - Board member, Women for Election. Named one of 22 activist to watch in 2022 by the Irish Independent
- Bart Zrojowy – Chair, Polish Community in Waterford, potential election candidate in 2024
- Chair: Teresa Buczkowska, Immigrant Council of Ireland
This webinar will focus on exploring how candidates make their decision to run for election, and what are their concerns that may negatively impact their decision. Speakers will also share their tips on how they are preparing for the election season, and how they are generating support from voters. The panelists will also discuss what support may be available from organizations, political parties and other stakeholders. The webinar will also address the question of low electoral participation of migrant communities. In addition, the panel will discuss questions around low rate of migrants voting, and strategies to mobilise migrant voters.
Webinar 2 - Migrant Women in Politics - Challenges, Barriers and Opportunities
Date: Wednesday, 23 March 2022, 6pm-7pm
- Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi - Lord Mayor of Longford
- Sandra Ruiz, expert on migrant integration and 2019 local election candidate
- Megan Flynn Dixon - Local Representative Gort-Kinvara
- Chair: Dr Valesca Lima, DCU
Despite recent efforts, women remain underrepresented in the political sphere. Migrant women are particularly excluded from influencing policies, and are often left out of key decision-making that affect the lives of women and men. This webinar will focus on exploring barriers for female migrant candidates. Speakers will share their experience and good practices that promote women's political participation and representation. Political empowerment of migrant women in rural settings will be highlighted.
Webinar 3 – Political system and party membership in Ireland
Date: Wednesday, 6 April 2022, 6pm-7pm
- Adrian Kavanagh (Maynooth University)
- Claire McGing (Institute of Arts, Design and Technology - IADT)
- Chair: Dr Valesca Lima, DCU
In the 2019 Irish Local Government elections, all nine migrant candidates elected were party nominees, giving a clear indication that party affiliation is gives candidates a significant advantage. Diverse membership of political parties is also an important metric of migrants' integration. Migrants are very interested in joining a political party in Ireland however the complexity of Irish politics is a barrier to understand which political part may be the best house for their political views. In this webinar, speakers will explain the electoral system in Ireland, and the socio-historical context of political parties. The main goal of the webinar is to help migrants to make their decision as to whether to join a political party, and if so to help them to understand which party most aligns with their values and views.
Webinar 4 – What it takes to run an electoral campaign
Date: Wednesday, 20 April 2022, 6pm-7pm
- Margaret E. Ward, CEO, Clear Ink
- Cllr Jim O’Leary - DLR County Council
- Robert Saunders, Communications Coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland
- Chair: Liliana Fernandez, Immigrant Council of Ireland
A well-designed electoral campaign strategy is a determining factor for candidates' electoral success. Migrants do not always understand what are the key campaigning tactics e.g. canvasing. Candidates also need to know how to tailor their messages to specific audiences. This webinar focuses on strategies and tactics for running a successful election campaign both in digital and traditional formats.