ItinérENS was founded in order to help welcoming and accompanying migrants and refugees at our level. This project is part of a general movement crossing several universities and is destined to grow in the future with time and new ideas.
Migrations nowadays have become a major human and political issue: this is why we now critically need a collective questioning about welcoming and integrating migrant people in France. While we attend unprecedented global flows of goods and services as a result of an intense liberalization of commercial exchanges, men and women moves, on the other hand, still appear as a problem. Increasingly restrictive measures affect border crossing, welcome policies get harder, and migrants are finally thought to represent a threat. These exiled people inspire all sorts of fears and images that actually get far from reality. Europe, and especially France, have been perceived as a haven for asylum and respect of human rights for a very long time. Closing their borders, making asylum requests procedures more complicated, refusing welcoming people in critical situations lead them to break these rights. These policies are not acceptable, and we refuse to remain passive in the face of such a pullback.
We decided to act, as students and also as citizens, in the name of a true hospitality and of a human consideration for every person escaping his/her country. Considering how urgent the need for reflection and action has become, our university, the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (Lyons Superior Normal School, a 150-years-old institution that first oughted to prepare professors for school teachers), appears as a fundamental actor to begin defending our humanist values again, by considering first and foremost these migrants as human beings beyond their nationality, their language, culture, or administrative statuses.
The ENS de Lyon, an institution that publicly intends to appear as a core hub for knowledge sharing, has to make a stand in this debate, which regards the whole continent. We believe in the 26th article of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, which states
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups. We believe in education and in the necessity of promoting knowledge in such an upset context. We believe that a university like ours has to bring support to migrants by sharing human and material resources with them, by giving them access to the learning of French, and to help them completing their education, with no regard to how far it had been in their country of departure, and which was ended by everyday difficulties and exile. By offering a space and a time for exchange and meeting to these people, who tend to get marginalized, we intend to create a true dialog aiming to let them avoid a posture of mere receivers and to promote sharing and fraternity.
Our project is part of a wider, general tendency amid French students. The ENS in Paris (Rue d’Ulm) has set up for a couple of months a « Program for Invited Students ». Its example was followed by the ENSAD. In EHESS, in Science Po (both the one in Paris and the one in Lyons), in Parisian universities (Paris 4, 5, 7 and 8), in Agro Paris Tech and in ENSCI, actions flourish to constitute programs aiming to integrate migrant people into these higher studies institutions. Our wish is that the ENS de Lyon should also join in this demonstration of solidarity, basing upon our means, our competences, and upon the firm belief we act as justly as possible.
Itinérens has around 70 members including mostly teachers, pHd and Master students working at the ENS de Lyon.
Volounteers commit to give lessons during one or two semesters in a year, once in a week, for two hours (at the same time every week). It is necessary to sign the Itinérens charter, available in French on this website.
To contact us, please send a mail to our address: itinerens.lyon [@] gmail.com.
Association members have elected among themselves several responsible persons constituting a « Bureau ». Functions are to be renewed every year in a General Assembly. These people currently are:
- President: Vincent Hiegel ;
- Vice-president: Fanny Wiard and Adèle Aissi-Guyon ;
- Secretary: Suzanne Hartoin, assistant: Charlotte Guiot ;
- Treasurer: Florian Bonnefoi, assistant: Mathilde Robic.
To read the statuses and charter (in French), click here [.PDF].