This event was recorded as part of a live broadcast on 15 March 2023.
This is the first conversation in our series ‘Voices from a broken system: Rethinking refugee integration in the UK‘. The discussion will focus on the UK refugee experience. Bringing together refugees from different countries to speak about their experience in the UK, we will hear how their experiences differ and resemble each other, what has challenged them since arriving in the UK, and how they have succeeded in making a home.
In partnership with the Woolf Institute and the independent ‘Commission on the Integration of Refugees’, Aspen Institute UK is hosting a three-part series of webinars to discuss the current refugee and asylum system and social integration of refugees in the UK, and how best these pressing issues can be solved. These public, online events will bring together individuals from across the political spectrum, people with lived experience of the UK asylum system and other various stakeholder perspectives, with the hope of finding common ground and practical, politically feasible solutions.
ON THE PANEL:
Alphonsine Kabagabo – Alphonsine is the Director of Women For Refugee Women, a charity that supports women seeking asylum in UK to campaign for a fair asylum system. She is a past trustee of Womankind, an international feminist organisation supporting women’s rights and a trustee of SURF, a non-profit organisation supporting survivors of the Rwandan genocide; Alphonsine is a survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. She is a passionate advocate for the empowerment of girls and young women. She has 20 years of experience in leading programmes for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and developing other transformative programmes focused on giving young women the confidence to speak out and influence policy change on issues including child marriage, HIV/AIDS prevention, and providing reproductive health services to women in refugee camps.
Mishka Pillay – Mishka is a campaigner and an advocate with a focus on refugee rights and immigration detention in the UK. He has first-hand experience of the UK’s asylum & immigration system. He is part of the Detention Action campaigns network, a trustee of Freedom from Torture, a member of One Strong Voice, a partner of the International Detention Coalition, a Co-ordination group member of Detention Forum, and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists working group on the mental health of refugees and asylum seekers.
Alina Prokopenko – Alina is a Ukranian refugee living in the UK. She lived in Crimea before it was occupied by Russia, where she graduated from university before moving to Kyiv for work. In March 2022, Alina and part of her family left Kyiv and arrived in the UK, leaving some of her family still in Ukraine. Alina was the financial director of an international IT company and has also had experience as a freelance financial consultant and IT-copywriter.
Iyad Yousef – Iyad is originally from Syria and he has studied and worked in both the UK and US. He is currently a Data Analyst at the Centre for Metrics, having previously worked for the CityUK, Chatham house, Human Rights Watch and the Carter Centre focusing on a diverse set of issues ranging from financial to political and socio-economic challenges. Iyad has published articles in Foreign Policy Magazine, Chatham House and the Atlantic Council and contributed to the production of three documentaries. He holds two master’s degrees in Conflict Studies and Public Policies from Brandeis University and the University of Oxford, respectively.
Yasmeen Serhan – Yasmeen is a staff writer on the foreign affairs beat at TIME, where she writes about the future of democracies and rising authoritarianism around the world. Before joining TIME, Yasmeen was a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covered populism and nationalism from the magazine’s London bureau, which she helped establish in 2017.