“The Ukraine emergency has shown that hospitality and hope are still present in Europe.”

This week on our weekly podcast Voices for a Cause, we have in the studio Alberto Ares SJ, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Europe (JRS Europe), on the occasion of the second anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine, which falls on February 24. Through his testimony, we also learn about the work carried out by the organization on the European continent and talk about the reality of migration and the new migration policies that the European Union wants to implement.

In this chapter, Alberto tells us how “JRS Europe accompanies some 185,000 people a year in various programs ranging from job training to medical and psychological support, among many other things”. This work is carried out by being “the coordinating nexus of the 23 national offices throughout the region, through highly collaborative planning and joint projects”.

In addition, Alberto also delves into how JRS Europe reacted to the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, “preparing almost all the national offices to have structures that could welcome refugees” who could leave the country. In Alberto’s words, “what implies a very important change is that the entire Society of Jesus in the world has become involved and coordinated in this response, taking a holistic view that includes shelter, food, education, integration and psychosocial support”. A response that Entreculturas has articulated through The One Proposal, the coordinated program of the Society of Jesus in response to the Ukrainian crisis.

Finally, Alberto criticizes the recent agreement reached on the European migration pact, calling it “a historic blow to the European Union’s asylum system”. For him, this agreement represents “a step backwards in terms of human rights that not only does not solve the major problems of the current asylum system, but will increase the suffering of many people”.

Voices for a Cause’ is Entreculturas’ weekly podcast. The programs are broadcasted every Thursday on our Youtube channel, on Spotify, on Ivoox, and on Apple Podcast.

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