The Parliament of Exiles: “We really need these spaces to meet and exchange with other political changemakers”

Rudi and Dounya from The Parliament of Exiles

Rudi Osman & Dounya Hallaq are the two political changemakers behind The Parliament of Exiles, an initiative designed to give a voice to exiles in France so that they can represent themselves and create new generations of leaders among this community. We recently spoke with them to get to know the latest developments of their project, which we are supporting through our ideation grants programe.

Rudi, Dounya, when Multitudes began supporting The Parliament of Exiles some months ago, it was still in an ideation phase. What are some of the things that have happened since then?

We are finalizing the legal structure and are deeply engaged in the partnership process with a university, interested in supporting the educational aspect of this project. We have also established numerous partnerships and are increasingly ready to publicly launch our project!

Thanks to Multitudes, we were able to finance a research project led by several researchers on the issue of political representation and political participation of exiles. This research focuses on the French case, with comparative elements from other European and North American countries. This research will soon be concluded.

What is your main goal right now, the thing you are dedicating most of your time to in this project currently?

We are particularly committed to creating the educational framework. To achieve this, we are in constant discussion with professors, education professionals, coaches, as well as potential future contributors from the political sphere and civil society.

And what are some challenges you are facing in this initial phase of the project?

One of the challenges we face is that of a particularly tense political context, especially on the issue of immigration which has polarized public debate since the passing of the new French law at the end of last year. It is necessary to discuss it with as many people as possible, finding the right words so as not to polarize the debate further.

Is there anything you have learned that you would like to share with other political changemakers? Something you think they should absolutely think about when approaching these types of initiatives?

One of the things we’ve learned, which wasn’t always obvious, is that we need to know how to speak to everyone, even when what motivates us are claims and principles that are firmly rooted. Today, the political scene is too divided and subjects like immigration are too sensitive for us to go without partners.

What is your experience with the support provided by Multitudes so far?

The support from Multitudes has been very precious to us. It’s the first financial support that we received for our project, and it has allowed us to fund a research work currently underway, which will serve as a basis for our advocacy. This is the very first research to be carried out on the subject of the political representation of exiles and their participation in the political sphere.  Multitudes is also a very supportive community of committed individuals that we had the chance to meet, with whom we were able to share our experiences and advice. We really need these spaces, especially in a political context that is not favorable.