On 15th May 2014 in Płock, International Centre for Local Development CIFAL Płock Ltd organized the International Conference which was devoted to the Role of Media in Creating Public Perception of Migrants. The conference was held under the auspices of the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy , The Mazowieckie Province Governor and The Mayor of the City of Płock. The main purpose of the conference was to allow participants to exchange views on the issue of migration and the image of migrants maintained by modern media which remains highly topical in the context of the EU’s migration policy.
The conference was officially opened by the Mayor of Płock, Mr Andrzej Nowakowski who highlighted the fact that Płock is making efforts to provide support to foreigners and exploit their potential at the same time. He illustrated his point with the telling example of the MON-POL Sports Club which was founded in Płock by Mr Enkhabaatar Dambandarja – an immigrant from Mongolia – as a result of his devotion and entrepreneurial endeavours.
The presentation delivered by Ms Izabela Szewczyk from the Department of Foreigners, Mazowieckie Province Office proved to be highly informative with regard to the new act regulating the legal status of immigrants in Poland, which came into force on 1st May 2014. Following Ms Szewczyk’s overview of the relevant contemporary governmental regulations , a number of representative of international NGOs delivered their speeches on such issues as: Poles’ Perception of the Role of Migrants (Ms Joanna Łozińska – International Organization for Migration) and Foreigners’ Integration in Poland (Ms Bogusława Domańska – Helsinski Foundation for Human Rights). However, the lectures which compelled the most attention were given by the distinguished conference guest Ms Amy Selwyn, a UN expert who has over 25 years’ experience working with the world’s most acclaimed media agencies such as: The New York Times, The Associated Press, BBC. The themes covered during her presentations reflected on such matters as: technical aspects of the cooperation with media, effective mechanisms for conveying messages to the public opinion and the influence of social media services on the world of communication in the 21st century.
Additionally, the conference saw the final of the Who are Migrants? contest run by CIFAL Płock as a part of the educational project called Become a Journalist. The first prize of professional recording equipment (a dictaphone and reporter’s microphone) was awarded to the student of Marshal Stanisław Małachowski High School Ms Dominika Wojdyniak for her interview with two foreign students who are studying in Płock. On the next day aside from the conference, Ms Selwyn conducted a workshop session during which she shared a wealth of her invaluable journalistic experience with the students from Płock high schools.