In the present political climate in the UK, just before the general election, immigration is one of the main subjects of political debates and it is such an important part of all parties’ political programs, from the UKIP to Conservatives. The voices of immigration should be heard, it should be a part of the public debate. One of such voices is an event: Inspiring Migrant Woman Conference (Saturday, 2nd May 2015 at Woldorf Astoria, London). Inspiring Migrant Woman Conference is a one-day event for professionals, businesswomen, leaders, entrepreneurs, ‘mumpreneurs’ to bring them all together and to inspire and motivate for a better life, a better society and a better Britain.
The event was inspired and organised by Mirela Sula, an Editor-in-Chief of ‘Migrant Woman’ magazine. Mirela, and the story of her life, is an example of a successful migrant woman who isn’t scared of dreaming, perusing her dreams… and inspiring others to join her on the journey. Mirela was born in a small village in northern Albania, a country under communist regime. While studying at university, she engaged with activities to protect women’s rights, she became a journalist and got involved in projects dedicated to empowering women. She became the first leader of ‘Women Network: Equality in Decision Making’ which aimed at promoting women and including more women in politics and decision-making. She became one of the most influential women in Albania. And then, she decided to move to London and start a new life here. Mirela did her PHD about migrant women – such as her, and continues her work in the field of empowering women in the UK.
Mirela founded a magazine ‘Migrant women’ to share stories and experiences of migrant women. Everyone has his or her own unique story to tell, a story which can enlighten, fascinate and inspire others, a story of which everyone should be proud of. That was the origin of the idea of the Migrant of the Year Award. It is to be proud of who we are, to feel positive about it, to embrace and celebrate our differences; and to inspire others and help them to realise their passions, ambitions and dreams. Among thousands of great migrant women in the UK, some of them became the finalist s of the Migrant of the Year Award. Francine Mendonca, from Brazil, promotes international education, she organizes scholarships and helps students to get into universities and colleges in the UK; Yuliana Topazly, from Russia, is a successful businesswoman who runs her training and mentoring business to support and assist others in starting and running their own businesses. For Yuliana very important are working mothers, therefore her company provides childcare support for them. Suran Dickson, from New Zealand, is an equality and any-bullying campaigner; Indira Kartallozi, from Kosovo, is a founder of organization, which provides legal advice and advocacy, family support and training to families with specific needs. Ivana Bartoletti, from Italy, is an NHS worker, campaigner and politician, who supports women in getting into politics, local governments and Parliaments.
Migration has gained a pejorative connotation in the recent years in the UK. But, it makes such an important contribution to the British society and economy. It makes this country a better place to live in. Migrants bring with them energy, passion, talent, creative thinking and diverse experience. Migrants do not copy; they create. They have the courage to change and move into unknown, they are curious to explore the world, to evolve and learn what’s out there. All of it and much more could be found in the conference’s speakers’ powerful stories, which reveal great courage and determination. Among the invited guests sharing their experiences were: Vera Ora, a psychologist and the mother of Rita Ora, and many great leaders, businesswomen and campaigners Dershana Ubl (businesswoman from India), Julia Goga – Cooke (journalist from Albania), dr Maria Luca from Cyprus, Ferhan Cook (businesswoman from Turkey), Huda Jawad (campaigner from Iraq), Mindy Gibbins Klein (publisher from USA), Lily Mensah Yeboah (coach from Ghana), Vlatka Hlupic (professor from Croatia), Jo Davidson (businesswoman from England), any many more.
The question we often all ask ourselves is ‘WHO AM I?’ We all try to identify ourselves. But there isn’t just one answer to the question. There’s a multiplicity of identifications; we all have multiple identities. We should be proud of them and we should nourish them. Our multiple identities are such powerful tools in the story of our life; LIFE which is nothing but Learning and Improving For Ever.