NORDHOST and Southern Hospitality

NORDHOST is taking the initiative to an inter-European conference on migration and ethics in Rome! The conference will be arranged as a round-table event, titled: “European Spaces of Hospitality – Dialogues across borders on Migration and Ethics,” and is taking place in April 2019

Woman and man by a table.

The Memorandum of Understanding is signed by Ingunn Gjørva (Faculty of Theology) and Prof. Aldo Skoda (SIMI).

Photo: Trygve Wyller

Hospitalities in the South and North

We are seeing all over Europe a hardening of refugee politics. Nations like Hungary have been strict since the so-called refugee crisis started in 2015. We have seen this kind of political strictness and hostility moving west and north, not the least to Denmark, and now also Sweden and Norway.

There appears to be a need to develop a larger interface around the normative questions regarding migration and displaced people in Europe.

“I am talking about an academic and disciplinary normativity, not activism. What does normativity mean academically, in the migration context? Both theologically and non-theologically” says Professor Trygve Wyller, leader of the NORDHOST project. NORDHOST is a highly interdisciplinary project, developing and exploring approaches to migration. Normativity belongs in such an interdisciplinary discussion.

Researchers have been concerned with this normativity, while nations have become more national. The geographical placement of the conference is not without significance, and it is very important for us and our colleagues to see and experience the context of the research is taking place. For NORDHOST and our approaches it gives occasion to be in contact with the South in this normativity.

The event is taking place 1st to 3rd April 2019 in at the Universitá Urbaniana in Rome, in collaboration with Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI). The special competence of the NORDHOST researchers on the specific Nordic experiences will be shared with researchers from the South of Europe and other leading international scholars in the field. “We are already in conversation with highly esteemed scholars in different disciplines, both inside and outside Europe, and are very excited to be able to confirm this publicly at a later stage.”

The Geographical Context

What is taking place in Italy at this very moment politically is of great consequences for the situation of migrants to Europe. Migrant hostility or at least scepticism has increased and this has coloured the political environment, and been one of, if not the issue leading up to the election.

This hostile development that we now see in the North and in the South, may make this collaboration and conference even more important and poignant.

At this point in time, the Vatican and the church are among the institutions that is not just prioritising only its own.

That NORDHOST and the Faculty of Theology are involved in generating a conversation in this very interesting and geographically significant context is exciting and great.

“Theology obviously plays a part in this common dialogue. As professor of theology I find it particularly interesting that theological-ethical competence can have the potential to partake in dialogue with all kinds of different disciplines.”

Wyller continues: “At the moment this is a breakthrough to think across Europe about these matters.   Who knows, this may be the start of a long-term conversation.”

Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI)

The university building
The univeristy building, photo: Ingunn Gjørva

SIMI is an international, academic institute under the Urbaniana Pontifical University. The institute focuses on research and studies on human mobility with interdisciplinary approaches. Furthermore, it promotes the formation of professionals in the academic sector, as well as training of professionals and pastoral/social workers.

Our collaborator is Professor Aldo Skoda, who holds a degree in psychology, as well as PhD in Pastoral Theology, is currently the vice principal of SIMI. He was deputy director of the “Migrantes” for the Diocese of Brescia and responsible for the pastoral care of migrants, as well as former General Director of Centro Studi Emigrazione (Centre for Migration Studies) in Rome. He has edited Mediterraneo crocevia di popoli (Mediterranean crossroads of peoples) volume for the Urbaniana University press (2012).

The view from the conference room
The view from the conference room, photo: Ingunn Gjørva

“This is a really a great and gratifying opening to an interdisciplinary and ecumenical collaboration on a high European academic level", says Trygve Wyller, NORDHOST’s leader.

“All of this is of course an inspiration to us, and very exciting for the University of Oslo and the faculty. It also gives our NORDHOST project an unexpected turn, and we are looking forward to see what comes out of such collaboration.

The conference will be by invitation only.



From left: Aldo Skoda, Trygve Wyller, Ingunn Gjørva and Gioacchino Campese
From left: Aldo Skoda, Trygve Wyller, Ingunn Gjørva and Gioacchino Campese, photo: Ingunn Gjørva
Published Mar. 12, 2018 11:04 AM - Last modified Apr. 8, 2021 10:40 AM