December 8, 2022

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When the immigrant is a scientist (15/07/2022)

I have what many call “all possible flaws”: I am a woman, Arab, Muslim and African, but these are the things I am most proud of. Today I am also proud to be Italian.” This is how it was said Fayza Borhelep, a Moroccan physicist in Italy since 1999, first as a PhD student and then as the founder of I-See which deals with the study of the effects of radiation on cancer patients. This is just one of the stories told on the multi-disciplinary and interdepartmental project portal immigrant science – Stories of Science and Migration funded by the University of Turin as part of the 2021 Call for Projects Public Post It was implemented in cooperation with the Turin Department of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, with the aim of sharing and promoting the cultural and scientific heritage of immigrants in the Piedmont region.

From the 1990s until today, the phenomenon of migration towards the peninsula has experienced a continuous growth, to the extent that the proportion of the foreign population residing in Italy now reaches 9%. However, these are often the people whose background and life path are not told, to the point of making them flat into a common, often stereotypical profile.

“This idea has been on my mind for many years,” he says. Michaela ShiusuProfessor, Department of Physics, University of Turin and Scientific Director of the project. “I was born from hoping to emigrate: I often met people who were scholars in their home countries and rediscovered themselves in Italy. I also wanted to fight prejudice, which is sometimes heard in public and media debate, according to which not all immigrants have a high level of education.“.

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The initiative consists of three phases that complement each other. immigrant scienceIn fact, it is a portal containing the stories of immigrant scholars, who arrived in Europe bringing with them their cultural baggage and knowledge, as well as a different look at the research method. But it’s also a project educational For primary and secondary schools designed and nurtured with people with an immigrant background and a series of roving appetizers in the homes of the Turin neighborhood, organized monthly in collaboration with RKH Studio and Associazione Centro Scienza Onlus.

The first event was held on Wednesday, July 6, and was a valuable meeting opportunity, especially for the initiative champions. “It is a moment of sharing,” continues Chiosso, “that allows people to get to know each other and form a community: during the opening night, many contacts were exchanged and a beautiful synergy was created, and everyone was excited.” The project will be officially closed in the summer of 2023, but its creator wants to buy his own legs. In fact, new people can also collaborate on the Scienza Migrante portal, suggesting their stories in the dedicated section of the site. In the future, in addition, audio-visual material will be uploaded and a podcast will be created using interviews. “The purpose of our interventions is twofold,” the teacher concludes, “We would like to reflect on the value of scientific thought and the versatility of manifestations and approaches, but also to provide a source of inspiration for young people, through stories of resilience and courage of those who have had to struggle to reach a high level of education and professional realization.”

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