Lampedusa, the gate of Europe




The specific and general objectives of the session are the following:

- to learn more about the great sense of welcome in the little island of Lampedusa, in Sicily

- to fight against the ideas of “walls”, “shut borders”, “invasion”


Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes on the target groups are the following:

- to learn more about Lampedusa model of welcoming

- to reflect on different point of view about immigrant reception

- to overcome prejudices


Target group

All groups/Society

Adolescents, Adults

Number of participants: 10-20 people



(1 - very easy, 5 - very difficult)

The degree of expertise needed - 3

The amount of work to prepare and implement the scenario - 2

The relative overall cost predicted - 2



1h 30 min



Room with capacity for 20 people, seating arrangement, tables


A map in which Lampedusa is indicated, copy of Annex 1 for each participant, a flipchart, internet connection, white paper of A4 and pens for each participant



The facilitator can prepare a short introduction about the recent UNESCO’s Peace Prize to the Mayor of Lampedusa for her dealing as efficiently and humanely as possible with the migrants and refugees.

It is important to underline both positive and negative consideration made in Italy and abroad about the migrants reception in Lampedusa.

The facilitator makes a copy of the article UNESCO’s Peace Prize Goes to Italy’s Mayor Giusi Nicolini - CityLab (Annex 1) for each participant.

The facilitator hungs on the wall a map in which the position of Lampedusa is indicated.




In the past years, UNESCO’s Peace Prize has been granted to internationally figures including Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat or Shimon Peres.

In 2017 for the first time ever, the award went to a mayor: Giusi Nicolini, the mayor of a small Italian island in the south of Sicily: Lampedusa.

She has been awarded for her efficient and human work with migrants. But the model of Lampedusa welcoming is the subject of much discussion by citizen and by some policies.



Stage 1: Reading the article UNESCO’s Peace Prize Goes to Italy’s Mayor Giusi Nicolini - CityLab (Annex 1) and debate (20 min)The facilitator gives to each participant the copy of the article (Annex 1) and ask them to read it.

After he/she begins a debate by asking the following questions:

1) Have you ever heard about the Lampedusa island?

2) If yes, what do you know about it?

3) In your opinion, why is it considered as the gate of Europe?

4) If you would be the Mayor in Lampedusa, how would you deal with migrants and refugees?



Stage 2: Internet search about Lampedusa island (30 min)The facilitator explains that Lampedusa, because of its geographical position, is the first European land in which migrants arrive from Africa.

It is considered at the same time as an example of best practice of welcoming or an example of messy and disorganised invasion by migrants and refugees.

The facilitator divides participants in to 5 small groups. Each group is asked to

search in internet news about both positions (for and against immigrants/refugees) and to write down at least 3 aspects strengthening one hypothesis and other 3 aspects confirming the other point of view.


Stage 3: Presentation of the most relevant information (30 min)

The facilitator asks each group to expose the 3 positive aspects about welcoming and 3 negative ones. He/she writes them in the flipchart and will turn participants’ attention to the most common aspects  (positives and negatives).



For the final discussion the facilitator asks participant the following questions: (15 min)

1) Starting from the detected aspects about Lampedusa welcoming, which position do you mostly share?

2) Have you changed your opinion about migrants welcoming after this activity? Why? Why not?

3) If you were a migrant landed in Lampedusa, which could be your feelings?

4) And if you were an inhabitant of this little island?


Support tools

Presence lists, evaluation forms (if required)


Online article:

The docu-film “Fuocoammare” by Gianfranco Rosi.


Ideas for action

A deepening could be done by consulting Gabriele del Grande 's blog



Annex 1: UNESCO’s Peace Prize Goes to Italy’s Mayor Giusi Nicolini - CityLabs


Created by EURO





Social-educational initiative centre PLUS

Make it Better

Ecos do Sur




The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi¬ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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