Long Day of Flight
The project in brief
The project started on September 2012.
The “Long Day of Flight” takes place every year in autumn and is an ongoing project that will continue in 2020.
The annual initiative “Long Day of Flight” offers hundreds of different events for schools and the public at large on one day. Its objective is to raise awareness of refugees' situations and establish contact with the local population, focusing especially on youth.
The overall goal of the “Long Day of Flight” initiative is to inform the Austrian public about the topic of asylum and to foster contact of the local population with refugees and asylum-seekers. This is done through a variety of events held by both UNHCR and numerous cooperation partners, such as NGOs, museums, theatres, sports clubs, restaurants, local initiatives and many more.
Events comprise e.g. soccer matches, theatre plays, movies, exhibitions, cooking and dance courses and public debates. They can be attended free of charge or for a small contribution only to make it inclusive and easily accessible for everybody. Special emphasis is put on youth with a separate school programme offering interactive workshops, readings, open house events and talks with refugees and persons working in the field of asylum and integration. Hence, encounters and discussions shall be enhanced and insights into various issues be facilitated to gain different perspectives.
Moreover, the “Long Day of Flight” is a platform for participating organisations and institutions to promote their projects on the topic of asylum/integration to a wider range of people. Events and workshops are published on a special website (www.langertagderflucht.at). On the website, events and projects are made available and teachers as well as interested people have an overview about thematic projects and events that can also be booked year-long.
The “Long Day of Flight” also aims at enhancing co-operation between participating organisations as well as at creating valuable synergies that go beyond this initiative.
VIDEO: UNHCR Langer Tag der Flucht 2012
The implementation of the initial event series in the first year (2012) became possible through additional funding.
The interest in and the publicity of the project increased significantly as of 2015 when the number of asylum-seekers in Austria and Europe reached its peak. The topic was controversially discussed within the Austrian society and people searched for respective information. The format of the “Long Day of Flight” with a wide range of participating institutions offered a platform for people from a variety of fields to come together and to discuss issues from different perspectives.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The event fosters the integration of refugees through contact and exchange between refugees/asylum-seekers and the host society. These encounters leads amongst others to a better understanding of the challenges and the situations of refugees and asylum-seekers, which benefits their integration.
- Caritas Austria
- Red Cross Austria
- Amnesty International
- Diakonia Austria
- Austrian Integration Fund
- Different Museums
- International Organization for Migration
- UN Information Service
- Theatre at the Josefstadt (one of the main theatres in Vienna)
- and many more
VIDEO: UNHCR Langer Tag der Flucht 2013
Challenges and how they were overcome
- In the last years, most of the events took mainly place in bigger cities where institutions, NGOs and initiatives are based. Reaching smaller local communities and villages remains a challenge.
- Another challenge we have faced more recently is the public’s dwindling interest in the topic of flight. After the peak in 2015 and 2016, many people reduced their engagement for refugees and asylum-seekers. It is also a challenge to reach out to new audiences and not only to “preach to the converted”.
How they were overcome
- We reached out more actively to smaller organisations and possible partners outside of Vienna and came up with a wider range of events in many different fields like cinemas, theatres, sports, literature, art, music, food. This way we aim at stirring the interest of people with a different background and mind-set to get involved in the “Long Day of Flight”.
Results of the Good Practice
- Understanding for the situation of asylum-seekers and refugees has been strengthened.
- Awareness for the plight of refugees has been raised.
- Synergies and new co-operations between institutions and/or between participating institutions and refugees/asylum-seekers have been established.
- Projects and workshops for schools around the topic of asylum and living together have been made better known.
The project started in 2012 and since then has continuously been growing. “The Long Day of Flight” has meanwhile become a well-known event all over Austria and will be continued in 2020 and beyond.
Ms. Marie-Claire Sowinetz, Senior PI Assistant at UNHCR Austria