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Symposium looks at Brexit and borders

Johnny Bugeja

A symposium titled Borders and Bordering in the 21st Century will be opened at the Gibraltar Garrison Library later this month by the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia.

The topic this year has certainly been driven by the 2019 commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the closure of the border in 1969, but also by wider concerns in relation to borders.

Discussions throughout this symposium will be dedicated towards Brexit and borders, certainly the Gibraltar and Irish borders; the closure of the border in 1969; migrations; the neutral ground between borders; the perceived breakdown of authority and good governance; the protection of and security measures at borders together with their corresponding theoretical underpinnings.

“Brexit, for example, enters into this debate but borders have been under focus for some considerable years now,” a statement from the Deputy Chief Minister’s office read.

“If on the one hand we have a vision of a federal borderless Europe, on the other we see the impact of Globalisation and new technologies as they impact on virtual and physical borders.”

“In the last decades we have seen a far greater movement of people, many from war torn countries, and indeed, the knock on effect this has had upon available resources, perceptions towards migrants and security.”

“As such the themes under discussion are very pertinent to the on-going debates taking place in Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and globally.”

The event has been organised by Dr Jennifer Ballantine Perera together with the Office of the Deputy Chief Minister.

This is the seventh year for this event, and in the past the symposiums at the Garrison Library focus on issues that impact on Gibraltar and other like territories within a European and global framework.

This year, a delegation from The Åland Islands Peace Institute has been invited to attend.

Åland Islands are culturally, linguistically and geopolitically linked to Finland and Sweden given their constitutional relationship.

A panel of fifteen high-profile international and local speakers will put their views forward during the symposium, which will include academics from Cambridge, Kings College London, St Patrick’s College Dublin City University, The Åland Islands Peace Institute, State Watch, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Lisbon & Inter Press Agency (IPS), University of Albany, State University New York, Newcastle University, Royal Holloway and the University of Gibraltar.

The event will be formally opened by the Deputy Chief Minister on Thursday September 26 at 5pm at the Gibraltar Garrison Library.

The symposium will run from Thursday to Saturday and sessions for Friday and Saturday will be from 9.30am to 5pm.

The event is open to the public and the entrance is free of charge.

Contact Chris Tavares on chris.tavares@gibraltargarrisonlibrary.gi or on 200 77418 for further details and a programme.