On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Lieu d’Europe invites you to discover the story of Anissa MEBROUK-SCHMIDT, in charge of international projects at the University of Strasbourg, formerly in civic service at AMSED, Association Migration Solidarité et Échanges pour le Développement.
Being 24 years old and deciding to experience helping vulnerable populations, that is the choice Anissa MEBROUK-SCHMIDT made in autumn 2019, when she joined AMSED as a “civic service”. Alike many young graduates, she had been questionning the meaning of her job and wished to invest her energy in a work that she deems useful for the society. On 17 December 2019, we met Anissa for the first time at the Lieu d’Europe during the International Migrants Day, which brought together classes and speakers to discuss the involvement of associations and institutions on that burning topic. Determined and passionate, the young woman displayed a first presentation of her experience which we are deepening here.
With three origins, French, German and Algerian, Anissa M-S is used to navigating between different cultural horizons. Originally from Paris, she completed a course in applied foreign languages before joining the Centre for Applied Literary and Scientific Studies (CELSA), expert in in information and communication sciences. Graduated with a Master 2 in political communication, she multiplied internships in institutions and administrations. After three experiences at the European Parliament in Brussels, at the Paris City Hall and in a public communication agency, she changed course to explore the associative world and to be more in contact with the population.
Making herself useful and maintaining her taste for European affairs
However, Anissa MEBROUK-SCHMIDT was not ready to get rid of the European issues that are dear to her. In order to combine local affairs and European issues, she joined the Strasbourg branch of AMSED in October 2019. An NGO founded in 1998, AMSED receives co-financing from the European Union (Erasmus + programme) for the mobility of young people that it coordinates. Its missions are not limited to these and include accompanying newly arrived foreign populations, promoting democracy in priority neighbourhoods and strengthening ties between France and Algeria.
Within her organisation, Anissa is involved in the mobility programme but also in the building of events involving refugees during the major European events in Strasbourg (World Democracy Forum). Although the Strasbourg office has about ten salaried employees for “an armada of volunteers”, Anissa MEBROUK-SCHMIDT is a witness to the unlimited investment of her colleagues, from the injunction to the creativity that they impose on themselves to remain competitive in the “race for funds” that many structures are experiencing.
A deep questioning
His work does not go without painful questioning. Confronted with these torn existences, it is difficult not to feel privileged to “be born somewhere” from which one did not have to leave. Although she thought she was prepared, Anissa did not expect to see such a gap between the refugee’s original life and his current existence. This was the case of a university professor of architecture in her country, who became a construction worker when he arrived in France. As if the journey and the hardships had wiped out years of hard work and diplomas.
Although rich in lessons, Anissa MEBROUK-SCHMIDT’s civic service came to an end with a successful recruitment at the University of Strasbourg, whose influence she now contributes to.
This spring, Anissa had a thought for the migrants, confined because of COVID-19 to accommodation that is often too small. A sorrow that comes on top of all the others for those whose AMSED has come to serve as a new refuge in a city where everything is foreign.
N.B.: The refugees were also involved in the manufacture of masks for the population. It is possible to discover their work here: