Updates and field stories

A Drop in the Ocean took part in MiGR2016 – 1st International Conference on Migration Management, Athens April 18-19, 2016

On April 18-19, the conference MiGR2016 – Migration flows in Greece: The way ahead took place at the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens, Greece.

A Drop in the Ocean was represented by 3 persons, and our Secretary general, Ms Trude Jacobsen was a guest speaker on the 2nd day of the conference.

The MiGR2016 Conference was organized by the European and Development Programs Division (EDPD).

Foto MiGR2016

A Drop in the Ocean representatives: Audny H. Diamantis, Kaja Espenes and Trude Jacobsen (Gen. Secretary)

Day 1: Monday 18 April 2016

During the first session of the Conference, an opening speech was given by Mr Panagiotis Marketakis, EDPD Director, followed by greetings by the leadership of Greek Ministries, and an Opening Speech by Norwegian Minister of Immigration and Integration Mrs Sylvi Listhaug.

MiGR2016 åpning

MiGR2016 opening speech

MiGR2016 åpningstale


The subject of Panel 1 was: Arriving at Europe’s Doorstep – A two-way process Coordination: P. Brigadier General Panagiotis Marketakis, EDPD Director

P. Lieutenant General Zaharoula Tsirigoti, Head of Staff, Hellenic Police Headquarters: “The role of the Hellenic Police in migration management”

P. Major General Emmanuel Grigorakis, Head of Aliens and Border Protection Branch, Hellenic Police: “Managing refugee/migration flows”

Mr. Daniel Esdras, Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration, Athens: “Assisted voluntary returns”

Ms Kalliopi Stefanaki, Responsible  for the protection sector of the UNHCR Greece: “Managing refugee/migration flows”

Mr Michael Mickael, Intelligence liaison officer: “The Role and the Task of FRONTEX ihn Greece”

Guest speaker Ms Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert, Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO): “Controlling the European maritime borders: an impossible task? Where security policies, legal obligations and humanitarian principles meet”


Panel 1

Panel 1, Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert

Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert, PRIO

Panel 2: First Stop – Processing human dignity and rights’ support: Towards a new culture of migrant and refugee reception in Greece Coordination: Mr. Christos Christakondis, First Reception Service, Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction

Mr. Christos Christakondis: “First Reeption Centers and Mobile Units as Hotspots of a human rights’ based approach – Future challenges and limitations”

Mr. Spyridon-Herakles Aktypis, Head of Office, Amnesty International Greecee: “Current conditions of reception: what Greece can do and what EU can assume responsibility of”

Mr. Apostolos Fotiadis, Journalist: “Challenges regarding the management of massively displaced populations under the prism of the extension of security mechanisms in the field of reception”

Guest Speaker Ms Benedicte Giaever, Director of Expert Deployment, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC): “Partnership and Capacity Buioding for Enhanced Reception of Refugees and Migrants”

Panel 2, Christakoudis og Aktypis

Panel 2, Fotiadis og Benedicte Giæver

Panel 2, Giæver

Ms Benedicte Giaever, NRC

Day 2: Tuesday 19 April 2016

Panel 3: Relocation: the answer to the asylum worries of Greece and Europe? Coordination: Ms Maria Stavropoulou, Asylum Service Director

Mr Minos Mouzourakis, AIDA Coordinator, European Council on Refugees and Exiles: “Return of the Dublin pitfalls? The sticking points of relocation”

Ms Dionysia Papailiou, Deputy Head, Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos-Relocation Unit: “Asylum Procedures in Lesvos”

Guest Speaker Mr Frode Forfang, Director General, Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI): “Challenge related to the international and European refugee system”

Guest Speaker Mr Dario Vaschetto, Coordinator for thee Hotspot implementation in Greece, European Commission: “EU assistance on the ground in the relocation process”

Mr. Heracles Moskoff, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human beings

Panel 3

Panel 3 Frode Forfang

Mr. Frode Forfang, UDI

Panel 3 Stavropoulou Mouzourakis Papailiou

Panel 4: Setting new standarads in hospitality and integration in all-inclusive societies Coordination: Mr Christos Dimopoulos, Coordinator – Social Worker, Accommodation Requests or Asylum Seekers and Unaccopanied Minors Management Service, National Center for Social Solidarity – EKKA

Mr. Michalis Christakis, President, Panhellenic Association of General Secretaries in Municipal Authorities “Klesthenes”: “Local government best pactices in migration management”

Ms Nasia Ioannou, Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, General Secretariat of Population and Social Cohension: “Integration: A challenge and an emergency in EU member states”

Mr Kosta Magos, Faculty Member, University of Thessaly, Greece: “Creating bridges: Intercultural education as an added value to the stake of coexistence”

Guest Speaker Ms Trude Jacobsen, Secretary General, Norwegian NGO “Dråpen i havet”: “How a Drop in the Ocean can become a flood of humanity”

Panel 4 D

Even though the Norwegian NGO, Dråpen i Havet has had more than 1000 volunteers in Greece the past seven
months, the founder, Trude Jacobsen, never meant to start an organization.
When she came to Lesvos in August 2015, it was supposed to be a short trip, just to witness with her own eyes
who the refugees were, and how the Greek island society could manage to take care of the masses landing on
the Greek shores. She simply wanted to see if there was a way she could help for a few days.
What she experienced during three days in Lesvos made her life turn in a totally new direction.
Trude Jacobsen, who is now the Secretary General of Dråpen i Havet, will take us through how it all started.
What challenges they have met as a “newborn” humanitarian organization and how they see their future
presence in Greece.

Trude B Trude A














Some highlights from Trude Jacobsen’s speech:


…From September 2015 until now, we have had more than 1000 volunteers in Greece. They have been sent to Lesvos, Kos, Chios, Samos, Idomeni and Piraeus.

About 25-30% of them have a medical background. We have a lot of people with Arabic or Farsi language skills, we have police officers, rescue workers, people with military background and even a lot of volunteers with experience from Red Cross or other aid agencies. On the beaches of the islands they were all equal, working at the same level. Side by side, comforting frightened children, giving out bottles of water or hot tea, helping blood circulating in hypothermic bodies, and cleaning the beaches for lifejackets and rubbish.

More than a 1000 volunteers, from all over the world working in the frontline and not turning their backs towards people in need. I am so proud of each one of them, but now after almost eight months deeply involved in the refugees difficult situation, I am no longer proud of being a Norwegian or a European. I am not proud when I see one country after the other closing it`s borders. It is not solidarity to make decisions like this and let a few countries take the total burden…  


…Helping out in Greece have been both easy and extremely challenging at the same time. Easy because Greeks are so goodhearted. They understand the situation of the refugees, and feel their pain. In every location we have been working in Greece through these eight months, we have been welcomed with acceptance and gratefulness. Everywhere we have been working side by side with wonderful locals…



…We have saved lives on the shores of Lesvos, we have provided meals to thousands in Chios, we have given shelters for a lot of children in Idomeni – I believe though, that the most important contribution from A Drop in the Ocean, is to facilitate for witnesses of our time…


…I hear politicians claim that they worry about their children`s future if the migration continues. All parents worry about their children`s future, but for different reasons. I worry most about the hatred Europe creates amongst the people now asking for a safe haven, as they are running from bombs and killings. And we don`t give this safe haven to them. We push them back to the despair and terror. I worry that this creates an anger that might hit back on us in the future….


…We need a caring, tolerating world where people don’t fear each other, but rather appreciate the differences. I believe that is the only way we can find a peaceful and sustainable way to share our common Earth.


I wish to one day again be proud of being a Norwegian and a European…




Lunch and coffee breaks:

Kaffe B2

Trude og Frode Forfang

Trude og Frode Forfang B

Kaffe B1


Trude og Audny