Reimagining Refugee Integration in Greece

Agora Academy

Project Design

Intro / Context

Agora is a local integration initiative focused on two distinctive and yet connected primary goals:

Agora Academy:

Marketplace training in refugee camps and within the local economy on Lesvos and in Athens.

Agora Supply:

A trademark and marketplace for refugee-made products in Europe and worldwide.

The Problem

Refugee integration in Europe is understood to be a “wicked problem” in design thinking terminology:

What are Wicked Problems?

“Wicked problems are problems with many interdependent factors making them seem impossible to solve. Because the factors are often incomplete, in flux, and difficult to define, solving wicked problems requires a deep understanding of the stakeholders involved, and an innovative approach provided by design thinking.”

Our Solution

Our response applies essential design thinking principles:

Human-Centered: → reframing the problem in ways that are most sympathetic to those most affected.
→ engaging all stakeholders in the design process and developing collaborative solutions that depend upon their relational integrity.

Furthermore it seeks to leverage the transformative capacity of the marketplace, whilst itself not being profit-motivated:

Non-profit → making critical design decisions based upon the cost and benefit to the widest possible stakeholder community.
→ harnessing the economic engine of consumer choice when individual preferences are compounded across European and global populations.

Marketplace training starts with inclusion in the public sphere and orientates refugees towards successful long-term economic integration.
  1. CV generation
  2. Cultural orientation and civic engagement
  3. Foundational skills
  4. Vocational training

A trademark identifies refugee-made products as an ethical consumer choice
  1. Leveraging consumer choice to add value and incentivise refugee integration
  2. Peer to peer verification: a flexible and scalable social proof

A marketplace initiative makes this ethical consumer choice accessible to European citizens
  1. Promoting refugee-made products in European and global marketplaces
  2. Facilitating the supply of products to wholesalers and retailers

Why This Matters

Underlying trends in global migration and European population indicate the severity of a “wicked problem” that is already defining European politics.

Acknowledging that governments are not mandated to bear sole responsibility for this crisis is an important step towards enabling multi-stakeholder solutions that:

  1. facilitate for-profit and non-profit collaboration and
  2. empower responsible citizenship.

We believe an ethical market-driven response rooted in traditional European culture and values is urgently needed.

Join the Journey

Leven is actively seeking partnership opportunities in Greece and in wider Europe as we continue to develop Agora pilot projects in 2024 and 2025.

If you would like to learn more, or start a conversation with Agora’s leadership team today, we encourage you to contact us today.