21 January 2016
Vienna – ESI at conference on refugee crisis
Kristof Bender with Luigi Ammatuna, mayor of Pozzallo, a small Sicilian port and main arrival point for refugees from Libya. Photo: Now Conference
Kristof Bender with Luigi Ammatuna, mayor of Pozzallo, a small Sicilian port and main arrival point for refugees from Libya. Photo: Now Conference

ESI's Kristof Bender attended the "NOW international mayor's conference" which took place in Vienna on 21 and 22 January 2015. The conference, organised by the Kreisky Forum, brought together mayors from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria and Germany with refugees, human rights activists and NGO representatives. While the majors, all from municipalities with a extraordinarily high refugee population, reported about the many challenges they face, they shared a consensus on the moral and humanitarian imperative to help. As Luigi Ammatuna, mayor of Pozzallo on Sicily and a major arrival point of refugees from Libya, put it: "I invite all those who say that we should turn back these refugees to come to Pozzallo, to accompany me to the port, and to tell any of the exhausted and desperate people who fled war and just survived a perilous crossing over the mediterranean that he or she has to turn back. No one who has seen the pain and the level of desperation of these people can do this."

On the panel "On the Road - Points of Transition" Kristof discussed with mayors from Turkey, Greece and Italy: Spyros Galinos, Giorgios Kyritsis and Manolis Vournous, the mayors of Lesbos, Chios and Kos; Ahmet Türk and Firat Anli, the co-mayors of Mardin and Diyarbakir; and Luigi Ammatuna, mayor of Pozzallo. Also on the panel, chaired by former MEP Hannes Swoboda, were asylum seeker Mostafa Noori, Human Rights expert Manfred Nowak and artist Christine Schörkhuber.

Kristof Bender discussing with mayors from Turkey, Greece and Italy. Photo: Now Conference
Kristof Bender discussing with mayors from Turkey, Greece and Italy. Photo: Now Conference
About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com