Black Europe Summer School
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Please visit the Black Europe Summer School website for a message from BESS Director Kwame Nimako regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 program:


10 April 2020​

I write to update you on our plans to ensure that BESS will take place this summer, in light of the shutdown around the CORVID-19 in Amsterdam (Netherlands), which is where BESS is being held. We are committed to working with the best and most up to date information in order to keep you informed and to ensure that BESS goes ahead in circumstances that are safe and productive and that enable you to enjoy and benefit the maximum from the course.

As you can imagine I have been gathering the most up to date information about the conditions in the Netherlands in general and Amsterdam in particular. The CORVID-19 shutdown in the Netherlands took effect on 16 March and was first scheduled to last through 6 April. It affects schools, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums, concerts, sport events and festivals. A week later, 24 March, the shutdown for concerts, sport events and festivals was extended through 1 June. On 31 March the shutdown for schools, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and museums was extended through 28 April; subject to daily update and further announcement on 22 April.  According to experts the Dutch population is abiding by the social distancing and shutdown rules.

Thus we are still operating on the assumption that, on the basis of expert analysis, BESS 2020 will go ahead as planned. We will make our final decision whether to go ahead or not on 1st May 2020.

But even if the spread of the virus is halted and much of the restrictions would be lifted in the Netherlands in May, it would still raise two questions. 1) Can people still travel? 2) Would people be prepared to travel?

In the event that the June date for the program does not remain the best option, another option is to postpone the date of BESS until late July or August. With a delayed date, we are far more confident that conditions will be much safer and it is more likely that flights will be available and economical.

We believe that the benefits of BESS, according to the several hundred past participants, mean we should do everything in our power to be able to offer the program this summer. We know that these are difficult circumstances, but we also know that they are temporary. And we know that the issues, circumstances and problems we discuss in BESS – around the African Diaspora in Europe and beyond – will not be gone, when the coronavirus is gone. Finally, we also understand and appreciate that your interest, study, research, and need for interaction and dialogue with others on the issues that shape Black people and the African diaspora, have not subsided or disappeared. So that is why we believe strongly that the program should go ahead.

 Stay safe, and thank you in advance.

Best regards,

K. Nimako

Director, Black Europe Summer School

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