Breaking through "compassion fatigue": LIFEBOAT and the Mediterranean refugee crisis

Author: Alexander Shyne '22

Christopher Jahn/IFRC.  A rubber boat carrying around 50 migrants and refugees arrives from Bodrum in Turkey to the Greek island of Kos.  CC2.0SA Flickr.
Breaking through

On Thursday, April 29, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies hosted Oscar-nominated director Skye Fitzgerald for a screening of his 2018 short documentary, Lifeboat. The film bears witness to refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in small boats leaving Libya in the middle of the night, despite a high probability of drowning. With few resources but certain that civil society must intervene, volunteers from Sea-Watch, a German non-profit, risk the waves of the Mediterranean to extend a hand to those seeking a better life

This event was a joint endeavor between the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Initiative for Global Europe, Keough School of Global Affairs. It was also part of REEL EUROPE, Nanovic's short film series that brings European documentaries to the Notre Dame community, in conversation with their directors.

The screening was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by William Collins Donohue, Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities and director of the Initiative for Global Europe. The panel included Lifeboat director Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Ferris, research professor at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, and Marie Naass, head of advocacy at Sea-Watch Germany and EU.

Alexander Shyne '22 has written an event brief summarizing the documentary, the panel discussion, and the question and answer session that followed. The Nanovic Institute has also made available a live recording of the discussion, for those who would like to catch up with this event.

Read or Download the Event Brief