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Karin Ohansian wants to promote the integration of Swedish citizens and immigrants through cultural project

Our goal is to unite refugees, migrants and established Swedish citizens through social and cultural activity. A flourishing culture should not cause internal conflict, it is cultural richness. Ya habibi, a social and cultural event that aims to give aid to refugees from the Middle East.
Växjö • Publicerad 4 februari 2019
Foto: Privat

Karin Ohansian was born and raised in Sweden. She is daughter of an Armenian parents. Her parents were born and raised in Beirut- Lebanon. After being forced to leave Arminna because of the wars there. Once again, the Karen family finds themselves forced to leave Lebanon because of escalating conflicts and a civil war there.

– My parents were born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. They were forced to flee the country due to escalating conflicts and the outbreak of a civil war. As a young married couple, with my mother being pregnant with my older brother, my parents decided to sell everything they owned in Lebanon and come to Sweden. Their main reason for doing this was to give their family and children a better, secure life. They traveled from Lebanon to Syria and arrived in Sweden in August 1989. Upon arrival they stayed at a refugee camp in Upplands Väsby and then received their residency after 15 days. Says Karin Ohansian.


Because of her parents cultural diversity, Karen has what many people refer to as double cultural identity.

– I have been fortunately enough to experience two incredible, yet very different cultures which has left me somewhat disjointed as a person at times.

However, I have embroidered this disruption now, seeing it not as something that should cause an internal conflict but rather a cultural richness. She added.

Karin Ohansian is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Swedish Red Cross in Göteborg.

– I work in a trauma treatment center for refugees who have experienced war, refugee and torture. As a psychologist at our trauma treatment center in Göteborg, I work with adult refugees but especially unaccompanied asylum-seeking refugee minors in the region of Västra Götaland and conduct psychotherapeutic treatments. As a center for refugees, we have an interdisciplinary treatment focus and work in teams of psychologists, psychotherapists, physiotherapists, social workers and administrators. As a project manager, I work closely with one of the head of operation members at Red Cross Youth Magdalena Glusniewska in Växjö. As Karin indicated.

Karin has a master's degree in psychology from Linnéuniversitetet. She also worked previously in an outpatient psychiatric clinic, where she conducted her supervised practice. In addition she worked for several occupational and educational preparatory organizations for refugees.

– For me it has always been important to provide care to those in need, with emphasis on people who have bought refuge from different parts of the world. In addition to working in different organizations, I have also focused my university research on refugees and their post-migration experiences.

In cooperation with head of operations Magdalena Glusniewska at Red Cross Youth in Växjö. Karin started the pilot project Red Cross Culture Deluxe. The purpose of the project is to foster integration and bring together refugees, migrants and established Swedish citizens in Växjö. She said.

– In order to bring the project to life we created a partnership with Kafé de luxe and began to organize a fundraiser. Together our goal was to unite refugees, migrants and established Swedish citizens through social and cultural activity. The result became Red Cross Culture Club de luxe. according to Karin Ohansian.

What is the purpose of the cultural event that will be held at Kafé de luxe?


– Ya habibi, a social and cultural event that aims to give aid to refugees from the Middle East. The event will act as a fundraiser and shed light on the current situation in different parts of the Middle East, specifically in countries where Red Cross are currently active. In addition to this, the event wishes to empower those who have thought refuge from the Middle eastern region and who now stay in Sweden. Therefore, poets, authors, journalists, artists and musicians with ties to the Middle East will be a part of the event.

Every week, Red Cross Youth in Växjö and Kafé de luxe will disclose further details of the event. These will be broadcast through Red Cross Youth's and Kafé de luxe's social media platforms in Växjö. They will also announce the event program at Kafé de luxe's Facebook event.

Are there other activities to be implemented during 2019?

– For the moment, we can not reveal any further details about the project. But of course, we hope to create more events within the project in the near future.

Maha Nasser
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