Cities of Migration in Berlin

On June 16 – 18, 2009, Cities of Migration participated in a series of meetings hosted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Berlin. On June 17, members of the Cities of Migration team from Toronto, London, Gutersloh and Auckland attended an extraordinary meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, on the topic of “Integration at the Local Level – Diversity, Social Cohesion & the Descendants of Immigrants.”

Topics ranged from the reform of public school systems to the transition of the second generation into the labour market, with new research being reported by the comparative European TIES research project (The Integration of the European Second Generation), Canada’s Institute for Research in Public Policy and think tanks such as the Migration Policy Institute (US) and the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (The Netherlands). The group also learned about prize-winning US work in education recently recognized by the E Pluribus Unum awards, announced by the Migration Policy Institute in May 2009.

Discussions continued the next day, June 18 with a conference hosted by Bertelsmann and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior on “Shaping Diversity: Global and Local Action.”

Highlights included the results of a nationwide survey of immigrant attitudes to life in Germany. Most feel at home, but over 50% also feel excluded from full participation in German society and its institutions. Read more (in German).

For a panel discussion on ‘Diversity as a Global and Local Challenge,’ Maytree Foundation President Ratna Omidvar (Cities of Migration) joined Prof. Dr. Giuliano Amato, former Prime Minister of Italy, Prof. Dr. Ruud Koopmans, Director of Research, Social Science Research Centre (Berlin) and Trevor Phillips, Chair, UK Equality and Human Rights Commission, for a lively exchange on the relative importance of practice (local) and policy (national) in the integration debate.

For more about the “Shaping Diversity” meeting, visit the Bertelsmann website (in German).