Thought Leadership


“Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here”

World Bank’s Ellen Goldstein, Country Director for the Western Balkans, on the refugee crisis and the EU.

Mai Chen

Superdiversity and Demographic Disruption

Mai Chen, one of New Zealand’s top constitutional and administrative law experts asks some key questions on the implications of super diversity for New Zealand and its capital city, Auckland.


Projects End But the Migration-Integration Battle Goes On

If Europe is to retain its current output of goods and services, it will need to welcome in a further 56 million migrants by 2050.


On Global Cities

To understand the 21st century, we must understand global cities, who lives in them and how they nurture their own citizens, says Richard C. Longworth, author of On Global Cities.


Suzanne Ma: Meet Me in Venice

The habit of migration spread. Soon, hundreds of thousands were leaving Zhejiang province, fanning out around the world. But they were particularly drawn to Europe.


Beyond Banking: Making Migration a Business Issue

Frank Cui, BNZ: Diversity is not about age, gender, style or ethnicity. It’s about unleashing the potential of each individual within your workforce

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Pico Iyer: The Foreign Spell

“To be a foreigner is to be perpetually detached, but it is also to be continually surprised.”

Ramon Sanahuja

Interview with Ramon Sanahuja, Barcelona

When a migrant decides to reunify their family in their new country of residence It is a very important moment in their migrant lives.

Credit: Ratna Omidvar photographed by Ryan Walker

Flight and Freedom

The desire to thrive and to give back is palpable in refugees. We think of refugees taking and needing, but they enrich our communities in incredible ways – Ratna Omidvar

António Guterres

The Promise of Pluralism

António Guterres talks about the “genie” of intolerance at both ends of the asylum-migration nexus. Against this reality, the voices of tolerance and reason and the values of pluralism need to rise.

Di Daniels

Digital Inclusion: Empowering Newcomer Families and Youth

Interview with Di Daniels, National Coordinator of Computers in Homes: “It’s not about the computer. It is about developing social capacity, promoting social cohesion and building social capital.”


Swedish with your baby – an interview with Karin Bruce

Karin Bruce, co-founder of Swedish with Your Baby talks about why it’s important to meet and interact with people in your neighborhood.

Ratna Omidvar

Diaspora Leadership

“It’s not the size of the diaspora communities in Canada that makes them influential, it’s the success of individuals within those communities,” says Ratna Omidvar, Global Diversity Exchange (GDX).

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Swede visits Toronto for Canadian ideas in integration

Maroun Aoun, CEO of IFS,talks about great Canadian ideas


Cities in Competition: Cultural Offer Improves Attractiveness

Philippe Kern,Managing Director, KEA and URBACT Thematic Expert makes the case for culture: Many cities focus on their economic development to be more competitive. They forget that the soul of a city is its culture, its capacity to be festive, to make noise is a crucial parameter of attractiveness in the competition to attract industries and talents.


Alan Broadbent: We Are All City Builders

At the dawn of the urban age, all of us have the privilege of being at the vanguard of the vital work of city building, says Alan Broadbent in his opening speech at the 2014 Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin.


Mary Rowe: Cities Are About Place

Cities are about place. It is important to take seriously how we shape that experience for newcomers, says Mary Rowe, MASNYC, in her closing keynote address on City Building at the 2014 International Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin.


Let diversity be part of our collective future

Mattias Nord, CEO Visit Karlstad, Kenneth Johansson, Senator of Värmland, and other civic and business leaders in Karlstad (Sweden) talk about the importance of harnessing diversity to Sweden’s future prosperity: “One size does not fit all.”

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No One Should Be Afraid to Say Where They Are From

The Chair of New Europeans, an association which promotes the rights of EU citizens including the right to freedom of movement, wants Britons to reflect on what their negative attitudes and behaviours towards migrants say about them as a nation. In this opinion piece from MRN’s Migration Pulse, Roger Casale reminds us that migrants hold a mirror up to the host nation.


Migrants Give Auckland an Edge over Other Cities: Heather Shotter

The Executive Director, Committee for Auckland, describes migrants as drivers of the local economy and challenges local leaders to work collaboratively towards a more entrepreneurial and innovative culture for Auckland’s future prosperity.


Khalid Koser: Cities and the Case for Migration

“While states are building walls, cities are building bridges,” says the Deputy Director and Academic Dean, Geneva Centre for Security Policy. “If cities in all their complexity can realize the potential of migration, then states, and the international community don’t have far to look for the success stories and best practices that can help generate a new approach.”


Mekonnen Mesghena: An Agenda for Shared Prosperity

Migrants don’t just go to Germany, Denmark or Great Britain but quite specifically to Berlin, Copenhagen and London, said Mesghena of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, our co-host at the 2014 Cities of Migration Conference in Berlin. Cities have always been laboratories of social innovation and pioneering places of change for precisely the reasons of social and cultural diversity that makes them stand out. The success of many large cities is largely to do with the fact that the hopes and dreams of those people who have decided to settle in them can come true.


Edward L. Glaeser: Triumph of the City

Despite the bad rap cities get for being dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive and environmentally unfriendly, a Harvard specialist on the economics of cities is keen to prove that they are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live. According to Edward Glaeser, the city is humanity’s “greatest invention and our best hope for the future.”


Hamilton – The Latest Sanctuary City

Councillor Sam Merulla and Maria Antelo, a community development worker, tell here what prompted Hamilton to re-affirm its commitment to ensuring access to services without fear to immigrants without full status or full documents.

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Introducing Newcomers to Indigenous People

Henry Yu, University of British Columbia and Co-Chair of the Vancouver Dialogues Project, shares ideas on welcoming communities and newcomer settlement. with Judi Altinkaya, Newcomers Marae Welcomes project at the Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy, New Zealand.

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Is Diversity a Threat to Freedom?

Edward Mortimer in this Open Society Foundations article says diversity is both a condition and a result of freedom. Without it, there would be no alternatives for people to choose freely between; and since in practice people make different choices, their freedom produces a diversity of outcomes.


Wicked Failures? Cities Offer Local Solutions

Dana Wagner explains how “wicked” failures in policy can be best addressed at the local level.


US cities race to attract immigrants

Global cities are in a race to attract human capital – David Lubell, Welcoming America


Including Migrant Votes Is Good for Democracy

Political participation is still at the heart of the democratic process, says Paul Spoonley, Massey University.


The Mathematics of Immigration

Hollie McNish’s spoken word poem comments on the current immigration debate, personal experience and studies, including economist Philippe Legrain’s “Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them.”

Emila Wanat

Immigrant = The New Mainstream

In this Cafebabel column, Emilia Wanat is of the opinion that immigration has become a subject of political bickering and not the subject of potential laws. She says the refusal to come to terms with movement of people symbolizes our poor understanding of globalization.

Stephen Fotopulos

Stephen Fotopulos: Making Nashville a City for All of Us

Strong communities, like relationships, are built on good communication and the measure of success will be the degree to which everyone is engaged in the conversation.

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Turning Migration Policy from Failure to Opportunity

Dr. Khalid Koser argues that the “challenges of managing international migration have been consistently underestimated.”


Feeling Lonely? Take the Talking Cure

Language can be a barrier to social participation in UK, contributing to increased loneliness among people from ethnic minority groups, says Nageena Khan.

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Elham Seyed Javad: Sports Hijab Takes Off

“We can all express our passion for sport through our personal background in mutual respect.”

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Living Your Languages

What’s it like living in languages other than English? Ratna Omidvar responds with her multilingual story.

Manjula Luthria

Resetting the Way We Work on Migration

Time to rethink migration says Manjula Luthria of the World Bank’s International Labour Mobility program.

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Pluralism: A Key Opportunity for the 21st Century

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General: “We have to promote dialogue to combat fear, intolerance, and extremism.”

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Good practices: Ambassador Project Ghent

Cities of Migration asked Ghent’s Integration Office (Anja Van den Durpel, Head of the Ghent Integration Office; Ilse Neyrinck, Policy Advisor on Participation; Marc Van Acker, Communications Officer) to discuss how the Ambassador Project opens minds to the lives of migrants.

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Omar Khan: What is Financial Inclusion?

To help the financially excluded, we need to rethink mainstream financial products and services.


Toronto: Why the Integrating Cities Charter Matters

Is the EUROCITIES Charter on Integrating Cities coming to Toronto? We asked Chris Brillinger (Executive Director of Social Development, Finance and Administration, City of Toronto’) and Jehad Aliweiwi (Executive Director, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office) to explain the need for a charter in a city celebrated for its diversity.

Ulrich Maly

Local Integration Requires Long-Term Commitment of All

The presidents of Germany’s municipal associations (Ulrich Maly, Deutscher Städtetag; Hans Jörg Duppré, Deutscher Landkreistag; and Christian Schramm, Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund) argue that integration needs the full commitment of all governments.

Ibrahim Sirkeci

Not Migrants and Immigration, but Mobility and Movement

Is it time to drop the word migration? Ibrahim Sirkeci, Regent’s University London, and Jeffrey H. Cohen, Ohio State University, think so.


The Spirit of Hong Kong’s Diversity

Writer and photographer JT Singh shares stories and photos about migrant workers in Hong Kong.


The Queen and I

“HRH Queen Elizabeth and I have a complicated relationship,” says Maytree President Ratna Omidvar.

Heather Shotter

Welcoming The Committee for Auckland

Nau mai! We are delighted to welcome our new community partner in New Zealand. Heather Shotter, Executive Director, explains why Auckland’s diversity is important to the city’s prosperity.

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Why Loans for Immigrants Make a Difference

Vanessa Desa and Dianne Fehr (Immigrant Access Fund) talk about the impact of small loans.

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Rachel Steinhardt: Promoting Prosperity by Welcoming Immigrants

“Civic leaders are catching on to what savvy businesses already know: diversity and immigration are opportunities that can improve prosperity for all.”


The Ethos of Cities: The Spirit of Singapore’s Diversity

Toronto-born “urban-geographic explorer” JT Singh visited Singapore and now shares his views on this multi-ethnic city-state.

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Rapid Growth in Singapore’s Immigrants Brings Policy Challenges

Brenda Yeoh and Weiqiang Lin share insights on the impact of Singapore’s new immigration policies.


Fatima Shama: Blueprints for Immigrant Integration

Fatima Shama, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, speak about Blueprints for Immigrant Integration.

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Ensuring Diversity Becomes an Asset for Everyone

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, says empowering newcomers is the “only appropriate policy choice in a democratic society.”

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Policy, Politics and Participation

Fidele Mutwarasibo, Integration Manager of the Irish Immigrant Council, speaks about “The Challenge of Dealing with Third Country Nationals’ Political Participation.”

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi: Community Building as Nation Building

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, City of Calgary, recalls how voters were more interested in his views on policy than his background.

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Chicago’s Plan for a Thriving, Welcoming City

Adolfo Hernandez, Office of New Americans (Chicago): “We are an international city, we are a city of immigrants, we are a welcoming city.”


Taking It to the Streets: A Municipal Role in Immigrant Integration

Myer Siemiatycki (Ryerson University) explores the ways integration influences and is influenced by our public spaces.


Migration and the Metropolis

Audrey Singer, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, paints a picture of shifting metropolitan immigration patterns in North America and internationally.


Practice to Policy Report: Introduction

Ratna Omidvar, Maytree (Canada): Jane Jacobs observed the level of government closest to the people is best positioned to serve the people.


‘Rich and Happy’ – Good Local Initiatives for the Integration of Migrants

Roland Roth, Magdeburg-Stendal University (Germany), on how cities are thinking about immigrants as a key to urban prosperity.


National Policies and Local Realities in Immigrant Integration

Jan Niessen (Migration Policy Group) looks at how national policy interacts with local policy, commenting on gaps and convergences.

Alan Broadbent and Ratna Omidvar

Five Reasons Canada Leads the World on Immigration

Maytree Opinion by Alan Broadbent, Chairman of Maytree Foundation, and Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree Foundation: If migrants all gathered in one place, they would constitute the world’s fifth most populous country.


Sara Llewellin: Old Cities, New Cities

The Chief Executive of the Barrow Cadbury Trust calls the UK “a country built on migration.”

Ayse Özbabacan

On the Trail of Good Ideas with Ayse Özbabacan: Toronto to Stuttgart

This month meet Ayse Özbabacan, Policy Officer European City network for Local Integration Policies (CLIP).

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Why Municipal Leadership Matters: Alan Broadbent

Alan Broadbent, Chairman of Maytree Foundation: “People move to cities because that is where opportunity exists at scale.”


Steven Wray: From Philly to Hogtown

The Executive Director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia speaks about the importance of city-to-city learning.

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On the Trail of Good Ideas with Sister Lena Deevy: Kerpen to Boston

This month meet Sister Lena Deevy, Executive Director, Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), Boston.

Celia Okoyino da Mbabi

Celia Okoyino da Mbabi: A Soccer Star goes VIP

“Kids are our future. I really enjoy their company. I perceive them as being extremly open-minded. Children have to be encouraged and supported – they are the true VIPs.”

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Stephen Frost talks Supplier Diversity at the London Games

The Head of Diversity and Inclusion for London 2012, the organizing body for the upcoming Olympic Games, talks about the strategic benefits of supplier diversity.

Orkan Koesemen

Orkan Kösemen: Learning from Each Other

Dr. Orkan Kösemen dispels some of the prevailing myths about immigration and Germany.

David Lubell

What Is a Welcoming Community?

For David Lubell, Welcoming America Executive Director and new Ashoka Fellow, de-bunking myths about immigration can help US communities overcome their fears and embrace the country’s national tradition and historical legacy of welcoming immigrants.

Jurgen Roters
Ricard Zapata-Barrero
Ziauddin Sardar

Ziauddin Sardar: In Defense of Multiculturalism

“It is important to realize that multiculturalism is not about dominance of one culture over another. It is not about the dominance of a single culture over a multiple of cultures. It is about equality of cultures.”

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Sarah Spencer: Super-diversity and the City

“In a short space of time we suddenly have people from a plethora of different places, with different faiths, different languages.”

Demetri Papademetrios
Stuttgart Mayor Schuster

Ayesha Saran Talks Transaltantic Trends: Immigration

“The survey found that public attitudes are more complex and nuanced than is often reported.”

Nazia Hussain

Nazia Hussain: Cities Leading by Example

We asked the Director of the At Home in Europe Project at the Open Society Foundations about her work and the role of local government in promoting effective integration policies and practices.

Len Brown

Margie McHugh: Talking E Pluribus Unum Prizes

As the Co-Director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy at MPI, Margie McHugh is in a unique position to understand the intersection between practice and policy.

Sir Richard Leese

Listening to Local Leadership in Manchester: Sir Richard Leese

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council on immigration, local initiatives and ideas that his city.

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Putting citizenship into practice: Carmen Garcia de Andrés, Fundación Tomillo

Carmen Garcia de Andrés talks about the success of Tiempo Joven, a program that engages young people by allowing them to design their own community activities.

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Dear Sir Lawrence Hill, I Plan to Burn Your Book

Lawrence Hill comments on how the new Dutch title of his best-selling, The Book of Negroes, became a flashpoint for controversy in the Netherlands.

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Dr. Roland Kaehlbrandt: Don’t forget the Families!

Dr. Roland Kaehlbrandt on why families as well as children are at the heart of the Diesterweg Scholarship Good Idea.

Marcello Balbo

Rethinking the Fortress

For Marcel Balbo, SSIM, the Arab spring has lessons for Europe’s policy-makers: “The history of the Polish plumber should have taught us something about the relationship between democracy, development and migration….”


Migration and the Politics of Proximity: António Vitorino

Migration and the Politics of Proximity

António Vitorino, Former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs

Saskia Sassen

Unscrambling Immigration: Saskia Sassen

Unscrambling Immigration

Saskia Sassen, Co-Chair of The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

Suketu Mehta

In Conversation with Suketu Mehta: The City Speaks

The city has become an obsession for Suketu Mehta from Mumbai to New York City. Now he is in search of the ‘new New York’.


In Conversation with Frank Sharry of America’s Voice

Few people know the American immigration reform scene as well as Frank Sharry, first as the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and now as founder of America’s Voice.


Inclusion Means All of Us

Inclusion Means All of Us

Ratna Omidvar @Maytree Foundation

Cem Ozdemir

In Conversation with Germany’s Cem Özdemir

Cem Özdemir, Co-Chair of The Green Party/Die Grünen (Germany) is the first party leader in Germany to come from an immigrant background. The son of Turkish “guest workers”, he has become the de facto expert on immigration and integration issues for his party.


Re-thinking Equalities: In Birmingham with Joy Warmington

Joy Warmington, CEO, brap, explains how inclusive approaches to equalities benefit everyone, irrespective of their ‘race’ or socio-economic status.


Eva Millona: Media as a Tool for Change

Eva Millona, Executive Director of Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) discusses her organization’s success in using the media as a tool for change.


Kim Clark: CBC Sports and Diversity with Joel Darling and Saphia Khambalia

Joel Darling and Saphia Khambalia from CBC Sports to talk about the role that sports programming has on diversity.


Interview: Irene Guidikova at Intercultural Cities

Irena Guidikova, the Head of Cultural Policy at the Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue Division of the Council of Europe, talks about intercultural integration and good practice in the Intercultural Cities network in Europe.

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Omar Khan: On Financial Inclusion

This month we talk to Omar Khan at the Runnymede Trust (London) about financial inclusion and how it can help build a just society.


Ulrich Kober: Education and Integration

Each year the Carl Bertelsmann Prize honors innovative ideas and exemplary solutions to pressing social issues from Germany and internationally with the mandate of learning from the best examples in the world.


Focus on city partnerships: with Ricardo Gambetta

An interview with Ricardo Gambetta, Manager, Immigrant Integration Programs at the US National League of Cities. The National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organisation representing municipal government in the United States….

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Focus On Youth: an interview with Natalia Chan

Interview with Natalia Chan, Research Associate, Young Foundation: “Maslaha has been built on and inspired by conversations with young people right from the start.”

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