Town Hall Perspectives on Integration

December 14th, 2010

Speakers at the 2010 Cities of Migration Conference represented a wide range of sectors and interests, from city governments, to local and international NGOs, advocacy groups and media, to the private sector and academics. We share some of their key points with you here, and invite you to watch the highlights from our video gallery.

Integration Town Hall Panel:
Kica Matos, Tufyal Choudhury, Francesca Froy, Andries van Rozen, Ayse Ozbabacan

Kica Matos, Program Executive, The Atlantic Philanthropies (New York)

  • City leaders need to ensure that immigrants feel part of the city, that they contribute to the city’s richness and are being respected.
  • City officials (police, elected officials) should visit immigrant communities to learn about what issues are important to them.

Tufyal Choudhury, Senior Policy Advisor, Open Society Institute (London)

  • Local identities are very important in the integration process, as it is here that we can experience how it feels to be part of the community.
  • Attitudes do change. In the case of Leicester, in the 1970s there was newspaper advertising on why East African Asians should not settle. Now, the city sees diversity as a positive asset and they market the city’s strength on its diversity.
  • The brightest and best of young people are more mobile and they will go to places which are more friendly to them – for example, Turkish second-generation is doing well but choosing to leave Germany for other European cities.

Francesca Froy, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD Leed Programme (Paris)

  • Need both a local and a national strategy on integration.
  • National programs need the flexibility to adapt to the special needs and particular issues that present in the local context
  • Small specialized local projects and flexible mainstream national projects that work together so NGOs aren’t only doing the work.
  • The key focus on promoting migrants’ employment are “RNA tools” where R = the recognition of skills and how those skills can be useful to employers; N = networking to break down boundaries; and A = adaptation to the labour market.

Andries van Rozen, Diversity Officer, PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers (Amsterdam)

  • Diversity promotes innovation in the workplace. In order for companies to foster and retain diversity, they need to work on their employment practices and work culture to break through traditional and conservative models of work.
  • Companies can have good practice and recruit the most experienced and qualified but toretain the right people the company needs to adapt its organizational culture, its policies and practices so that they value and can leverage diversity.

Ayse Ozbabacan, Coordinator, European Cities Network CLIP and the Department of Integration Policy, City of Stuttgart

  • Integration will only happen when different partners and actors are able to work together to cover all aspects of the integration process – for example in service delivery.
  • Education is a priority area for integration because the institutional environment creates opportunities to provide good support to young migrants.
  • Given the current reduction in financial resources available for projects, peer mentoring is a sound, affordable integration strategy to consider.
  • It is important to include parents in early childhood education to help them teach their children and prepare them for school within the home.

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