National Policies for an International Challenge: Improving Refugee Integration Policies

July 28, 2015

As record numbers of refugees attempt dangerous Mediterranean crossings to escape instability and poverty in parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East, countries in Europe and North America have struggled to craft helpful policy responses –from the role of nations within a global protection system to the mechanics of asylum seeker processing and relocation. To adequately address this crisis and increase refugee acceptance quotas within host countries, public dialogue might examine refugee inclusion as part of realizing a long-term development opportunity as well as fulfilling a humanitarian need. This will require refugee integration policies and programs that recognize refugees’ agency and potential and involve local leaders and community.

What do we know about the refugee experience? What can we learn from national responses? What works? What scales? How can good policy catalyze public support? fence

In an effort to identify global best practice and encourage increased innovation in this area, the Global Diversity Exchange and the World Bank look to experienced observers of refugee policy and practice.

World Bank Senior Economist Manjula Luthria comes together with Ratna Omidvar of the Global Diversity Exchange, Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail, and Matthias Mayer of the Bertelsmann Stiftung to explore new ideas for moving the refugee agenda forward.

Read event summary and questions for further discussion.

Download PDF version here.


• National Policies for an International Challenge: Improving Refugee Integration Policies Webinar slides (PDF)
• The Globe and Mail article by Doug Saunders: Where Refugee Flood is a Solution, Not a Problem (May 23, 2015)
Humanity, Effectiveness, Self-Determination: Labour Integration of Refugees in Germany – a report by Bertelsmann Stiftung (2015)
• Ratna Omidvar’s article: A Citizen’s Tool for Refugee Resettlement: Canada’s Refugee Sponsorship Programme (June 22, 2015)


• Doug Saunders, Author and International Affairs Columnist, The Globe and Mail
• Matthias M. Mayer, Project Manager, Program Integration and Education, Bertelsmann Stiftung
• Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange (GDX)


• Manjula Luthria, Senior Economist, World Bank


Doug Saunders, Author and International Affairs Columnist, The Globe and Mail

DougPic1_1-150x150Doug Saunders is a Canadian-British author and journalist. He is the author of the books Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World (2011) and The Myth of the Muslim Tide (2012) and is the international-affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail. He served as the paper’s London-based European bureau chief for a decade, after having run the paper’s Los Angeles bureau, and has written extensively from East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa. He writes a weekly column devoted to the larger themes and intellectual concepts behind international news, and has won the National Newspaper Award, Canada’s counterpart to the Pulitzer Prize, on five occasions.


Matthias M. Mayer, Project Manager, Program Integration and Education, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Matthias-Mayer-150x150Matthias M. Mayer is a Project Manager with the Integration and Education program at the Bertelsmann Stiftung and a member of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2015 team. Before joining the Stiftung, he served as both a Research Assistant at Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Nuremberg and an Office Manager of the High-Level Consensus Group on Skilled Labour Demand and Immigration for the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) in Berlin. He received his PhD in European Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2011.


Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange

Ratna-Omidvar-2-150x150Ratna Omidvar is the founding Executive Director of GDX and Adjunct Professor at the School of Management at Ryerson University. She is an internationally recognized expert, speaker and commentator on migration, diversity, integration and inclusion. Previously, Ratna was the President of Maytree, where she played a lead role in local, national and international efforts to promote the integration of immigrants.

Ratna is Chair of Lifeline Syria, Chair Emeritus of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), Co-Chair of DiverseCity: the Greater Toronto Leadership Project, and a Director of the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), The Environics Institute, and Samara. Ratna is co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success (2011) and co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (forthcoming, September 2015).

Ratna received an Honorary Doctor of Laws, York University in 2012. She was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2005; the Order of Canada in 2011 for her advocacy on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada; and the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2014.


Manjula Luthria, Senior Economist, World BankManjula-Luthria-150x130

Manjula M. Luthria leads the International Labor Mobility Program within the framework of the World Bank’s Social Protection and Labor Global Practice. This program, based at the Center for Mediterranean Integration in Marseille, France, focuses on providing analytical and technical advice, as well as practical support, to facilitate the liberalization of global labour markets.


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This is the first in a series of webinars co-hosted by the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) and the World Bank on Opening Doors and Minds: Urban Migrant Inclusion in Policy and Practice.

View all Past webinars »