Pluralism and Populism: European Societies, Migration and the Challenges of Integration

October 19, 2018

GDX Annual Lecture: Naika Foroutan, Humboldt University

Big Ideas on Diversity, Prosperity, and Migration

The Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) and the Immigration and Settlement Studies (ISS) Program at Ryerson University present the 2018 GDX Lecture, “Pluralism and Populism – European Societies and the Challenges of Integration” with Dr. Naika Foroutan, Humboldt University (Berlin, Germany), followed by a moderated conversation with The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, Independent Senator for Ontario, Senate of Canada.

October 19, 2018        
TRSM Commons, Ryerson University
55 Dundas Street West | Toronto

It is undeniable that Europe is in a crisis. We see shifts in core values and democratic principles reflected in an alarmingly strong and ever-growing anti-immigration, right-wing populism. Migration has become a deeply polarized subject in European societies to the point that it has exposed the fault lines of pro-diversity political cultures such as those of the United Kingdom, France or The Netherlands.

Current analyses fail to explain the interconnection between the growth of right-wing populism, social inequality and anxiety about lost economic status in the context of wealthy democratic countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria.

In much of Europe the crisis continues to be framed around the increasing heterogeneity of society and fear of losing one’s national identity. The latter is claimed by various different groups in society seeking to establish a national identity based on a plurality of positions – gender positions, sexual identities, religion and any other concept of self-view.

At the 2018 GDX Lecture, Dr. Naika Foroutan will address right-wing populism in Europe with a particular focus on Germany. Dr. Foroutan argues that current trends towards the rejection of already negotiated, fought for norms and values of plural democracies pose a serious challenge to the possibilities of inclusive nationalism in multicultural societies like Germany and Canada.

Remarks by 2018 GDX Lecturer Dr.Naika Foroutan are followed by a moderated conversation with Senator Ratna Omidvar; introduced by Harald Bauder, Director, ISS, Ryerson University.

Co-hosted by the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) and the Immigration and Settlement Studies (ISS) Program at Ryerson University, this lecture is held in partnership with The Consulate of Germany in Canada (Toronto), the Goethe-Institut Canada and Cities of Migration at Ryerson University.


Dr. Naika Foroutan, Head of the Department “Integration Research and Social Policy” and Director at the Berlin Institute on Integration and Migration Research (BIM), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Naika Foroutan is Professor of Social Sciences at the Humboldt-University in Berlin. She specializes in integration and migration research with a particular focus on countries of immigration, their shifting identities as well as their prevalent attitudes towards minorities. She has been appointed Director of the Berlin Institute on Integration and Migration Research (BIM) – a research institute based at Humboldt University aimed at providing empirical analysis for migration and integration debates in Europe.

Naika Foroutan led on the two much acclaimed research projects HEYMAT (Hybrid European Muslim Identities) and JUNITED (New Islam-related-topics in Germany). She has published widely on the themes of shifting identities in Germany, attitudes towards Muslims in Germany as well as on post-migrant societies – a newly developed theoretical framework for analyzing transformations in migration-impacted societies.

Naika Foroutan serves as an adviser and consultant to German political parties and other national and international institutions and is also a board member of the Council on Migration in Germany. She also works as a freelance analyst for radio and television on topics such as political Islam, politics in the Middle East, migration, integration, hybridity, and anti-Muslim racism.

The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, C.M., O.Ont., Senator for Ontario, The Senate of Canada, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ryerson University

Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, she was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario. As a member of the Senate’s Independent Senators Group she holds a leadership position as the Scroll Manager and is also the Deputy Chair of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector.

Senator Omidvar is the founding Executive Director at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University.

Senator Omidvar serves as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council and is also a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara Canada and is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita. She was formerly the Co-Chair of the Global Future Council on Migration hosted by the World Economic Forum and the Chair of Lifeline Syria.
Senator Omidvar is a Member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Ontario She is also the recipient of the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.

Prof. Harald Bauder, Director, Graduate Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies (ISS) at Ryerson University

Prof. Harald Bauder is a professor of geography and the director of the Graduate Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University. He is also the founder of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement. His research has long involved comparing immigration policies and debates as well as integration practices between Germany and Canada., In 2015, he received the Konrad Adenauer Research Award, conferred by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Royal Society of Canada, in recognition of his contribution to the academic and cultural exchange between the Federal Republic of Germany and Canada. His latest book, published by Routledge, is titled Migration Borders Freedom. Dr. Bauder will be a senior research fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Freiburg im Breisgau in 2019.

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