The Canadian Embassy Promotes Migration
Canada shares their experience with migrationApril 19th, 2018
After Germany welcomed a significant number of refugees and migrants from crises occurring around the world in 2015 and 2016, the country is now working to promote a positive integration of those refugees and migrants into German society.
Simultaneously, Germany and Europe are experiencing a wave of increasing populism and right-wing extremism. As a result, equal rights, social cohesion, open societies, and respect for diversity are top of mind concerns for many Germans. Canada has a lot of experience with welcoming refugees. Thus, Canada’s knowledge with multiculturalism can inspire Germany’s future actions.
The Canadian Embassy in Berlin organized an event in which they wanted to discuss the Canadian and the German experience with migration and diversity. A German sociologist, Aladin El-Mafaalani, and a Canadian Senator, Ratna Omidvar, were invited to lead the discussion.
Canadian Senator Ratna Omidvar is a highly respected voice on inclusion, diversity, and migration both at home and abroad. As an Iranian immigrant, she has a strong personal connection to the challenges that can come with migration.
Senator Omidvar is the founding Executive Director of the “think-and-do tank” Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University and is currently the Co-Chair at the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Migration.
During the event, Senator Omidvar emphasized that diversity and pluralism are strengths of the Canadian society. While acknowledging that racism and discrimination continue to exist, she explained that the particular history, geography, and immigration policies of Canada have made it a place where difference is more accommodated. Senator Omidvar recommended open discussion of the challenges that can accompany migration, without fear of political correctness. If we do not have open discussions, she warned, we become blind to the growing trends of hate and various forms of fundamentalism in our societies.
She concluded her speech by sharing Canada’s success in accepting 40,000 Syrian refugees over two years. Encouraging civic engagement with newcomers, she noted, has been the key to positive integration and greater long term success.
The public lecture, “Us and Them: Diversity, Division and a World of Difference”, was organized by the Canadian Embassy in Berlin in conjunction with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and the Bertelsmann Foundation.