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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Moving Beyond Pandemic: Digital Health Credentials in India and Africa: Are COVID-19 Travel Passes Catalyzing New Tech Innovations?

Posted in International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by Migration Policy Institute on August 2nd, 2022

Digital health credentialing is one of the main tools to safely return to pre-pandemic levels of mobility and plan for the next public health crisis. Digital innovations—including automatic verification of health and vaccination results—are reopening economies and global mobility while setting the standard for new ways of managing mobility and health that will outlast the pandemic, especially in regions that had lower levels of digital use and more limited health and border management systems. Notably, India’s DIVOC system and the African Union Trusted Traveler system are examples of how the pandemic fueled large-scale innovation in this regard. In this episode, we discuss these developments with Dr. Pramod Varma, chief architect of India's digital identity program, Aadhar, and of its COVID pass system, DIVOC; Dr. Edem Adzogenu, co-chair and founder of the Afro Champions Initiative, which supports regional integration and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; and Lawrence Huang, a Migration Policy institute (MPI) associate policy analyst working on its Task Force on Borders and Mobility During and After COVID-19.

Migrant Integration Governance After the Pandemic: Lasting Adaptations?

Posted in Immigrant Integration, International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by Migration Policy Institute on July 19th, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout have triggered the perfect storm in migrant integration, with migrants and refugees experiencing disproportionate health and economic effects. They also upended the ability of policymakers and practitioners to respond in typical ways, given the halt to the delivery of in-person services and the forced shift online.

Marking the release of a Migration Policy Institute Europe report, this webinar examines how government strategies, practices, and instruments of integration policymaking have adapted during the pandemic both in Europe and North America. How did policymakers ensure effective and agile responses in a context of COVID-induced disruption, and what can be learned to promote cost-effective integration policies moving forward?

Forging Partnerships to Make the Reintegration of Migrants More Effective and Sustainable

There is no "one-size-fits-all" reintegration model that can ensure success for returning migrants and the communities into which they are re-entering. Returnees have complex, interconnected economic, social, and psychosocial needs that typically cannot be covered by one single service provider. Returning migrants need to be able to access core public services (documentation, work opportunities, and health care) as well as context-specific local initiatives that will endure even after reintegration programs end. Yet while there is a growing acknowledgment that better partnerships between reintegration providers and local actors are needed to expand the variety of support measures available to returnees, there is no consensus as to how these connections (or "referrals") should be organized, what types of services referral partners should deliver (and what support they need to do so), and how outcomes can best be monitored over time.

This MPI Europe webinar, releasing a brief, examines how to design referral mechanisms so that returnees receive the core services they need, while also ensuring support is embedded within local contexts (for instance delivered by trusted providers, or calibrated to specific ethnic, cultural, or linguistic needs). Speakers explore questions around how major donors and providers can effectively partner with local actors, striking the right balance between formal reintegration programs (that are often more established but can be removed from local needs) and local initiatives (which may lack capacity but be better placed to cultivate trust with beneficiaries). How can programs be embedded within the fabric of local communities and "professionalized" to ensure that migrants do not fall through the cracks and outcomes are monitored over time?

Alternativas a la migración irregular: Ampliación de los programas de trabajo temporal en Canadá, México y Costa Rica

Cada año la violencia, la inseguridad y las presiones económicas obligan a decenas de miles de migrantes de El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras a buscar mejores medios de vida y oportunidades fuera de sus países de origen. Aunque algunos migrantes pueden ser elegibles para recibir protección humanitaria bajo los limitados sistemas de asilo y refugio en la región, la mayoría no puede acceder los caneles existentes de migración regular. Por esta razón, la ampliación de los programas de trabajo temporal puede ser un mecanismo importante para convertir algunos flujos migratorios irregulares en regulares.

Aunque la ampliación de los programas de empleo temporal de Estados Unidos, como las visas temporales H-2, es fundamental para establecer alternativas regionales a la migración irregular y cubrir la escasez de mano de obra nacional, es insuficiente sin la ampliación simultánea de programas similares en Canadá, México y Costa Rica.

Como parte de un proyecto del Migration Policy Institute, Building a Regional Migration System, este webcast presenta los resultados de un informe sobre las rutas de empleo temporal para los migrantes centroamericanos en Canadá, México y Costa Rica. Los ponentes ofrece un análisis del Programa de Trabajo Temporal para Extranjeros en Canadá, la Visa de Trabajador Fronterizo en México y el Acuerdo Binacional de Costa Rica con Nicaragua, ofreciendo recomendaciones para mejorar estas rutas y promover una migración segura, ordenada y regular.

Promising Alternatives to Irregular Migration: Expanding Temporary Worker Programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica

Violence, insecurity, and economic pressures compel tens of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras every year to seek better livelihoods and opportunities outside their countries of origin. Some may be eligible for humanitarian protection under the limited asylum systems in the region, but most cannot access existing legal migration pathways. Expanding temporary worker programs therefore can offer an important means to convert some irregular flows into legal ones.

While expanding U.S. temporary employment programs, such as H-2 seasonal visas, is central to establishing regional alternatives to irregular migration and filling domestic labor shortages, it is insufficient without the simultaneous expansion of similar programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

As part of a Migration Policy Institute project, Building a Regional Migration System, this webcast presents research findings from a report on temporary employment pathways for Central American migrants in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Speakers offer an analysis of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada, the Border Worker Visa in Mexico, and Costa Rica’s Binational Agreement with Nicaragua, providing recommendations to improve these pathways and promote safe, orderly, and regular migration.

En Busqueda de Seguridad: Opciones de protección regional para personas de Centroamérica

En los últimos años, cientos de miles de Centroamericanos han huido de la violencia de pandillas o la violencia de género, violaciones a derechos humanos y problemas socioeconómicos exacerbados por desastres naturales en Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador. La gran mayoría han llegado a las fronteras de México y Estados Unidos para solicitar asilo y refugio, poniendo una gran presión sobre los sistemas de asilo y las capacidades de procesamiento de estos gobiernos. Como resultado, miles de personas han quedado en el limbo mientras esperan la resolución de sus casos.

Si bien los programas de reasentamiento de refugiados son una opción para evitar que las personas emprendan viajes peligrosos, hasta la fecha se han implementado de manera muy limitada en la región. Con el fin de buscar una solución a este creciente desafío, los formuladores de políticas en Canadá y Estados Unidos han comenzado a reconsiderar si el reasentamiento debería desempeñar un papel más importante en atender las necesidades regionales de protección, así como la manera en la que se podrían ampliar las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento.

A la publicación de un informe del Instituto de Política Migratoria sobre posibles vías de protección para las personas centroamericanas, este webcast ofrece un análisis sobre las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento que ya se utilizan en la región—incluido el Acuerdo de Traslado por Motivos de Protección, y otras modalidades de procesamiento dentro de país como el Programa de Menores Centroamericanos (CAM), así como el reasentamiento de refugiados en terceros países—y se discuten las oportunidades y los obstáculos para expandir estos programas. Los ponentes también brindan recomendaciones sobre acciones específicas que Estados Unidos y Canadá podrían tomar con base en sus sólidos sistemas de protección humanitaria.

El evento es en inglés con interpretación en español.

 

Seeking Safety: Regional Protection Options for Central Americans

Fleeing gang-related and gender-based violence, human-rights violations, and socioeconomic problems exacerbated by natural disasters in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, hundreds of thousands of Central American asylum seekers have arrived at the Mexican and U.S. borders, straining these governments’ asylum systems and processing capacities. As a result, thousands of asylum seekers have been left in limbo while they await the resolution of their cases. While refugee resettlement programs are an option to avoid undertaking dangerous journeys, they have been deployed on a very limited basis in the region to date.

Seeking a solution to this growing challenge, policymakers in Canada and the United States have begun to reconsider whether resettlement should play a larger role in addressing regional protection needs, and how resettlement and humanitarian pathways could be scaled up.

Marking the release of a Migration Policy Institute report on possible protection pathways for Central Americans, this webcast offers analysis on resettlement and humanitarian channels already utilized the region—including in-country processing, the Protection Transfer Arrangement, and third-country refugee resettlement—and the opportunities and obstacles to expanding these programs. Speakers will also provide recommendations for specific actions that the United States and Canada could take, given their well-established humanitarian protection systems.

Delivering on the Promise of Predeparture Counseling for Sustainable Reintegration

Posted in International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on July 13th, 2022

The return and reintegration of irregular migrants and asylum seekers whose protection claims are rejected has become a top priority for policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, programs that assist returning migrants with reintegration into their countries and communities of origin have proliferated in the last decade.

Fostering the sustainable reintegration of returnees, however, it is not easy. Migrants often return to challenging circumstances and to changed local communities, and the stigma of an unsuccessful migration journey in some origin countries can further strain the transition into this new life. Reintegration programs aim to ease these challenges by providing assistance after return, such as aid to start a business or medical care. However, there is a newfound recognition among European policymakers that successful reintegration starts before return, and an increasing number of countries are investing in predeparture counseling. Counseling before return can help migrants prepare mentally for the journey ahead, develop a clear picture of life after return, and plan the first steps of their reintegration process, such as school enrolment or finding a job. Yet, the approaches to predeparture counseling still differ greatly in terms of methods, intensity, and the extent to which they involve partners in origin countries. Moreover, reintegration programs still face operational challenges to ensuring a smooth transition between the predeparture and post-arrival phases for returnees.

This discussion features experts and practitioners in origin and destination countries and examine how to leverage predeparture counseling for sustainable reintegration. The conversation accompanied the launch of an MPI Europe policy brief that explores promising approaches to strengthen the links between the predeparture and post-arrival phases in reintegration programs, improving returnees’ preparation for the journey ahead and increasing the chances that they will successfully reintegrate.

This webinar is part of a research partnership between MPI Europe and the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), funded through the European Union Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund (AMIF), with co-financing from participating national authorities.

Fomentar la cohesión social para todos: ¿Qué podemos aprender de las intervenciones de desarrollo sobre cómo promover la inclusión y reducir la xenofobia?

 La preocupación por el aumento de la xenofobia y la discriminación ha provocado inversiones que promueven la cohesión social y combaten los prejuicios contra las personas que se desplazan. Estas preocupaciones son especialmente urgentes debido al aumento de la migración forzada y la pandemia mundial, la cual ha provocado el uso de los migrantes como chivos expiatorios, y cuyos efectos económicos devastadores pueden dañar aún más la cohesión social de las comunidades.  

Los gobiernos, las ONG y las organizaciones internacionales han pedido nuevas ideas para aprovechar la solidaridad y reducir los conflictos. Estas ideas ocupan un lugar importante en el Pacto Mundial para una Migración Segura, Ordenada y Regular. Sin embargo, se desconoce qué estrategias, desde las campañas digitales hasta las intervenciones de creación de comunidades, funcionan realmente para eliminar los prejuicios y mitigar las tensiones sociales. Este evento del Foro de Revisión de la Migración Internacional trata de iniciar una conversación práctica y necesaria sobre qué fomenta los sentimientos de confianza y qué estrategias evitan que se produzcan tensiones y prejuicios.  

El debate se centra en lo que ha sido eficaz para construir sociedades socialmente cohesionadas e inclusivas, examinando las lecciones de situaciones post-conflicto sobre cómo fomentar la confianza entre grupos además de explorar ejemplos de ideas prometedoras pero fallidas para entender por qué fracasaron en la práctica.  

The State of Global Human Mobility More than Two Years into the Pandemic

Posted in International Migration by Migration Policy Institute on July 5th, 2022

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are seeking to safely restart cross-border mobility of all types. But the complex patchwork of travel restrictions and health measures is preventing a swift return to pre-pandemic levels of movement, even in the face of major changes in the epidemiological situation, rising vaccination rates, and new therapeutics. And the global picture is uneven, with some regions, such as parts of Asia, still largely closed, and others, such as the European Union, keeping borders shut to unvaccinated travelers, leaving many out.

Since the onset of the public-health crisis, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has tracked the more than 100,000 travel restrictions, border closures, and health-related travel requirements imposed by governments globally at the peak in 2021. How has the situation evolved in the second year of the pandemic? What steps have governments been taking to restart international travel and migration in safe and efficient ways? How do they adapt as new variants emerge in different places around the world? And as countries create exceptions to mobility restrictions for certain groups of travellers, what does this increasingly complex picture reveal about the inequalities between who can move and who cannot?

This discussion features experts from international organizations, government, civil society, and the private sector to examine the state of mobility during the second and now third years of the pandemic. The conversation accompanies the launch of an IOM-MPI report that draws from the IOM database to sketch the state of mobility across world regions.

Public Narratives on Refugees: Sustaining Solidarity in Times of Crisis

The massive humanitarian exodus from Ukraine has upended global expectations of how quickly—and at what scale—host communities can welcome people fleeing their homes. The number of Ukrainians who fled to Poland within the first two weeks of the invasion surpassed the number of Venezuelans received by Colombia over a five-year period. Despite the potentially destabilizing pace and volume of arrivals from Ukraine, the policy response has been overwhelmingly supportive. So has the public response, with public opinion polling pointing to high support for Ukrainians across Europe.
 
But as the crisis continues, there are fears that these initial feelings of goodwill will fade and generosity fatigue will set in, much as occurred during the 2015-16 European migration and refugee crisis and in parts of South America with the arrivals of large numbers of Venezuelans. This raises several questions: How can immediate post-crisis solidarity be harnessed and made more sustainable, such that it can withstand emerging narratives of newcomers as threats to jobs and limited public services? How can feelings of goodwill be leveraged to spread to others rather than remaining narrowly focused on a particularly sympathetic population? And how can policy responses such as temporary stay permits build longer-term goodwill towards populations needing protection writ large?
 
This Migration Policy Institute webinar convenes international experts to consider what we know about public opinion and narratives on refugees and what this means for the Ukrainian crisis. This event marks the launch of a publication from the “Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World” initiative led by MPI and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The initiative aims to advance ideas to redesign the global protection and resettlement infrastructure in a way that is more equitable, flexible, and sustainable.

Innovation Within Government. Rethinking and Modernizing Integration Policy Plenary Session

MPI Europe Director Hanne Beirens moderated a session where Laura Batalla from Ashoka Hello Europe Initiative, David Cashaback from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Drocella Mugorewera from the Refugee Congress, Cameron McGlothlin of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Refugee Admissions, and Vincent Catot from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, discussed these questions:

  • How is integration policymaking evolving, under the combined pressures of the pandemic, economic shifts, rising social needs, and technological transformation?
  • How have policymakers in Europe and North America responded to the need for rapid and agile policy action to address COVID-19-induced disruption, at a time in which many of their usual routines, practices, and tools have been upended? How might these experiences shape integration policy in the longer run—in its objectives, practices, and overall mission?
  • How can multi-level governance approaches and multi-stakeholder cooperation help governments address evolving integration challenges and promote innovation? How to ensure systematic learning and transfer between community-level innovations and government policy?

Strengthening the Social Innovation Ecosystem in Challenging Times

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by Migration Policy Institute on April 1st, 2022

In this session, MPI's Meghan Benton led a conversation between Brian Ssebunya, the Economic Recovery and Development Senior Technical Advisor at International Rescue Committee;  Awmaima Amrayaf, DLA Piper's Pro Bono Legal Officer and Coordinator of ‘Know Your Rights’ program; and Asma Naimi from Esade Business School on the following questions:

  • How can we maximise the contribution of social-innovation models and players to advance refugee and migrant inclusion, as Europe and North America re-emerge from crisis?
  • How can promising innovations for inclusion leave their "comfort zone" and reach underserved places and groups where the challenges are tougher, but where the returns are potentially greater
  • What has been the private sector’s contribution to countering refugee and migrant vulnerability during the COVID-19 crisis—as an investor, employer, and knowledge provider? What opportunities exist to strengthen private-sector involvement—not just in kickstarting new solutions to inclusion, but in consolidating them and making them sustainable?
  • Talking about "inclusive recovery": What does the COVID-19 emergency tell us about the role of refugee and migrant entrepreneurs within social innovation ecosystems? What should programs supporting inclusive and diverse social entrepreneurship look like?

A Tribute to the Life of Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou

This event celebrated the remarkable legacy of MPI's first president and MPI Europe's founder, Demetrios G. Papademetriou. One of the world's pre-eminent scholars and lecturers on international migration, he developed a rich body of scholarship shared in more than 275 books, research reports, articles, and other publications. He also advised numerous governments, international organizations, civil-society groups, and philanthropic organizations around the world on immigration and immigrant integration issues.

Read the event program and select writings from Dr. Papademetriou
Read MPI's press release on his passing.
For his obituary or to leave any memories for his family, click here.
Read a collection of tributes to his life and legacy.
Listen to his thoughts on this World of Migration podcast episode.

Speakers: 

Sir Trevor Phillips, OBE, Co-Founder, Webber Phillips Ltd.; former Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission, England, Scotland, and Wales; Founding Member, MPI Transatlantic Council on Migration

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI; former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

Ulrich Weinbrenner, Director-General for Migration, Refugees, and Return Policy, Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, Federal Republic of Germany

Michael Fix, Senior Fellow and former President, MPI

Gustavo Mohar, MPI Board Member; former Under Secretary for Migration, Population, and Religious Affairs, Ministry of Governance, Government of Mexico

Brenda Dann Messier, Senior Advisor, Education Strategy Group; former Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education

Malcolm Brown, MPI Board Member; former Deputy Minister of Public Safety; former Executive Vice President, Canada Border Services Agency, Government of Canada

Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director, America's Voice

Moderator: 

Andrew Selee, President, MPI

Understanding Drivers of Irregular Migration from Guatemala

Posted in International Migration, Migration in Mexico and Central America by Migration Policy Institute on March 18th, 2022

This event was in Spanish with English interpretation.  This is the English interpretation. 

Irregular migration from Guatemala to the United States has accelerated dramatically in recent years, much of it from the Western Highlands, a region that is among the poorest and most rural in the country. The remittances resulting from migration have been a crucial lifeline in supporting the region through the COVID-19 pandemic, almost equaling total exports in 2020.

A critical first step toward developing alternatives to irregular migration is to understand the factors that drive people to leave, including the underlying causes and the immediate triggers. The Migration Policy Institute and the Guatemalan nongovernmental organization Asociación Pop No’j undertook a study examining the patterns and drivers of emigration from Huehuetenango, one of the country’s top migrant-sending areas in the Western Highlands. The researchers also assessed potential strategies to address push factors and create alternatives to irregular migration.

This report release event features discussion on  changing migration patterns from Guatemala, along with how policymakers and development practitioners can help create livelihood options and address other drivers of migration, as well as expanding legal pathways for circular migration. The conversation also explores broader lessons for policy approaches in both sending and receiving countries that, over time, could help better manage migration and provide alternatives to emigration.

 

Comprendiendo los factores que impulsan la migración irregular desde Guatemala (Audio - no interpretation)

Posted in International Migration, Migration in Mexico and Central America by Migration Policy Institute on March 17th, 2022

En los últimos años, la migración irregular de Guatemala a los Estados Unidos se ha acelerado drásticamente—particularmente aquella que proviene del altiplano occidental, una de las regiones más pobres y rurales del país. Las remesas han sido un salvavidas esencial para la región durante la pandemia de COVID-19, al casi igualar el total de las exportaciones en 2020.

Un paso fundamental para desarrollar alternativas a la migración irregular es comprender los factores que impulsan a las personas a salir, incluidas las causas subyacentes y los desencadenantes inmediatos. El Instituto de Políticas Migratorias y la organización no gubernamental guatemalteca, Asociación Pop No'j, llevaron a cabo un estudio en el que examinaron los patrones y los factores que impulsan la emigración desde Huehuetenango, una de las principales regiones de origen de migrantes en el altiplano occidental guatemalteco. Los investigadores también evaluaron posibles estrategias para atender los factores que impulsan la emigración y crear alternativas a la migración irregular.

En este evento de presentación del informe, los ponentes hablan sobre los cambios en los patrones de migración desde Guatemala, así como de la forma en que los formuladores de políticas públicas y los profesionales del desarrollo pueden ayudar a crear opciones de subsistencia para las personas, atender los factores que impulsan la emigración y ampliar las vías legales para la migración circular. La conversación también explora lecciones más amplias desde una perspectiva de política pública —tanto en los países de origen como en los de destino— que, con el tiempo, podrían ayudar a gestionar mejor la migración y ofrecer alternativas a la emigración.

Working Towards a More Gender-Responsive Reintegration Process for Returned Migrants

Posted in Migration and Development, International Migration by Migration Policy Institute on February 16th, 2022

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) calls for more gender-responsive return and reintegration programs. Yet many foundational questions remain unexamined, including how the migration experiences of women* affect their reintegration and the communities to which they return.

In the three years since the GCM was adopted, international organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have released research on gender and reintegration, encouraging a closer examination of these dynamics. Implementing partners involved in reintegration have also become more sensitive to gender dynamics and the particular challenges faced by women. Some have trained their teams to better identify gender issues and developed initiatives aimed more specifically at helping female returnees during the reintegration process. Finally, actors in the field acknowledge that the monitoring and evaluation of reintegration projects requires special attention to gender dynamics, for example the collection of gender-disaggregated data.

Yet despite these steps, much work remains to operationalize a more gender-responsive approach to reintegration programs. Cooperation between countries of origin and destination under the auspice of the GCM offers an opportunity to elevate this issue’s priority on the international agenda.

Held during Migration Week hosted by the United Nations Network on Migration, this webinar features policymakers and practitioners from Africa, Asia, and Europe in a conversation reflecting on the progress made in the past three years to better integrate gender into reintegration programs for returned migrants, ongoing challenges, and how the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in May offers a critical moment to promote good practices.

This webinar is part of a research partnership between MPI and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ), supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: A Note of Caution about Exaggerating the Climate-Migration Link

Concerns that large amounts of people will be displaced by climate change and head to wealthy countries in North America and Europe are often misplaced, according to migration scholar Hein de Haas. These types of narratives can tap into anti-immigrant sentiments, allow governments to avoid responsibility for their own failures, and may overlook the large numbers of people forced to remain in place amid environmental disaster, he argues in this episode. 

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: When Climate Change Comes to Refugee Settings

Posted in Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Response, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on December 10th, 2021

Environmental disasters can force people out of their homes and communities, complicating responses to ongoing humanitarian protection efforts. As a result, many humanitarian organizations have started paying attention to the impacts of climate change for multiple aspects of their refugee protection work. For this episode, we speak with Joan Rosenhauer, the executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, about how natural disasters and other environmental harms affect her organization’s work and its faith-based mission.

SI4RI Conference: Refugee and Migrant Inclusion in Smaller and Rural Communities

Posted in Immigrant Integration, International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by Migration Policy Institute on December 10th, 2021

MPI Europe Policy Analyst Liam Patuzzi moderated a breakout session where David Campbell, President, Jupia Consultants Inc.; Andrea Soler Eslava, Senior Rural Integration Project Manager, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC); Danielle Gluns, Head of the Research and Transfer Office for Migration Policy, University of Hildesheim; Khmlin Haj Mohamad, Regional Refugee Ambassador, SHARE SIRA project (Expanding Social Orientation & Integration for Newcomers in Rural Areas in Europe); and Maher Dahdal, Regional Refugee Ambassador, SHARE SIRA project, discussed the following topics:

  • As smaller towns and rural areas have stepped up their efforts to welcome refugees and migrants in recent years, what can we learn about these communities’ resources and limitations in promoting social inclusion and cohesion? What new bottlenecks has the COVID-19 pandemic generated?
  • What does social innovation for inclusion look like in rural areas, and what conditions does it need to develop? How is it linked with other trends shaping the future of small and rural communities—such as demographics, infrastructural, and environmental ones?
  • How can small communities successfully transfer and adapt innovative practices that originated in larger cities? At the same time, how can they nurture ‘home-grown’ innovations specifically tailored to their context(s)?

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