Welcoming America

Christina Pope

Condividiamo contributo scritto da Christina Pope, di Welcoming America dopo l’International Forum on Reception and Integration of Refugees in the European Union, ospitato dal Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia e dal Comune di Barcelona.
Tra gli esempi di buone pratiche a cui si fa riferimento figura il progetto Mediterranean Hope della FCEI. Buona lettura.


This gathering of government and community leaders, practitioners, and policymakers was held to exchange ideas and best practices about integration, inclusion, and the role of local governments and NGOs in migration policy at a time when more people are displaced since World War II.

We heard from an impressive group of speakers who described an outpouring of support for those arriving from Syria through efforts undertaken by local governments, community institutions, and individuals.

Oriol Amorós, Catalonia’s Secretary General for Equality, Immigration, and Citizenship, stressed that reception and integration happen at the local level – a familiar theme to those working locally in the United States.

Indeed, the day was filled with examples of European cities that have laid out the welcome mat, creating initiatives large and small to address the immediate needs of newcomers and help them integrate within their new communities.

I was honored to join an NGO best-practice panel, where I was floored by the scope of efforts of projects such as Mediterranean Hope, which among other services, simply provides internet access so asylum-seekers can speak with their families in Syria for the first time after journeying to the island of Lampedusa, Italy.

Many cities are engaging receiving communities (those residents who have lived in a community for some time) to ensure that newcomers are arriving to fertile soil– that is, to fight discrimination and help build mutual understanding and respect between long-term residents and new neighbors as demographic change occurs.