SIMN’s V Forum, titled “Integration: Towards a Peaceful and Democratic Coexistence”, was held on June 11 and 12 in Berlin, Germany, at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung headquarters. SIMN has held such forums annually since 2009, when the first forum was developed and held in Antigua, Guatemala. These meetings have been key to stimulating high level dialogue and to defining concrete actions within the multifaceted links between migration and pacific coexistence between host communities and migrants.
Each Forum has had a thematic approach that coordinates with current migration challenges and the corresponding measures required to meet these challenges. The main objectives of V Forum were to promote dialogue between social and political actors, focusing on the necessity of disintegration of the physical and political barriers between people, as well as the definition of new policies centering on migrants’ integration in local communities from a democratic and cultural perspective. For this reason, the fifth Forum was held in Berlin, during the celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which divided the city into two parts: east and west. Berlin and its celebration of this monumental event represents an eagerness towards new democracy prospects and peaceful international coexistence.
This Forum, like previous forums, brought together representatives from the United Nations, international governments, and civil society organizations, highlighting in particular the presence of: German parliament members, the Population Sub-Secretary, the Mexican Ambassador, consular representatives from different countries, the former director of UN Department of Demography, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva, the Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, the Commissioner of Migration Issues for the Mayor of New York, the directors of Misioneros, Misioneras (a missionary group), the directors and staff of the Scalabrinian Lay People Mission and directors from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. In their deliberations, participants discussed the today’s human mobility challenges and identified strategic, concrete actions to ensure recognition and protection of the dignity and rights of migrants and their families, including major advances and setbacks in the promotion of integration policies for migrants and overcoming discrimination and social exclusion.
The event showed a dynamic of participation and teamwork, where panelists presented on main issues and afterward, all participants were able discuss future concrete actions to solve the problems presented by the panelists. From global governance on migration’s perspective, as written in the Forum’s agenda, participants were able to achieve defined measures which will work synergistically together to promote comprehensive policies and programs, destroying the walls of indifference and localism.
“It was two days of intense work, where we were able, on one hand, to deepen the analysis of the forced migration’s main factors and consequences, including such problems as discrimination, marginalization and violence that many suffer; on the other hand, we were able to define concrete actions to strengthen collaboration between civil society and governments to promote political integration of migrants”.
Father Leonir Chiarello, Executive Director of SIMN.