German Officials to Visit U.S. for American Perspective on Community Integration and Refugee Resettlement
Professional exchange program to bring together local integration practitioners from 9 German and U.S. cities to share best practices
Apr. 14, 2017 / PRZen / WASHINGTON -- Twenty-five German integration professionals and public officials will travel to the United States, from April 30 to May 9, to learn firsthand how American cities approach community integration and resettlement as part of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE).
The WCTE, which is now in its second year in 2017, is a professional exchange program for integration practitioners and leaders from the United States and Germany who work to integrate refugees and immigrants into their local communities. It annually brings together over 40 individuals from nine communities to expand their networks and share best practices and innovative approaches to integration initiatives at the local level.
This upcoming 10-day visit will provide individuals representing the German communities of Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Kreis Düren, Leipzig, and Münster with a wide-ranging look into how American cities welcome and integrate newcomers into their communities through a series of site visits and meetings with local governments, refugee resettlement agencies, interfaith groups, local schools and employers, among others.
The program kicks off in Washington, D.C. where the delegation will take part in meetings designed to provide a national perspective on issues of refugee resettlement and U.S. immigration policy. The group will then travel in three cohorts to Detroit, Nashville, and Salt Lake City before convening together in Los Angeles. In each city, the German delegates will have opportunities to meet with their U.S. counterparts and learn about the many different local approaches American communities apply to address the challenge of sustainably integrating newcomers.
"WCTE has really moved us forward," Dominic Heyn, Personal Assistant to the Mayor for Social Affairs in the City of Dresden and a 2016 WCTE participant, said of the experience. "Thanks to the useful workshops and deep insights into the outstanding work of our colleagues in the U.S., we have gained many new ideas and developed an ambitious Dresden Integration Plan."
In November, 16 U.S. professionals will conduct a return visit to Germany, beginning with meetings and visits in Berlin to provide an overview of German immigration policy, and then travel in cohorts to each of the five participating German communities. By the close of the program year, each 'team' of integration practitioners in both nations will develop action plans for their own communities, incorporating learning from the program and involving various organizations and individuals in their local integration infrastructures.
The Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange is administered by Cultural Vistas, in collaboration with Welcoming America and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America. The program is funded by the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), as well as by the U.S. Department of State, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and BMW Group.
This professional exchange is set to continue through 2018, incorporating new communities in both countries. For more information, please visit culturalvistas.org/wcte.
About Cultural Vistas Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. We develop international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Our programs empower people to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society. Cultural Vistas is headquartered in New York with regional offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin. Learn more at culturalvistas.org.
Welcoming America is a U.S.-based organization that helps nonprofit and government leaders transform their communities into more welcoming places where all people can contribute to their greatest potential. Through a network of over 150 municipal and nonprofit partners, Welcoming America promotes local policies and practices that help immigrants participate in civic life and create economically and socially vibrant communities. Since its launch in 2009, Welcoming America has become a recognized national leader on immigrant inclusion and welcome, honored by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and BMW Group through the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award. — Learn more at welcomingamerica.org.
The Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC and part of the German non-profit political foundation affiliated with the German Green Party. The Transatlantic Dialogue Program on Democracy and Social Policy of the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America brings together policymakers and civil society organizations from Europe and the U.S. to discuss developments that challenge our democracies and to develop solutions that promote a strong transatlantic partnership founded on inclusive democratic societies. — Learn more at us.boell.org.
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