The Heinrich Böll Foundation North America is pleased to announce the nine communities that will participate in our 2017 Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange!
We are proud to once again be hosting the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange and remain deeply committed to the values of inclusivity and diversity that it represents. Along with our partners, Cultural Vistas and Welcoming America, we share a common vision that immigrants and refugees contribute to the rich fabric of our societies and our democracies, and we are proud to continue our work with this next cohort of inspiring communities in the US and Germany.
The following cities and counties will be participating from the US:
- Los Angeles
- Salt Lake City
And from Germany:
- The county of Düren
The Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE) is a unique opportunity for local integration practitioners in Germany and the U.S. to share promising approaches to welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into their communities. While immigration and asylum policy is set at the national level, we know that real integration happens locally, in city schools, job centers, religious institutions and local businesses. That’s why the WCTE focuses on the men and women at the city-level for whom refugee and immigrant integration is part of their daily work. WCTE participants learn important new skills around issues such as community engagement and rapid response communications, refugee outreach, local policy development, evaluation, and many other areas critical for creating a welcoming community where all members can thrive. The program aims to build the capacity of local integration practitioners and, through them, strengthen the welcoming infrastructure of the communities in which they work.
Each year, the program brings together 25 Germans and 16 Americans for site visits, workshops, and the creation of local action plans to improve the integration processes in their communities. This April, German participants will travel to Washington, DC to participate in meetings on US federal refugee resettlement and immigration policy. They will then conduct site visits in the participating US communities, attending meetings with local partners to discuss local adaptations to federal policy, best practices for outreach to receiving communities, and successful approaches to refugee and immigrant integration. In November, US participants will conduct a return visit to Germany, beginning with an overview of federal immigrant integration policy in Berlin and then traveling to the local partner cities. By the close of the program, each participating community will draft a community action plan that applies the best practices and innovations of the integration work they witnessed to their home community. They will also become part of the WCTE Alumni Network and have access to an ongoing transatlantic exchange of resources and best practices.