The Camp Group conference “Migration and public space: best practices from civil society organization” took place on the 1st of June, bringing students of the Washington University St. Louis, civil society representatives, representatives of the local administration and national politics together to exchange best practices to increase the participation of migrants in the public sphere.
Prof Dr. Heather Cameron, founder and CEO of Camp Group gGmbH, invited all participants of the conference to actively engage in the discussion and exchange experiences. The aim was to find interdisciplinary and joined-up approaches to increasing participation of migrants in the public sphere. To achieve this goal best practices must be shared and transferred and synergies identified between an increasingly diverse spectrum of civil society organisations, administrative organs and political institutions.
Sharehouse Refugio and Transform e.V. hosted the conference and enriched discussion with their experiences in creating a lively, migration and integration-focused multi-use development in the heart of North Neukölln.
Participants took part in one of four working groups: exercise and sport; community building; environmental justice and sustainable neighborhoods; and transatlantic perspectives. Participants discussed social challenges and new forms of inclusive cohabitation in the public sphere, and developed next steps to facing these challenges together and sharing strategies and techniques that have worked well for specific organisations in the past. Transatlantic exchange about best practices was made possible by the representatives of the Washington University. The results of the workshops will be published by us in the coming weeks.
Dr. Gabriele Schlimper, CEO of the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband Berlin gave a stirring speech on the diversity of intercultural work and social work with migrants. She drew a clear connecting thread between the work of contemporary civil society organisations in Berlin and the settlement movement of Quakers and others in the same city destroyed by the second world war after 1945.
The conference enabled actors of diverse institutions and disciplines to exchange thoughts and ideas. We believe that only through this exchange is an integral approach possible, enabling increased participation of migrants. Furthermore, it is essential that the results of the exchange are publicly accessible. In this manner, Aaron Defort from Netzwerk Chancen rounded the conference off with a plea for civil society organisations and initiatives to work together to influence and stimulate public discourse.
We would like to thank all participants for their contributions and are looking forward to further exchange with each other to strengthen social impact and improve social participation for migrants and non-migrants in Berlin.