The UK public has been showing heightened concern about immigration for more than a decade. By early 2016, polls showed it had surpassed the economy as the number one topic of concern to the British public and was a key driver behind the vote for Brexit. In other European countries, the level of concern over immigration has varied over time, but recently risen dramatically, particularly in those nations on the frontlines of the refugee crisis.
Part of the challenge of immigration is concern around identity and integration, and whether different groups and cultures can be expected to live harmoniously together. Although the current volume and nature of immigration differs between European countries, many of the political and practical challenges faced are similar: progressives in the UK and on the continent are considering how to fight back against the rise of right-wing populists and how best to integrate newcomers into their societies for the benefit of all.
This seminar will explore the progressive narratives available to best discuss integration and look at positive examples of integration from around Europe - considering what lessons can be learned for the British context. It is part of a 12-month research project on immigration and integration carried out by Policy Network and supported by the Barrow Cadbury Fund.
13:30 - Opening lunch
14:00 - Integration realities and perception: what can and should governments do to address divisive narratives?
- Shamit Saggar, professor of political science and public policy, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex (presenter)
- Andrew Geddes, professor of politics, University of Sheffield (respondent)
15:10 - Coffee break
15:30 - Integration initiatives and best practice
- Dilwar Hussain, chair, New Horizons in British Islam, and research fellow, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University (UK)
- Hélène Soupios-David, project manager, France Terre d'Asile (France)
- Lotta Dahlerus, expert in the Education and Labour Market Division, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sweden)
17:00 - Close
(The image is by Hernán Piñera, published under CC0 1.0)