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Germany needs a fundamental change in perspective when it comes to integrating immigrants into society. Given the demographic shifts that are currently making themselves felt, integration is now an issue that impacts all aspects of life within the country. Attitudes that have until now associated immigrants with difficulties and problems must thus be replaced by a recognition of the potential that newcomers have to offer and the many ways that Germany benefits from diversity. It’s a pressing issue, since the country will need to welcome more immigrants in coming decades if it wants to remain economically and demographically viable. At the same time, however, the economic crisis is making the needed shift to a new mindset more difficult. Given current social tensions, the challenge is therefore to find ways of creating a new sense of cohesion among native-born Germans and immigrants while simultaneously promoting acceptance in the political and social spheres for greater levels of immigration.

Focus Areas

Integration and Communities

In terms of their future viability, integration is one of the most important challenges Germany's communities currently face. In addition to major metropolitan areas, where immigrants comprise some 30 percent of the overall population, rural regions also need to implement proactive approaches for helping people of different ethnic backgrounds live together in harmony. The Bertelsmann Stiftung publishes reference data and studies relating to the topic of integration and organizes events that focus on identifying successful integration policies. A workshop has also been developed for policymakers, public administrators and members of migrant communities. In addition, our Internet portal www.wegweiser-kommune.de offers information on exemplary integration policies as well as key data on specific communities.


European Union

As the European Union grows larger, the issue of managing migration and integration is becoming increasingly important. Since 1992 the Bertelsmann Stiftung has been developing a proposal for standardizing European immigration law. In order to bring new momentum to the integration agenda in Germany and Europe, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has joined with the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC to found the Transatlantic Council on Migration, which convenes to develop strategic proposals for innovative migration and integration policies.


Helping Immigrants Get Involved

The key to helping immigrants integrate is making sure they have adequate opportunity to participate in society. Above all, this means ensuring there is equal inclusion in the educational system and job market, as well as in civil society and politics. For such participation to be possible, immigrants must accept Germany’s basic laws and values. Together with German President Johannes Rau, the Bertelsmann Stiftung organized a national competition in 2002 to call attention to the importance of helping immigrants become involved in their communities. With its new Leadership Program for next-generation managers from migrant organizations, the foundation is helping create “bridge-builders” capable of helping others integrate.


Kooperationsveranstaltung mit der Böllstiftung

Die Rhetorik rund um den Begriff des Multikulturalismus rückte im Jahr 2010 in das Blickfeld der medialen Aufmerksamkeit, als prominente Köpfe der Regierungen in Frankreich, Deutschland und Großbritannien das Konzept des „Multikulturalismus“ als gescheitert erklärten. Unsicherheit entstand, ob die Politik des Multukulturalismus wirklich als gescheitert zu betrachten ist und wenn ja, welche Politikstrategie sie ersetzen sollte. Die Podiumsdiskussion „ Multicultural Politics: Success, Failure, and the Future“,die die Bertelsmann Stiftung in Kooperation mit der Böll Stiftung am 14. November 2012 in der Canadischen Botschaft durchführt, nimmt die traditionelle Bedeutung des Begriffes Multikulturalismus in den westlichen Staaten in den Blick. Welche verschiedenen Modelle des Multikulturalismus haben sich entwickelt und welche Auswirkungen auf den sozialen Zusammenhalt der jeweiligen Gesellschaft haben sie? Eine fundierte Diskussion soll die Debatte über Vielfalt, sozialen Zusammenhalt und Integration in Deutschland und Europa befördern. Einen Programmflyer finden Sie rechts als Download.

Schülerin mit Migrationshintergrund

Unsere Generation ZUkunft

Migration und Integration gehören zu den zentralen Themen unserer Zeit. Im Fokus stehen die mit Zuwanderung und kultureller Vielfalt verbundenen Themen und Herausforderungen: Bildung, Arbeitsmarktbeteiligung, Demographie, Sicherheit, gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt und das Verhältnis von Religion und Staat. Was bedeutet Integration? Was hält unsere Gesellschaft zusammen und wie können wir unsere gemeinsame Zukunft gestalten? Was verbindet und was trennt uns? Was macht unsere Kultur aus? Und was bedeutet eigentlich Zusammengehörigkeit?

Managing Diversity

Democracy can only function if its citizens subscribe to key values such as tolerance, civic engagement and to the common weal. Such values cannot be taken for granted, but must be promoted day in and day out. Together with a number of partners, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has therefore developed a series of educational programs designed to foster democratic values among the public. Given its growing pluralization and individualization, Germany's democracy needs structures that provide opportunities for social participation if it is to function properly. As philosopher Volker Gerhardt has said, "Participation is the fundamental principle of politics." Germany thus needs new ideas and solutions if it is to strengthen its democracy by helping its citizens get involved.


Fighting right-wing extremism

Immigration in Germany has long been a taboo topic, something that has helped promote xenophobia and right-wing extremism among the general population. Today, such attitudes are no longer to be found only among society's more marginalized members. Some 40 percent of Germans now agree with the statement that the country has become "non-German to a dangerous degree because of its many resident foreigners." Such sentiments strike at the heart of Germany's democracy and its social cohesion, and they demonstrate that right-wing extremism will remain a pressing problem for years to come. At the same time, right-wing extremism is not only a German problem, but one that has made itself felt throughout Europe. What can Germany learn from its European neighbors in this regard?


Related Projects

Contact Person
Ulrich Kober Ulrich Kober
+49 5241 81-81598
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