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Society: Fostering Openness

Facing an aging demographic, Germany is reliant on immigration. If the country wishes to attract skilled workers and see its immigrants contribute more fully to society as fellow citizens, Germany must be an attractive destination for migrants.

Germany must therefore foster openness toward immigration and promote a Willkommenskultur or “welcoming culture.” Leveraging the benefits of migration requires both widespread acceptance among the domestic population and the willingness to integrate among migrants. Whether native to Germany or an immigrant, in order to ensure social cohesion, everyone living in Germany must demonstrate their commitment to the normative principles of an open society that are anchored in Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law. An open German society involves a demonstrated willingness to treat immigrants as equals and the removal of barriers to social inclusion. Ensuring broad-based acceptance of diversity in Germany is a must.

Diversity Monitor

In an effort to better understand how state institutions deal with diversity, the Bertelsmann Stiftung joined forces with the European Forum for Migration Studies to develop the Diversity Monitor. By developing key indicators designed to capture the state and handling of diversity – such as the acceptance of immigrants, naturalization and anti-discrimination practices, as well as the extent to which immigrant voices are represented in society and politics – the Diversity Monitor aims to provide insight to scientists and policy makers alike. Read more (in German)

What's the state of Germany's "welcoming culture"?

Germany is Europe’s top immigration country. Thousands come in the hope of work, a better life or safety. However, immigrants stay and contribute to a society and its prosperity over time only if they feel welcome. What do Germans currently think about immigrants and immigration? Kantar Emnid regularly conducts surveys on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung that answer these questions. Here are available the surveys for 2012 and 2015. The results of the current Survey (2017) can be found here (in German).

The Open Society Initiative

The Bertelsmann Stiftung – together with other members of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (Sachverständigenrat deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration; SVR) – supports the Open Society (Offene Gesellschaft) initiative, which emerged out of civil society in 2016. As a non-partisan civic measure, the initiative takes a stand for the body politic as defined in the Basic Law. The idea behind it is simple. “Rather than succumbing to the politics of fear, we should be defending our open society,” so the initiators of the Open Society, who are working to bring people together and pool the activities of organizations, alliances and individuals in the service of this goal. You can find more information on the Open Society initiative here (in German)

Action Fund for an Inclusive and Plural Society

Together with Citizens for Europe e.V., the Bertelsmann Stiftung is supervising the project “Action Fund for an Inclusive and Plural Society” in Germany. The project is designed to provide material and non-material support to activists and their grassroots organizations working locally to promote an open society and which represent the positive effects of cultural and ethnic diversity. By bringing these actors together, the action fund aims to improve cooperation among them while supporting the development and implementation of collective projects.

Interested actors can apply for support from the Action Fund for an Inclusive and Plural Society in a bidding process set to begin in summer 2018. More information will be provided on this site in early 2018.