“Migration is part of our future as it has belonged to the history of mankind”

Under the title “Society without / with immigration without / with future” the XXI edition of the Bocholter Forum took place from 01.-03. February 2019 at the academy Klausenhof in Hamminkeln.

The Bocholt Forum has been organized since 1991 by the AEF – Spanische Weiterbildungsakademie e.V. together with the State Agency for Political Education North Rhine-Westphalia – and later also with the State Integration Council. Representatives of migrant organizations, research and administration come together here as a kind of trademark of the forum.

On the part of the host, Vicente Riesgo, president of the AEF – Spanische Weiterbildungsakademie e.V., continues to promote the involvement of migrant organizations in communicating democratic values and attitudes, as they have direct access to the target group and can also provide political education in their native languages. “Migration is part of Germany’s future as it belongs to the history of humanity,” emphasizes Riesgo, who has been involved in the organization of the forum since the beginning.

In the three-day event, participants were able to benefit from several contributions about integration and Germany as an immigration country. In addition, there were various working groups on topics such as multilingualism and cultural identity, political participation in the receiving society or recognition of foreign degrees in Germany.

This last working group has been moderated by Artur Kalnins, project manager and full time educational staff member of the AEF – Spanische Weiterbildungsakademie e.V. under the title “Structural Selection Mechanism in the Labor Market”. In light of the demographic change and the ever-increasing shortage of high-skilled workers, this was undoubtedly one of the most important topics of the this year’s edition of the Bocholter Forum.

“The reality is this: the skills shortage and demographic change is there, is getting more and more present, but it still does not hurt properly. Germany is world champion in preventing work: at present, a person goes through a very long process until he can be socialized through work in German society: from the arrival to the end of the process, until the integration course and the linguistic level exist, the person is served. The person needs a very long time to integrate into the labor market. In Germany, migrants need a lot of time to qualify for employment and this can not afford a society in the long run”, summarized Dr. Kalnins at the presentation of the results of this working group to conclude.

Vicente Riego, president of the AEF, also recommended better opportunities for migrants: “In these timees, many opportunities are being lost: we try to achieve full recognition, full adaptation to German academic or professional degrees, which means many qualified people leave frustrated. On the other hand, those who have no choice but to stay here often remain. We need a fundamental change of mentality here. Laws can not manage, but shape, migration. ”

A democratic society should tolerate being different; it needs it, in order to continue being democratically open. The children of migrants should be much more publicly perceived with the potential of their otherness, especially language and aspects of their own culture. Thus, the German society can only win”, said Vicente Riesgo, who has worked several times as a consultant at integration summits in the Federal Chancellery.

In the closing session, Carmen Teixeira, Head of the Civic Education Center, reiterated the interest of her organization in establishing a more active role in communicating democratic values among migrants. The Bocholter Forum offers a unique platform from which important and innovative impulses for political education can be derived time and again.

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