#NoWallsButBridges Campaign White Paper Report on Migrant Sustainable Integration

Laura Iuliana
May 14 · 10 min read

“A grass root Public Policy International Awareness campaign”

B1-AKT //Migrant Integration Lab within the context of its global awareness campaign initiatives inspired by the Global Goals for Sustainable Development launched a grass root Public Policy/Citizens Diplomacy International awareness campaign, an open social media dialogue concerning migrant solutions for sustainable integration developed in the Migrant Integration Lab device (a global device for sustainable integration).

B1-AKT a collective of deep thinkers and thought sustainable leaders teamed up with Ecole des Ponts Business School and their full MBA young leaders. The campaign was designed under the shape of a social impact project (SIP) and tailored as to build Positive & Sustainable Social Impact.

École des Ponts Business School’s Full Time MBA is a flagship program for Innovation Management in a global economy. The program leverages the latest research and traditions of excellence in Innovation, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship.

The name of the campaign was “No Walls but Bridges”. The project had a predefined budget of absolute zero. This parameter applied to the planning and execution of all deliverables, assessment criteria, and control satisfactory factors (CSFs). All participants had to use social engineering and sustainable innovation in order to achieve strategic objectives.

The campaign aimed at:

  • Acknowledge the benefits of immigration by crafting a positive, new narrative on integration: Developing sustainable communities and intercultural dialogue
  • Crafting a positive narrative on migration based on social, cultural and economical benefits deriving from it.
  • Inspire political engagement and active citizenship by bringing together, citizens, civic societies, migrants and refugees, public & private sector, international organizations, Academia and media around the globe into a dialogue on the problems and sustainable solutions on Migration Crisis developed in “Migrant Integration Lab”.
  • Building social impact

The project also aimed to identify the impacts of government migration policy and communication, and the interaction with public debate and activism. One of the project’s targets was encourage opinion leaders and political ones to act for a sustainable process of integration.

We truly believe that addressing the socio-economic development of local communities, providing sustainable solutions and training paths conducive to effective entrepreneurial projects or employment creates an environment that offers real possibilities for both receiving communities and migrants.

Project Strategic Context: Migration crisis / The rise of extremism and populism

Negative public attitude towards migration and migrant related issue, the rise of extremism and populism as well as political disengagement regarding the migration crisis can lead to public antagonism towards migration. These negative views risk jeopardizing efforts to adapt migration policies to the new economic and demographic challenges facing many countries.

Strategic Needs:

· Implementing sustainable solutions for migrants’ holistic integration.

· Implementing transnational frameworks that are giving policymakers a new lens with which to develop innovative public programs, and public-private partnerships across borders.

The implementation of sustainable solutions regarding migration issues demand an international vision and a transnational framework of collaboration.

The challenges are not only economic but also cultural. The public must be encouraged to understand that newcomers also bring fresh demand and so spur growth. Such an exercise requires determination and vision, good arguments backed by facts, and much better communication. Integration requires a ‘ whole of society’ approach.

Migrants swell the workforce and help to expand the overall economy, but it’s a message that has gained little traction with public opinion. It is up to governments and civil society leaders to hammer home this message.

Vision: Migration is a chance for our societies to reach their full potential.

Transformational and systemic change starts with a compelling idea that can transform a community by engaging and empowering community members. Change also requires the active participation of institutions and policymakers.

The world’s citizens are inhabiting and tracing pathways across a globe that is in accelerated motion –ideas, things, people are all in endless movement. Sometimes they are willing adventurers and explorers but all too often people and families are displaced by turmoil, aggression and environmental disasters.

Migration is a chance for our societies to reach their full potential. Displaced people who arrive in Europe can become innovating entrepreneurs, change makers in a position to act, create value and to be a source of innovation for host societies. Our campaign was based on transnational frameworks that are giving policymakers a new lens with which to develop innovative public programs, and public-private partnerships across borders.

Our society’s response to the movement of people has often been lacking in compassion. Hope for a better future has sometimes been replaced by despair. Open doors have sometimes been harshly closed. To try and address this imbalance, “NoWallsButBridges Campaign” was born. It supports the daring idea to build societies with greater equality, sustainability and solidarity.

Values

Diversity enriches every society and contributes to social cohesion — something that is all too often taken for granted. Societies with large migrant populations are in many ways translocal and transnational themselves, already connected to many parts of the world through migrant and diasporic practices and networks.

Our work is based on the values of democracy, diversity, trust, freedom and solidarity. These values are the cornerstones of our societies and of the interdependence between countries in Europe. Underneath all of this lies the power of sustainability & communication.

Sustainability//Social Entrepreneurship // Global Citizenship//Intercultural Dialogue//Hybrid Identities //Transnationality//Common Good

The idea of the campaign was based on:

• Breaking down negative stereotypes and improve public perception of migrants and ethnic minorities and the phenomenon of migration

• Giving citizens the opportunity to discover, learn from and understand the values and cultures of refugees and migrants and — in the process rediscover and enrich their own.

• Helping refugees and migrants socialise and express themselves, fostering respect and understanding for diversity, intercultural and civic competencies, democratic values and citizenship.

• Cultivating a thriving ecosystem for social innovation and creating sustainable communities. This ecosystem, its members and the collective whole, creates more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive communities.

  • Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes migration as a core development consideration — marking the first time that migration is explicitly integrated into the global development agenda. Implementation of the SDGs provides an opportunity to protect and empower mobile populations to fulfil their development potential and benefit individuals, communities and countries around the world

The Spirit and Core philosophy of the campaign is based on Newton’s quote “We build too many walls and not enough bridges”.

When we “build bridges” we are literally building a better life. When we build walls, we are stagnating our own growth and as Joseph F. Newton said, “People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.”

#NoWallsButBridges’s hashtag arised from both the name of Ecole des Ponts (ponts = bridges in English) and the concept of removing “boarders” and “walls”, underlining the transnational character of the campaign and enabling the articulatory process to increasingly exceed the borders of the nation-state.

One of the themes of the campaign concerning identity renewal was inspired by B1-AKT as to exemplify innovative ways to expand mutual understanding, intellectual advancement, collaborative intelligence, empathy and respect in our society.

The result

A Unique Transnational “Bridge” was built between Policy Makers, Governements, Institutions, Business schools, Civil Society members, Migrants, Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Social Entrepreneurs, Media Representatives.

The Recommendations

The implemented work, the awareness campaign and the practical results of MIL’s implementation in 7 countries leads us to make the following recommendations for turning the refugee and migrant crisis to economic, cultural and political advantage:

1. Change the public and politic perception on Newcomers and integration: Acknowledge the benefits of immigration by crafting a positive, new narrative on integration.

2. View Migration as a chance for Countries and Europe‘s economic growth, territory revitalization.

3. Rebuild Trust and redefine a hybrid identity: Developing sustainable communities and intercultural dialogue via social cohesion and open dialogue tools

4. Create A Global Ecosystem regrouping National and International actors, Stakeholders, Institutions working on Sustainable integration issues

5. Provide Sustainable Frameworks to strengthen communities

6. Permit rapid access to basic needs, housing and care services

7. Integrate newcomers sustainably and holistically, based on 4 simultaneous pillars via Labs:

· Linguistical thinking and communication

· Economic integration

· Civism and citizenship

· Intercultural dialogue

8. In order to prevent the rejection of integration policies and to combat the rise of extremism, the integration of migrants and their access to employment must not take place outside the integration of specific concerned, national groups.

9. Develop Training, Skills and Opportunities: Enhancement of social innovation and capitalizing on newcomers’ talent by strengthen entrepreneurial education and training.

10. Provide dialogic teaching, tailored services and centered learning sessions for Newcomers & vulnerable groups

11. Build economic growth and territorial revitalization via economic and entrepreneurial activities linked to territorial needs

12. Develop a daring, innovative and distinctive political vision for common and better future-build sustainable policy making based on cooperation and transnational frameworks, mainly via the creation of a 3 steps efficient & holistic process of sustainable integration:

· Step One: A global process of integration

· Step Two: A national public policy

o Professionalizing and training the main stakeholders and integration facilitators.

o Steering the integration ecosystem for a better coordination of actions & stakeholders

· Step Three: An international Network as to permit good practices exchange and enable transnational cooperation (fostering agile, adaptive and modern processes that lead to social mobility and cohesion)

13. Beyond Open Government : The Entrepreneurial State & Government. Public policies, must be renewed and include a process and an entrepreneurial approach to action, based on common and republican values.

Responding Activism and defining Transnational Citizenship

Nowadays, the representativeness and credibility of the political and leadership classes is questioned (yellow vests, black Blocks, populism). The initiatives for the evolution of our societies can only be citizens initiatives. The future of politics is a citizenship. Citizenship is the consciousness of the other, of others, of a single world and is based on a desire for common construction.

The citizenship to be created, as facing populist movements or violent destruction of our societies, requires:

  • The sharing of collective values that are simple to (re)discover or develop, such as that of secularism developed in France or proposed by Yuval Noah Harari, which guarantees tolerance, respect, universality, freedom and equality.
  • A willingness to act, to contribute to the evolution of society, to practice solidarity and brotherhood.
  • The implementation of concrete actions enabling everyone to carry out projects and contribute to the Society, either independently or in projects (associative, entrepreneurial, cultural, territorial, projects etc.)
  • The development of autonomy, responsibility, individual and collective citizenship.

The question of the integration of migrants must be raised to move to that of the construction of “our Society”. If migrants must learn to communicate, to respect citizenship, to develop civility and to integrate the values of the society in which they arrive, to achieve their integration through diligent work and projects (there are effective integration devices , cf Migrant Integration Lab), we must also find values that bring us all together, develop common projects, learn together what solidarity really means, develop our own citizenship, the willingness to act, achieve constructive criticism and autonomy.

By building this type of campaigns, improved social cohesion and wider solidarity can arise by making people work together towards a shared future trough creating strong, long-lasting basis for interaction, dialogue between migrants and members of receiving communities.

The campaign has showed that it can challenge prevailing prejudices and build bridges, against all the odds by enabling citizens, newcomers and institutions to practice collaborative ways of living together.

Key words:

  • Strengthening civil society
  • Building international networks
  • Moving communities
  • Prioritising sustainability
  • Social impact

The project also fostered good practice exchange and cooperation between our partners and ecosystem by strengthening their networks and transcultural skills, extends their teaching skills and knowledge on methods development and empowers their capacities in raising empathy and awareness for migrants and their realities in Europe and beyond.

Laura Iuliana

Written by

VISIONARY ENTREPRENEUR. GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE LEADER. CHANGE MAKER.

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