We are open!
Germany is an immigration country; migration is normal here. German society owes its diversity to immigration. What’s required now is wide-ranging commitment – politically, in the workplace, in clubs and associations and at local neighbourhood level – to create a climate of welcome for those that migrate to Germany, and enable them to feel at ease.
This is where the “Yes we’re open!” travelling exhibition fits in: it has been a lively presentation of the stories and experiences of people from all sorts of backgrounds contributing to a successful community. Take, for example, Samuel Jorge Goda Asebey from Bolivia, currently taking his Master’s in renewable energies at Oldenburg University, who intends to stay and find work in Germany after university. Or Everlyne Krünes, a qualified accountant from Kenya whose qualifications were not recognized in Germany, so she had a really tough time in the labour market – until 2012, when the Federal Recognition Act came into force and the Chamber of Commerce finally recognized Everlyne’s qualifications.
A visit to the exhibition introduced to the many facets of diversity in Germany, such as the wide variety of international cuisine on offer, or the colourful youth culture. But the exhibition also pointed out integration issues that are still very much “under construction” such as the difficulties faced by young people with a migrant background when looking for vocational training or apprenticeships.
The Integration Summit of 2006 was the first of many regular meetings between politicians and citizens to discuss and shape Germany’s policy of integration. Together, they agree on the ways and means of ensuring that everyone in Germany has equal opportunities for participating in all that society has to offer, regardless of whether they have a migrant background or not.
The travelling exhibition has been on tour throughout Germany for two years starting April 2013.