I'm preparing a booklet to introduce pilot projects on immigration and integration in the municipality of Akranes, Iceland The projects are based on a trans sector approach (national/local authorities and civil society) shared responsibilities,  collaboration and post-modern theories about culture and society.

I've put toghether this list of statements bout integration and would value your comments.

  1. Integration into a new and sometimes alien society is a complex process that touches the whole world of the person involved and it takes place in all layers of the society in question.
  2. Integration is about people; their dreams, hopes, desires, talents, possibilites and dignity.
  3. Integration is about opening doors and maximizing new comers potentials to use agency and autonomy to develop a healthy identity and a good life in a new context.  
  4. Integration is about individual rights to exercise once agency and develop once identity and duties to comply with national laws and universal values.   
  5. Integration is founded on reciprocal interaction and demands dialogue and active citizenship. 
  6. Integration is a two way process, and the hybrid society that evolves is a matter of healthy democratic change.
  7. Integration needs to be woven into all fabrics of society and reflected in every aspect of interaction.
  8. Integration, and the extent to which it is successfully implemented in a society, is a measure of human rights, democracy and social cohesion in that society.
  9. Integration is not about promoting group rights and cultural diversity for diversities sake but securing access to society and promoting individual freedom to choose once cultural/religious/personal identity.
  10. Integration is about respecting diversity and simultaneously taking on the challenges that follow and turning them into assets and valuable resources. 

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Comment by Anna Lára Steindal on February 11, 2013 at 9:57am

Thank you Zewdu - I agree with. It is a bout finding some some sort of a common ground and work from there. 

Comment by Zewdu Mengesha Bashahider on February 11, 2013 at 9:38am

Hello Anna, Integration is a very broad thing as you clearly state down but I fell that when we are talking about integration we are saying that the coming together and working together a certain group by having and considering the needs of every aspect of that group member who want to work that thing in common. 

Comment by Anna Lára Steindal on February 9, 2013 at 10:03pm

Cheers Silvana. Yes - the points are supposed to sum up the ideological framework of our projects and presupposes knowledge and some insights into the issue - or further explanation. Thanks - I appreciate your help :-)

Comment by Silvana M. Pellegrini Adam on February 9, 2013 at 7:26pm

Yes Anna - I like the sentence "Integration is founded on reciprocal interaction and demands dialogue and active citizenship."

However, it is important understanding the concept of active citizenship. But as with all your other points it as you know it will require further explanation either in writing or verbal to the parties involved.

You are welcome to come back with questions if you need. I will be happy to help you.

Good luck with your work :-)

Comment by Alpha koroma on February 9, 2013 at 2:31pm
O yes,is true my dear keep on spreading the teaching.
Comment by Anna Lára Steindal on February 9, 2013 at 9:18am

Hi again Silvana. Do you feel that this captures what you were suggesting: Integration is founded on reciprocal interaction and demands dialogue and active citizenship.

I slightly changed the order of the statements as well, because I feel that this is perhaps the most important thing and 6, 7, and 8 are further clarifications. Thanks again, for your comment :-) 

Comment by Silvana M. Pellegrini Adam on February 9, 2013 at 7:43am

You´re welcome Anna.

Comment by Anna Lára Steindal on February 8, 2013 at 4:38pm

Thank you very much Silvana. This is a very important point and I will find a way to include it. 

Comment by Silvana M. Pellegrini Adam on February 8, 2013 at 3:59pm

 Hello Anna,

I live in Denmark and have worked for many years with intercultural communication, interfaith and integration. I miss something in your list for a person to be successful  integrated in a new country, and that is "Active citizenship" - The concept of citizenship refers to a philosophy on the role of the individual in society and the environment. It relates to - and is a further development of the classic concept of democracy . In a citizenship-oriented society, there is an open dialogue on the development of society. Citizenship can be seen as an alternative to market and user democracy expressing itself through representation, such as parental participation in school boards or volunteering in sportorganisations and being active and interested in meeting the new society.
Active citizenship is a broader term that comes to actively participate in and take responsibility for the society we live in.

When asylum seekers / integrationpersons are introduced to active citizenship the motivation rise because they meet the people in the society, the educationsystem, jobsearching or participate in organizational work  in weekends. My experience is that people actively like this process and quicker learn the language, culture, norms, rules and citizenship forms that end up motivate them to stay in the country and to adapt to a foreign culture - instead of using all the time to longing for the homeland. It also causes healthier immigrants with not so many psychosomatic symptoms because they feel that they are welcome, are getting the right helpand learning a kind of "self-help" but not at least also are able to contribute to the new society and a path to self-esteem.

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