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Past Program

Mar 27 - Apr 01, 2007

Immigration and Inclusion: Rethinking National Identity

Session 440

Abstract

Never before in human history have such large numbers of people left their homes to go and live in a different country or continent as do so today. A small proportion of these human flows is driven by persecution or violence. Far larger numbers migrate in response to economic and demographic disparities between different parts of the world - especially (though by no means exclusively) between the industrialized global North and the underdeveloped or developing South. Wages, living standards and economic opportunities in the former far outstrip those in the latter, while birth rates have diverged in the opposite direction. There are thus very strong "pull" and "push" incentives for people to better themselves by migration.

 

Abundant research shows the benefits that migrants can bring to their new homelands - not only as laborers but as consumers, entrepreneurs and contributors to a more diverse and dynamic culture. But these benefits are not evenly distributed and often not appreciated by the pre-existing population, parts of which tend to see immigrants as a threat to their material interests, their security and their traditional way of life. In Europe especially, national and local governments were slow to grasp the need to develop strategies for integrating the new arrivals and their children into the host society, notably when the new are demarcated from the old by religion or skin color. Second- and third-generation migrants have grown up in ghettoes, often facing high rates of unemployment, relative poverty and crime, and regarded by their "indigenous" neighbors with a mixture of fear and contempt. Faced with a public backlash, governments have sought to limit or even halt further immigration, but have succeeded only in driving it partially underground, where undocumented migrants fall prey to smugglers, traffickers and unscrupulous employers.

 

This session will study different approaches and strategies for dealing with these problems adopted by countries with significant minority communities of recent immigrant origin, notably in North America and Western Europe. It will focus particularly on efforts to ensure that members of these communities enjoy the full rights and assume the full responsibilities of citizenship and are fully accepted as fellow-citizens by the rest of society. It will examine the cultural barriers and prejudices that impede such efforts, and ask questions about the meaning of national identity and the extent to which values and culture need to be shared by different communities living together within a democratic State. Participants will include representatives from government, business, academia, think-tanks, the media, NGOs and intergovernmental organizations. They will examine a variety of programs, policies and practices for integrating disparate communities, looking especially for examples that show clear signs of success, while taking due account of the widely different political, social and economic contexts in which such policies have been applied. The views and interests of countries of origin, as well as those of migrants themselves, will be fully represented.

 

The fee for this session is 3,000 EURO. The fee covers the cost of the program, accommodations, and meals.

Limited scholarship funding may be available for those who are unable to pay the full fee (i.e. from developing countries or NGOs). Participants seeking scholarship assistance must submit an application for financial aid to our admissions office.

 

NOTE: This session may be taken for Continuing Education credit. Offered in association with the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS), this conference is recognized by the Law Society of England and Wales, the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales, and the Netherlands Bar for Continuing Professional Development Credit (CPD), the states of New York, California, and Colorado under the approved jurisdictions rule, as well as West Virginia, New Hampshire and South Carolina for Continuing Legal Education Credit (CLE). In addition, due to CILS' recognized