Successfully integrate refugees

Type - Swarm Intelligence

Sector - Social Cohesion

Impact - Motivates

„Integration requires encounters on equal terms“  

The Big Idea

Over 10,000 refugees have settled in Munich since the first wave of people started arriving in Germany in 2015. The „Masterplan for the Integration of Refugees“ aims to coordinate areas of activity offered by the city to serve and support refugees.

As part of the one of the Working Groups (HF 1) working to develop the Masterplan, World Café Europe was requested by the Office for Intercultural Affairs of Munich’s Department of Social Services and REGSAM (a citywide network for social work) to design a large scale dialogue to explore opportunities to effectively foster social participation throughout Munich and its neighborhoods.

Who was in the room?

The dialogue „All together with one another“ took place with 200 participants in the historic Altes Rathaus in the center of Munich. Participants represented a broad spectrum of diverse institutions, civil society and citizens who provide support to and cooperate with Munich’s refugees. More than than 50 refugees from the Near East, Southern Asia and Africa joined in the conversation.

What did the planners want to acheive?

The participatory World Café approach was chosen by the planning team to encourage the exchange of many diverse perspectives among the participants. The use of a Swarm Intelligence Café enabled the planners to benefit from the group’s diversity and support the emergence of a common understanding about integration efforts in Munich. The conversation was designed to explore how to successfully to foster a feeling of mutual belonging throughout the city and its neighborhoods. The impact of the exchanges among refugees and citizens is to motivate them to take an active role in activities which promote a truly diverse and friendly Munich.

What are the results and impact?

The analysis of the rich input from the participants provided insightful feedback about necessary changes in Munich’s current social environment as well as proposed ideas to actively foster integration in the city. Through their conversation with each other, the participants developed a common understanding of where the focus of activities should be directed to cultivate a well integrated Munich and tolerant city environment. Four thematic themes emerged:

  • a need to foster openness among all citizens

  • a desire to have informal settings to enable direct contact among refugees and Munich residents
  • the recognition of the importance of effective language offerings – both formal and informal - to foster cultural integration in Germany and
  • a need for improved information platforms (digital and analogue) for both refugees and citizens to encourage improved integration thgoughout Munich’s urban community.