On the topic of migration the key question for me is how we can help society to move through the stages of 1) co-existence; 2) integration; and finally through to 3) assimilation?  Should we question whether 'assimilation' is actually a desirable and/or achievable goal?  And how do we achieve these transitions without making existing citizens feel uncomfortable or threatened?  How do we engage the most disenfranchised citizens in our societies in this debate, and combat the power of mass media bias - which is often not based on facts? (as happened in the case of the UK 'Brexit' vote).  The UK Brexit vote, and the subsequent deep and passionate split in society it has caused, is a very clear warning to other nations if any of these questions are ignored or are not fully addressed.

Kerri Farnsworth – Managing Director, Kerri Farnsworth Associates, UK

From refugees that hail from war torn countries that are experiencing post traumatic stress, to immigrants fleeing economic insecurity, people are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Ideally the sanctuary country becomes a place where they can reach their potential and feel valued. One way to help them and the sanctuary country engage and interact with each other is through sharing meals in a social setting that pays respect to both cultures. Cultural competence is therefore, extremely important in developing policies, programs, and projects which foster assimilation, integration, economic viability, and ultimately sustainability. However cultural competence requires also that we understand the cultures where the newcomers come from and this includes indigenous arts, local crafts, diet and nutrition, sports, and of course religion.

Elizabeth Glenn – Retired-Deputy Director Neighbourhood Improvement, United States

From our perspective we are usually a transit point for refugees trying to get to Australia by boat. The history of trade and peoples movement basically between China and India over the centuries have meant that absorption and adaptation of many cultural, economic and political accommodation that makes contemporary Indonesia adopt a more ‘tolerant’ attitude towards people-movement. The scale of the refugee problem is intermittent and was still within the ‘carrying capacity’ of local communities, hence still manageable. However, there are ‘foreign’ – derived interpretation that has radicalized parts of society that has lower level of tolerance to ‘differences’ including accepting ‘foreign’ workers from China or the "Arabs" men that prowl for 'contract' wives in West Java. Generally given that the majority population can still 'absorb' the newcomers, be it temporary, the systems and sub-systems accommodates their presence, but because economically there is 'shared poverty' it doesn't make much sense for these transients to seek permanent presence in Indonesia.

Pingki Pangestu – Director PT Loka Mampang Indah Reality, Indonesia

Back to previous page