13 Oct. 2023 – Whole-COMM’s Policy Community Lab in Florence

Supporting newcomer integration in Europe’s small and medium-sized towns and rural areas

In the wake of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ as well as large-scale displacement from Ukraine, small- and medium- sized towns and rural areas (SMsTRAs) have been playing an increasing role in accommodating humanitarian migrants. Many of these localities often had less or no prior experience with migration compared to larger cities. The Whole-COMM research project, funded by the European Commission, has been investigating in SMsTRAs across Europe what shapes, affects, or enables the integration of post-2014 migrants.

Whole-COMM’s Policy Community Lab will convene key stakeholders from government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to share and discuss the research results and policy implications stemming from the Whole-COMM research project. Hosted at the European University Institute’s Migration Policy Centre, its aim is to share and develop innovative multilevel and multi-actor strategies that strengthen the integration of migrants and community cohesion in SMsTRAs.

This is an invitation-only event.


Florence, hosted by the Migration Policy Centre, EUI

09:00 – 09:15Welcome and introduction

Andrew Geddes | Director, Migration Policy Centre, EUI, Italy
Tiziana Caponio | Whole-COMM, Principal Investigator, Collegio Carlo Alberto & University of Turin, Italy
09:15 – 10:00Keynote

Ryyan Alshebl
| Mayor, Ostelsheim, Germany
10:00 – 10:30New approaches to migrant integration, policy-relevant research findings, and local integration policy indicators in focus

Tiziana Caponio | Collegio Carlo Alberto/University of Turin &Andrea Pettrachin | Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy
Basak Yavcan | Migration Policy Group, Belgium
10:30 – 11:00Coffee Break
11:00 – 11:45The importance of governance: From the regional to the local level

Maria Schiller | Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas | CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, Spain
Comment: Luca Barani | European Commission & Université libre de Bruxelles
11:45 – 12:30What facilitates and what hinders social interaction between newcomers in long-term residents? What shapes integration experiences?

Leila Hadj Abdou & Caitlin Katsiaficas | Migration Policy Centre, Italy Birgit Glorius | Technical University Chemnitz, Germany
Albert Kraler | Danube University Krems, Austria
Mans Lundstedt | Malmö University, Sweden
Irene Ponzo | FIERI, Italy
Comment: Rossella Nicoletti | Eurocities
12:30 – 13:30Lunch
13:30 – 14:15What fosters positive attitudes between locals and newcomers in SMsTRAs?

Nahikari Irastorza | Malmö University, Sweden
Lenka Dražanová | Migration Policy Centre, Italy
Comment: Thomas Liebig | OECD, France
14:15 – 15:00Roundtable: Perspectives on migrant integration from different regional contexts

Ilke Adam | Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium
Willem Maas | York University, Canada
Kristen Biehl | Sabanci University, Turkey
Moderator: Birgit Glorius | Technical University of Chemnitz, Germany
15:00 – 15:30Coffee Break
15:30 – 16:30World café: guiding principles for supporting local integration in SMsTRAs
16:30 – 16:45Closing remarks
Leila Hadj Abdou
| Migration Policy Centre, Italy
Tiziana Caponio | Collegio Carlo Alberto & University of Turino, Italy
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