Building Stronger Communities: Insights from Researchers and Policy Leaders at the Whole-COMM Project’s Conference

The Whole-COMM project’s TransAtlantic CommunityPolicy-LAB is set to present its findings on integration dynamics for migrants in small and medium-sized towns and rural areas (SMsTRAS). The two-day conference, to be held on April 26 and 27, 2023 in Toronto, will bring together policymakers, academic researchers, civil society organizations, and city network representatives to discuss key factors influencing local integration policymaking.

The event will kick off with a reception and welcoming and presentation of the agenda. Tiziana Caponio, Associate Professor, and Andrea Pettrachin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Collegio Carlo Alberto, will present a general introduction of the Whole-COMM project and an overview of the key findings. The morning session will continue with presentations from a diverse panel of academic researchers, including Birgit Glorius (Professor at the University of Chemnitz), Anna Faustmann (Researcher and Lecturer at Danube Krems University), Patrycja Matusz (Vice-Rector for Project and International Relations at the University of Wroclaw), Sinem Yilmaz (Integration Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Group), and Abigail Fisher Williamson (Associate Professor at the Trinity College Hartford).

After the coffee break, Canadian policymakers, CSO and City Network representatives will give a brief presentation on integration dynamics in their communities. The panel will be chaired by Willem Maas, and speakers will include Raïs Kibonge (Deputy mayor, Sherbrooke, QC) Maria Grazia Montella (Project Officer Inclucities) Kathy Vassilakos (Former City Councillor Stratford, ON), Niken Astari Carpenter (New American Liaison, City of Erie, PA).

The afternoon session will include presentations from Canadian researchers on academic papers on integration in small and medium-sized towns and rural areas. Among the presenters are Tony Fang (Professor, and Chair of Political Science, Memorial University, NFL), Anyck Dauphin (Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais), Monika Thakur (Assistant Professor, Algoma University), Rana Telfah (PhD candidate, University of Guelph), and Ame Khin May-Kyawt (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of British Columbia).

The event’s second day will feature roundtable sessions on local integration policies and practices, discussing the factors that influence local integration policymaking and the contributions of local government, civil society, and private organizations to migrant integration. The discussion will also consider the impact of local community size on decision-making processes related to migrant integration.

This event promises to be an insightful and informative forum for policymakers, academics, and community leaders interested in the integration of migrants in small and medium-sized towns and rural areas in Canada and Europe. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the latest research, network with their peers, and share best practices for promoting integration and building stronger communities.

The agenda

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