Vienna, 21 June 2018: On 20 June 2018, the Austrian Red Cross and the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) co-sponsored a World Refugee Day commemoration to mark both organizations’ commitment to fostering successful integration.
Held at KAICIID’s headquarters in Vienna, the event entitled “Always Welcome” gathered high level religious leaders, aid workers, and people seeking refuge to express support for newcomers in their communities and describe best practices for smooth integration.
“At a time when rhetoric can be divisive, it is encouraging to see communities of faith reaffirm their commitment to welcome newcomers,” said Naomi Hunt, KAICIID Programme Manager, Social Inclusion of People Seeking Refuge in Europe.
According to United Nations reports, an unprecedented 65.6 million people worldwide have been displaced from their homes, which is the largest number on record. In an effort to support people seeking refuge in Europe, KAICIID’s Project Integration through Dialogue works to enhance the integration capacity of both the newly arrived and their European host communities.
Over the past two years, the programme has trained women with migrant backgrounds to serve as dialogue facilitators and help others seeking refuge to approach their integration proactively and dialogically. The programme is a reflection of KAICIID’s mandate to use interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a tool to promote peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.
“Religious leaders and institutions are uniquely positioned to welcome the Other and lead the way in achieving inclusive, cohesive societies,” Hunt said. “We are delighted to partner with the Red Cross, a leading global humanitarian organization, to jointly show support for those seeking refuge from war and violence.”
“KAICIID is committed to helping faith-based and secular institutions work hand-in-hand to address common concerns and values, thereby strengthening the fabric of our communities.”