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European experts in the field of integration to meet in Tallinn
15.11.2016

PRESS RELEASE

The International Conference, "Integration Challenges in the Radicalizing World" will be held on November 29-30 in Tallinn, Estonia, organized by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA). Conference speaker and Professor Emeritus of Queen's University, Canada, Prof John Berry, advocates that the main challenges of today's multicultural society are intercultural relations and an understanding of what principles these relations are based on.

According to Prof Berry, the research on the subject of intercultural relations is based on the three major principles, which guarantee social cohesion. “First of all, in order for people to accept different people around them, they must first themselves feel safe in their society, both as individuals and as members of a group. If a person feels a threat to his or her existence, they are ready to repel others. Secondly, it is important for the well-being of people, that they identify with their culture of origin as a society at large, and there is no contradiction between the two. The third aspect is related to the reciprocal acceptance; it is necessary that people would have more interaction with people outside their normal social circle,” explained Berry. The professor said that the basics had been studied in sixteen countries, including Estonia, Latvia, and Russia.

MISA Director Dmitry Burnašev highlighted primary reasons behind the conference, “Integration is becoming increasingly important. If so far our main agenda has been the integration of the Estonian and Russian communities, today, there is a need to be prepared to accept into our society people with very different cultural backgrounds. This change affects international relations in society as a whole and is a common challenge all around Europe. We need to jointly review the experiences to date and our ability to integrate the various nationalities into our community, analyze what has been done, and find workable solutions, for example in the field of education or labor market regulations, which support the unity of our society.”

The International Conference will take place from 29 to 30th November 2016 in Tallinn. At the event, internationally recognized experts from Canada, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia will share their insights. In addition to Professor John Berry, among the international speakers is University of Bradford Professor of Diversity, Uduak Archibong MBE; Deputy Chairman of the Expert Council of German Integration and Migration Foundations, Prof. Haci-Halil Uslucan. Other prominent speakers at the conference will be, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Tartu, Triin Vihalemm; an economic expert, entrepreneur and statesman, Raivo Vare; and the Head of the Analysis Department of Ministry of Education and Research, Dr. Aune Valk.

The conference program and information about speakers may be found at www.misakonverents.ee. The two-day conference and the reception are free of charge for all participants. The working language will be English with simultaneous Estonian translation. Registration is open until 22 November, or until there are available places.

This international conference is organized by MISA and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and partner organizations: The British Council, Royal Norwegian Embassy, ​​Royal Danish Embassy, ​​Tallinn University of Technology and others.

For additional Information:

Marianna Makarova
MISA Head of Research Development
E-mail: marianna.makarova@meis.ee
Tel 659 9853