Media and cultural institutions have the potential to explore and address the causes and effects of hate speech in creative ways that reach a wider audience, provide introspective reflection and reinforce positive societal values. There is much to be learned from their experience. Engaging these institutions offers opportunities to amplify positive initiatives. Involving religious actors in initiatives with cultural and media institutions helps better connect with refugee and migrant communities. When religious actors speak out against hate speech, address its roots and stand together with other religious actors, this can reinforce social inclusion. Such messages can have greater impact when disseminated in media, on social media or are represented in cultural events and initiatives.

Ensuring the effectiveness and success of the MSP and its initiatives should still outweigh ‘ticking boxes’ of the types of entities included. MSPs are a proven form of collaboration in addressing development and humanitarian issues and many successful examples of MSPs working on the social inclusion of refugees and migrants exist at the European and city level. A well-designed MSP on social inclusion has specific roles for each stakeholder, a clear division of responsibilities and mitigates traditional power inequalities. In sum, MSPs can be highly effective, wide reaching, and impactful in fostering social inclusion in cities, however the emphasis on MSPs should not prevent single actor initiatives. In the end, the aim is social inclusion that benefits both the refugees and migrants and the local community.

Policy Brief #1: Supporting teachers in the use of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and inclusive education for refugees and migrants

Among specific recommendations in Policy Brief #1 are the creation of fast-track qualification programmes for teachers from refugee/migrant backgrounds, the mainstreaming of intercultural and interreligious dialogue education within the curriculum, and providing teachers with the necessary interreligious and intercultural dialogical skills to work with diverse cultural and religious groups.

Policy Brief #2: Building trust through dialogue in local communities: a key component for the social cohesion of refugees and migrants in Europe

Policy Brief #2 suggests that the lack of social cohesion linked to migration often stems from mistrust. This is rooted in a limited and distorted understanding of ‘’the Other’’, as well as a lack of appreciation or knowledge of the experiences of refugees and migrants on the part of public authorities. Limited interactions with people of different backgrounds and the underrepresentation of refugee and migrant communities in policymaking also contribute to a rise in mistrust. To foster mutual trust, local communities should be helped to recognise the positive contributions that refugees and migrants make to the host country.

Policy Brief #3: Reshaping narratives on migration through intercultural and interreligious dialogue

Europe’s “migration debate” can be acrimonious, and Policy Brief #3 claims that public discourse surrounding refugees and migrants is often shaped by political populism. Despite admirable efforts to address this, a negative narrative persists, leading to the marginalisation of already vulnerable refugee and migrant groups. Policymakers, religious and civil society networks, advocacy organizations, academics, and refugee and migrant groups must come together to address this.

Policy brief #4 Helping migrants and refugees volunteer

Volunteering can aid the integration of migrants and refugees in many ways. It can open doors to education and employment, which is impor­tant for economic integration, and it can lead to new friendships that are important for well-being and social integration. Because of their position and influence over how public policymak­ing processes are carried out and who is involved in them, local and national policymakers are among the most important actors when it comes to ensuring better participation.

Policy brief #5 Engaging Migrant and Refugee-led Organizations in Policymaking in Europe

The engagement of migrant and refugee-led organizations in public policymaking processes is important because all people have an equal right to have their voices heard in an inclusive democracy. There are many barriers to the engagement of migrant and refu­gee-led organizations in public policymaking processes. These include: only non-binding legal requests to include migrants and refugees; a lack of knowledge about and trust in public policymaking processes; their involvement being seen as an add-on; and organizations being unaware of how they can get involved. This policy brief provides recommendations on how and to what degree migrant and refugee-led organizations can engage in public policymaking processes at the local, national and international lev­els across Europe.

Policy brief #6 Ensuring Migrant and Refugee Children’s Access to Formal Education in Europe

Education systems vary significantly across Europe and it is also important to emphasise that migrant and refugee children’s access to compulsory formal edu­cation is linked to whether a country is seen as an “arrival”, “transit” or “final destination” for migrants and refugees. Hence it is not possible to develop any models or approaches that will ensure that all migrant and refugee children have access to education regardless of where they have settled. This policy brief is providing recommendations on how to ensure children’s access to compul­sory formal education in Europe  for policymakers, religious organizations and religious congregations and leaders.

Network for Dialogue Overview Document for Policy Briefs #4, #5 and #6

The Network for Dialogue has published new policy briefs which were developed for and further discussed at the 3rd European Policy Dialogue Forum on Refugees and Migrants in Lisbon, Portugal, on 19-21 October 2021, organised by the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), the Network for Dialogue and the European Council of Religious Leader/Religions for Peace Europe (ECRL/RfP), and supported by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). 

Inclusion through Dialogue – the Booklet of Promising Practices

If you are interested in learning more from specific examples from the field, this publication offers 11 promising practices of Network for Dialogue members from seven European countries. Each promising practice involves interreligious or intercultural dialogue as one of the potential approaches for the better social inclusion of migrants and refugees in Europe. This publication aims to share experiences, challenges and recommendations, for various organizations and individuals working with migrants and refugees in Europe and beyond to have a dialogical approach.

1st European Policy Dialogue Forum Report

The Network for Dialogue was actively contributing to the 1st European Policy Dialogue Forum on Refugees and Migrants organised by KAICIID in October 2019 in Athens, Greece. This report documents the Forum’s discussions and recommendations on topics such as the growing diversity and complexity of migration flows and migration dynamics, the need for new and different approaches in the field of integration, and the extent to which academic research and grassroots experience can contribute to the work of policymakers.

The Network for Dialogue Brochure

To have a quick overview of what the Network for Dialogue is, download our brochure.