On June 5, GMF’s immigration program in cooperation with the Transatlantic Academy (TA) hosted an event discussing political participation of minorities and populism in Europe, given increased skepticism toward multiculturalism in many states.
After a welcome by Stephen Szabo, TA executive director and GMF’s Stefanie Jost, Rahsaan Maxwell, former TA fellow from Massachusetts University, moderated the discussion between Wael El-Gayar from the Ministry for Labor, Integration and Social Policy in North Rhine Westphalia and Özcan Mutlu, from the Berlin House of Representatives and Alliance 90/Greens party, and Jonathan Laurence, former TA fellow from Boston College. The discussion focused on the significance of a growing presence of minority-political representatives in Germany in fostering a multicultural society. Although a growing number of minorities active in the political sphere indicate a visible turning point and optimism for the future of Germany, representation alone is not enough for the integration of individuals. Amongst many points of discussion, the subject of hybrid identity arose as a meaningful aspect of integration that is often taken for granted.
In the second panel, former TA Fellow Ines Michalowski of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, Social Science Research Center Berlin, moderated the discussion between former TA fellow, Jeroen Doomernik of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Dutch political correspondent and TFMI fellow Kustaw Bessems, and DeutschPlus member Timo Lochocki of the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Humboldt University, on the recent developments of multiculturalism and populism in Europe.
While the existence of a European multicultural society immediately became the first topic of debate, many other provocative questions were raised. Participants said that politicians and not the media were the catalyst for populist movements.