2019 International Metropolis Conference, Ottawa

Centre contributions to Metropolis 2019: Linking pluralism and migration

The impacts of global migration are felt in developing and developed countries alike. As our societies become increasingly diverse, how we respond – through inclusive measures, or by erecting barriers – has serious implications for peace, justice and global stability. The Global Centre for Pluralism engages with migration experts and advocates to identify points of intersection, where a pluralist approach may strengthen their efforts to promote more inclusive societies.

The International Metropolis Conference, the largest annual international gathering of world experts from academia, governments and civil society in the fields of migration, integration and diversity, was held this year in Ottawa, Canada, from June 24-28. The Centre took part in the Conference as both a host and a participant.

On June 24, we hosted a study tour of our headquarters, welcoming 30 international delegates for a presentation on the need for pluralism in the world today and the Centre’s programming contributions. Discussion focused on how pluralism can add value to work on migration, refugees and integration.

To address the challenge of measuring progress on inclusion, on June 25, a Centre-hosted panel featured three measurement tools—Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Diversity Monitor, the Canadian Index on Measuring Integration and the Centre’s Global Pluralism Index. Speakers drew lessons from comparative experience and innovative approaches to measurement. They highlighted the need for clarity in the choice of indices, the use of appropriate methodologies and action to address data gaps. They also noted the limitations of basing policy on indices alone. These tools are intended as a valuable springboard for debate and action.

    Facing a tide of negative stereotypes and messaging, advocates for migrants and refugees seek new ways to communicate with the public. Centre staff also moderated a dynamic workshop, “Raising our Game: Communicating to Counter Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric”, which featured speakers from Amnesty International, Refugee 613 and the Migration Policy Institute. Panelists discussed practical ways to reframe discourse around migration, focussing on positive messaging, new narratives and listening carefully to the concerns of all audiences.

    These explorations were deepened at a one-day workshop on hope-based communication organized by Refugee 613, a local non-profit that acts as a communications hub on refugee matters, at our headquarters, on the margins of the Metropolis Conference. Together with Refugee 613, we capped our week with migration practitioners and policy-makers by co-hosting a design workshop to explore the potential for a global community of practice to help practitioners improve their communications for migrants and refugees, based on this more positive approach to communicating.