Recent studies, analyses, and testimonies have highlighted a lack of integration among students with migrant backgrounds. Social tensions, mutual resentments, prejudices, misunderstandings and security fears related to migrants are leading topics across Europe – from the political arena to the classroom. One of the greatest challenges of globalisation is the successful co-existence of different ethnic and religious groups, and education can play a central role in achieving multi-cultural appreciation and cohabitation. By instilling in youth respect and admiration for one another, society can ensure a peaceful world of tomorrow. In an effort to address the reservations and prejudices held across ethnic, religious, and cultural dividing lines and to outline positive approaches for future cross-cultural engagement, Women without Borders (WwB) held a series of panels at a conference in Vienna on 12 Oct. 2011.


‘The Islam error and its consequences’
Michael Thumann, Istanbul

‘Unreserved dialogue through the mobilization of positive emotions’
Hamed Abdel-Samad, Munich, a German-Egyptian political scientist, historian, and author. He calls for an ‘Islam Light’ in Europe and has recently published ‘War or Peace and My Farewell to Heaven’. Together with Henryk Broder, he appeared in the TV series ‘Either Broder – The Germany Safari’.

‘Secular Muslim women in the field of tension between headscarf and mosque’
Gönül Halat-Mec, Frankfurt am Main, originally from Turkey, and is a specialist in family law. She primarily focuses on clients with a migrant background and acts as a member of the German Islam Conference and the Frankfurt Initiative of Progressive Women.

‘Too many young men: from the threat to the source’
Gunnar Heinsohn, Bremen/Gdansk, served as Professor of Social Education at the University of Bremen and currently works on modern global demographic challenges

‘Success model “Diversity”: stumbling blocks and opportunities’
Caglayan Caliskan, Vienna, a business consultant, author, and intercultural trainer. In 2003, he founded the Austrian-Turkish consulting company Caliskan&Network. He is the author of ‘Economic partner Turkey: A handbook for successful entrepreneurs’.

‘Discrimination and recognition: understanding integration in conflicts of social monologue and dialogue’
Mandana Kerschbaumer, Zurich, a sociologist and lecturer at the Higher Technical College for Social Education and Social Work in Zurich. She researches and teaches on topics of migration, integration, and diversity.

‘Outlook for an open society’
Edit Schlaffer, Founder and Executive Director of Women without Borders

Sybille Hamann, freelance journalist, Vienna

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