How to preserve identity roots when trying to integrate in a new cultural environment?
Halah Al-Hayik offered her perspective as Diversity Management expert to Sharehaus Refugio’s heterogeneous audience. According to the leitmotiv of Sharehaus Refugio of promoting an integration policy on the basis of equity of roles, participants were coming from the refugee, German and international community, by reflecting the Berlin multi-cultural environment. Halah Al-Hayik charmed her audience by inquiring critically on the meaning of identity within new cultural environment and by highlighting with relevant insights. To integrate does not mean to neglect your identity or to shape it according to other’s; to integrate means to embrace and welcome the other by accepting and respecting who he or she is. Consequently, the word integration is maybe not appropriate to talk about inclusion improvement since it denotes the assimilation of one’s identity in favour of the other’s.
The Goethe Institut, one of the most important cultural catalysts in Germany and worldwide, hosted a series of events under the title Damascus in exile, by opening a symbolic place for cultural encounters in Berlin from the 20th of October to the 5th of November. The BoP-Ambassador Halah Al-Hayik, Prof. Dr. Gernot Wolfram and Dr. Patrick S. Föhl created a workshop to debate the current and future challenges of Syrian and German artists, cultural managers and workers. The group, formed by performers, theater artists, intercultural experts, culture managements and actors, discussed about relevant topics such as empowerment and participation; peace education and cultural mediation. A synergic cooperation would be needed in order to improve the “culture in exile”, by also exploiting the existing infrastructure and platforms; to reach this goal, an intercultural dialogue should be fostered by connecting the different stakeholders.
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