The Council of Europe’s Intercultural cities network will address the potential of social innovation for refugee inclusion in an event which will take place in Brussels on 12 and 13 September. Participation is open and free of charge.
The event will help:
- Reach an understanding of what social innovation means for refugee integration, its added value and its limitations;
- Facilitate exchanges between social innovators, NGOs, local authorities, businesses and service professionals in order to create local partnerships;
- Forge stronger connections between public/private sectors;
- Increase the involvement of refugees and refugee communities;
- Improve coordination between European and national authorities for increased sustainability of refugee integration initiatives.
The 2-day event will use a combination of plenary sessions, which will explore the principles, reality and challenges of social entrepreneurship in the field of refugee inclusion, and interactive sessions to discuss in-depth approaches and methodologies used to address various aspects of refugee inclusion. It is also a space to present emerging initiatives and to connect them with possible implementation partners.
Many of today’s asylum-seekers will receive refugee status and settle in European cities. It is therefore essential therefore to lay the foundations of their integration at a very early stage. Given the scale of the challenges and the complex political, social and economic context, the engagement of authorities (especially at the local level), civil society, businesses and a range of other organisations is key. The scale and urgency of the challenge require innovative and creative solutions often, but not exclusively, harnessing the potential of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies to create educational, employment and other opportunities for refugees and help them forge solid connections with host societies.