The DIVERSE Project
DIVERSE is an international project with EU funding from the Integration Fund, whose participants are 15 higher education institutions and organizations from ten European countries, coordinated by the Catholic University of Milan (WWELL Research Centre).
The main aim of the project is to develop an innovative and effective model for integrating migrants from third countries (non-EU-citizens). This development will take place by adapting and improving the practice of multi-stakeholders concerned with the estimation and assessment of the potential of these migrants for the host country – in regard to both social and economical aspects. One particular priority is the recognition of third country nationals' non-formal competencies and the relational connection between them and the institutions in the context of migration and integration, as well as organizations' diversity management practices and approaches. The intended results of the project include proposals for the public and for governments to increase civil participation.
The project "DIVERSE – Diversity Improvement as a Viable Enrichment Resource for Society and Economy" – has chosen to pursue the overall and long-term aim of "reinventing" the European approach to immigration, overcoming its historical paradox through three major changes:
- encouraging a shift from the perception of migrants as contingently instrumental resources to the recognition of their human capital as a structural resource for the economic and social development of European societies,
- enhancing awareness among different types of organizations as to the importance and potentialities of Diversity Management (hereafter DM) strategies,
- improving TCNs' social participation and civic engagement (and especially their participation in volunteer, non-profit organizations) in view of the construction of an inclusive European society and in order to change TCNs common perception as people who need to be helped and assisted.
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Karlshochschule International University
Roman Lietz M.A.
Conditions: EU-funded project (Integration Fund), duration 18 months (Start: Dec 2013), 10 participating countries, coordination from the Catholic University of Milan (WWELL Research Centre), estimated total budget 900,000 euros.
Partners: Catholic University Milan (Italy), University of Huelva (Spain), New University of Lisbon (Portugal), Karlshochschule International University (Germany), Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands), University of Waasa (Finland), University of Umea (Sweden), University of Lodz (Poland), University of Tartu (Estonia), Menedek Society for Migration (Hungary), Foundation for Research into Multi-ethnicity ISMU (Italy), three further not-for-profit organisations.
General aims and objects: The main aim of the project is to develop an innovative and effective model for integrating migrants from third countries (non-EU-citizens). This development will take place by adapting and improving the practice of multi-stakeholders concerned with the estimation and assessment of the potentials of these migrants for the host country - in regard to both social and economical aspects. One particular priority is the recognition of third country nationals' non-formal competencies and the relational connection between them and the institutions in the context of migration and integration, as well as organisations' diversity management practices and approaches. The intended results of the project include proposals for the public and for governments to increase civil participation.
Proposed programme of work:
- Closing knowledge gaps. Initially, data collection will be carried out in parallel in ten EU-countries. Qualitative studies will empirically investigate a) which diversity management practices and approaches are being followed in profit-oriented and not-for-profit organisations, b) which instruments are in use for assessment and recognition of formal, informal and non-formal skills and competencies of third country nationals, c) the involvement of third country nationals in voluntary work and non-profit organisations. All of this data will be fed into a comparative analysis.
- Improving recognition procedures. This component takes as its basis a synergetic dialogue between representatives of various stakeholder groups in order to develop a new approach to recognising the skills and knowledge of third country migrants. In particular, informal competencies that were acquired in their country of origin need to be considered. The result is a prototype and cross-country model to evaluate and recognise their knowledge, skills and other competencies. The countries participating here are Italy, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands.
- Applications and integration. Working together with self-organised migrant organisations and in individual countries with the institutions responsible for qualification recognition, the newly developed format will then be tested. In parallel, during the later phase, the analysis will focus on the participation of migrant third country nationals in voluntary associations and groups and the contributions this makes to an improvement in their civil participation (focus Italy and Netherlands).
Results and dissemination: Using participatory approaches, the project will develop an innovative, modern and practicable access to issues surrounding the practice of integration and competence recognition in European countries. The model and the concept will be presented and discussed in seminars and briefings. A long-lasting effect will be ensured by working together with partners from profit-oriented and not-for-profit fields, organisations who are involved in the practice, and from both civic and governmental sectors.
1. Expert Forum on 27.02.2015: Factors that benefit or hinder the participation in voluntary work by people with a migrant background
Topic and goals
Although voluntary work is well respected – especially by migrants – many voluntary organizations (including migrants' organizations) face existential difficulties. As part of the DIVERSE project, the research team at Karlshochschule International University (Karlsruhe) has been looking for answers regarding the factors which help or hinder people with a migrant background when they want to volunteer. The research results allow recommendations to be drawn up for government and non-profit organizations.
- Dr. Iris Sardarabady (IBZ Karlsruhe)
- Rosemarie Strobel-Heck (Büro für Mitwirkung und Engagement, Karlsruhe)
- Kerim Arpad (Deutsch-Türkisches Forum Stuttgart)
- Hans Klebauer (DRK)
2. Expert Forum on 27.03.2015: Improvement in the recognition of formal, non-formal and informal skills, knowledge and competencies.
Topic and goals
In light of skills shortages and demographic changes, increasing attention is being paid to the competencies of immigrants. The issue here is often one of whether non-formal and informal competencies are visible and assessable.
The DIVERSE project group at Karlshochschule International University (Karlsruhe) has established a research priority for this. This research results allow recommendations for action to be drawn up for government, associations and civil society actors.
- Dirk Dickgießer (Migrationsbeauftragter der Agentur für Arbeit, Karlsruhe-Rastatt)
- Petar Drakul (Ministerium für Integration Baden-Württemberg)
- Alex Almeida (brasilianischer Musiker)
- Argyri Paraschaki (Landesverband der kommunalen Migrationsvertretungen Baden-Württemberg)
3. Expert Forum on 13.04.2015: Diversity Management instruments in companies and organisations for the integration and success of third-country nationals in the workforce
Topic and goals
Staff at German companies and organizations are becoming ever more diverse! This reflects issues such as the women's quota and demographic changes, but increasing attention is also being paid to the potential of immigrants, whether EU or third-country nationals.
The DIVERSE project team at Karlshochschule International University (Karlsruhe) is researching the current state of development, focussing its considerations particularly on regional aspects, sector-specific issues, and SMEs. This will result in recommendations for action to companies, both at strategic levels and for specific operative departments (e.g. HR).