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International Metropolis Conference 2008

October 27th to 31st, Bonn, Germany

Conference Theme 2008: Mobility, Integration and Development in a Globalised World

This conference will explore the relationships between migration, immigrant integration, and development. We will bring to the foreground issues that are often lost when we discuss these general topics in isolation from one another. In this way, we hope to uncover new aspects of Metropolis' traditional areas of interest, new avenues for research, and areas for policy development that have been neglected in the past. 

Societies that actively pursue immigration must consider the integration of their newcomers; the larger the number of immigrants, the more important their successful integration is to the designated society. Such is the dominant relation between immigration and integration. There are many others. Consider the effect on integration policy of immigration that is designed to satisfy primarily demographic ends as opposed to immigration that meets short term labour market needs. Consider the political and social environment within which immigration takes place; public attitudes towards immigration and immigrants are influenced by economic conditions, societal attitudes and the communications of political leaders. Large-scale immigration in economically tough times can require stronger integration and anti-discrimination effort. And the prevalence of irregular migration flows into a country will affect the outcomes of integration programmes, even for those residing in a country legally. 

There is renewed interest in the migration and development field, but with a twist from twenty years ago when the question was how to control migration through development. The quest now is to take advantage of migration to produce development benefits in both sending and receiving countries. In the excitement to advance the development agenda, we can lose sight of the actual effects of emigration on the development prospects of source countries, and we risk ignoring the development effects on the societies of destination, even those among the OECD countries. Neither can we ignore the effects of development on the number of those who are willing to emigrate. Will rapid economic development in China, India, Brazil, and other countries require countries of destination to re-assess their immigration recruitment strategies? 

The conference will also look at the relation between integration and development where there is fruitful terrain for enquiry, including the effects of successful economic integration on remittances to the homeland and the effects of social integration on circular or return migration. How do we reconcile the development objectives that can be achieved through return migration with the desire to successfully integrate migrants in the host society?

Seeking limited integration to encourage return migration is of course not appealing. Here, a careful look at how transnational communities relate simultaneously to the societies of destination and origin will help us to understand the relations between social and economic integration and development effects on the country of origin. 

In addition to sessions that explore these themes, the conference will discuss the rapidly emerging concern over environmental causes of emigration, issues related to mobility and state sovereignty, and national perspectives on migration and integration. The conference will feature expert speakers, a number of cross-cutting plenary sessions, more than 100 workshops, social activities, and a programme of study tours designed to give delegates a taste of Germany's approach to migration, integration and diversity.