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Making Germany More Welcoming and Economically Stronger: The Role of Refugees and Migration Policy

October 8, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

In 2015, more than a million migrants sought asylum in Europe. In 2016 and 2017, hundreds of thousands more crossed the Mediterranean to find a better life. Germany adopted an open border policy, welcomed refugees, and implemented strategies to integrate them into society by providing access to healthcare, education, and jobs. Migration continues to challenge governments and communities around the world. Learning about how Germany – and Europe – managed the influx of migrants can provide lessons for communities in the United States.

Regina Omlor, Senior Program Officer for Africa at Relief International, will moderate a conversation with Dr. Petra Bendel, who chairs the Advisory Council of the German Federal Office of Migration and Refugees, and David Lubell, Founding Director of the Welcoming International.

This event is hosted by the American Council on Germany, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and the World Affairs Councils of America as part of WunderbarTogether USA 2020, a comprehensive and collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the Goethe-Institut

Petra Bendel is Professor of Political Science and Academic Director of the Centre for Area Studies at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Her fields of expertise include the European and German refugee and asylum system as well as integration policy at various political levels. Dr. Bendel is Chair of the Advisory Council of the Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF), a Member of the Federal Government’s Expert Commission on the Framework Conditions for Integration and an advisor for various expert committees.

David Lubell is the Founder of Welcoming America, and recently shifted his full-time focus to the organization’s international efforts as the Founding Director of the Welcoming International program. An accomplished social entrepreneur, Mr. Lubell inspires people to build a different kind of world — one that embraces immigrants and refugees, and fosters opportunity for all. Welcoming America, established in 2009, works with over 200 cities and towns across the U.S., supporting NGO’s and local governments to transform their communities into inclusive places where everyone thrives.

Regina Omlor (moderator) is the Senior Program Officer for Africa at Relief International, a global nonprofit that provides humanitarian and development assistance to vulnerable communities in fragile contexts across Africa, Middle East, and Asia. Since joining Relief International in 2017 in Washington DC, she has completed short-term assignments in Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Jordan, and the Philippines. Prior to Relief International, Ms. Omlor worked with Partner4Work, the workforce development organization for the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and volunteered in the Office of Mayor Peduto. She has gained experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in Europe and the United States. Originally from Kenya, Ms. Omlor grew up in Germany and has lived in France, Belgium, and the United States.