The increasing flows of immigrants and refugees in Europe, the recent years, have formed a multicultural and intensively diverse social reality. And while the intensity of this diversity is steadily increasing, the same doesn’t happen with its representation, receptivity and inclusion in the work environment. Though a lot of efforts are being made, by all stakeholders and civil society actors, to integrate immigrants / refugees into the labor market, little attention is paid to differentiating between representation and receptivity.
Therefore, the current project is driven by the fact that immigrants / refugees are not included in their work environments and the workforce is not prepared to embrace and respect cultural diversity. False stereotypes and xenophobic perceptions are constantly increasing rather than diminishing and put this social group in a difficult positions, as even when working, in most cases they are not offered the same opportunities for participation and promotion. Their cultural particularities are not taken into account when designing the ‘culture’ of a workplace, they are isolated and face adaptation problems. Few workplaces have an holistic strategy for integrating cultural diversity and intercultural education is absent from the usual training activities for employees and executives.
In this context, the project aims to:
– Raise awareness on interculturalism and exclusion of immigrants / refugees in the workplace
– Improve the attitudes and behaviors of young people towards cultural diversity and combat xenophobic and stereotypical perceptions
– Prepare young people to take initiatives in the field, using new technologies, media and other innovative means to carry out awareness-raising activities
– Promote the exchange of ideas and best practices between organizations and young people from different countries and increase their co-operation
The main activity is a youth exchange with program countries that will be implemented in Ioannina on July 01 to 8, 2021 and is organized by young people from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, North Macedonia & Serbia .
In total 27 young participants, 6 youth leaders, and 3 facilitators are taking part in the activity. They are young people who share common concerns and interests and express their need to intervene in the field and bring about social changes. The group is consisted of young people from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds among them young people with fewer opportunities. It is their common interest to address these issues and their need to enrich their knowledge and skills in the field.
Its main goals are to raise awareness of young people about the project topic, to change attitudes and behaviours towards cultural diversity, to provide them with the necessary tools to organize awareness-raising activities on cultural diversity in the workplace, to develop their skills on the use of new technologies and various media, to enhance the exchange of views and the cooperation of young people from the Balkan countries and to develop youngsters’ important capacities and skills.
Its main theme is cultural diversity in the work environment, immigrants / refugees’ integration and acceptance in the workplace.
Its methodology is based on non-formal learning methods with emphasis on experiential and peer learning.
The project’s main achievements will be the public’s raised awareness on cultural diversity in the workplace and the integration of immigrants and refugees into it, young people’s developed capacity to organize and carry out awareness-raising activities on these issues, their preparation for active participation, young people’s developed intercultural competences, reduced stereotypes and prejudices, youngsters’ increased social, communicative and organizational capabilities. At the same time, it will succeed in developing the capacities of the participating organizations in the field and improving their future actions.
In the long term, negative stereotypes and discrimination against immigrants / refugees and their smooth integration into the work environment are expected. Adoption of integration strategies and inclusion of cultural education in training programs for staff, executives and managers is also expected. It is therefore expected to create a culture of acceptance in the work environment and in society that will contribute to the formation of a labor market and societies that offer equal opportunities for all and in which their members coexist harmoniously, exchanging cultural and other elements for the benefit of their personal, professional and social development.