International Workshop on Role and Place of African Immigrants in a Finnish Society 2010
Helsinki, Finland, August 28, 2010
The Codewit Global Network Ry, in collaboration with the CAISA International Cultural Center, hosted the First International Workshop on the Role and Place of African Immigrants in a Finnish Society on August 28, 2010. The workshop was attended by 80 participants, including speakers who presented their latest research on the topic.
The guest of honor was Dr. Annika Forsander, Director of Immigration Affairs in Helsinki. Dr. Forsander gave a presentation on the trends of migration to Helsinki, the challenges and opportunities that immigrants face, and some solutions for how immigrants can be better integrated into Finnish society. She also urged foreigners to learn the Finnish language as part of the integration process.
In his welcome speech, the Global Coordinator of the Codewit Global Network Ry, Mr. Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi, reminded the Finnish authorities that they are currently seeking to become more immigration friendly and that a good integration program for existing immigrants would be a good step towards achieving this goal. He also reminded the participants that as they explore the future of their existence in Finland, they also need to look for long-term solutions to the problems that exist in their various African countries. He urged them to mobilize their forces and use their strength in numbers to strive actively, as the architects of their own future, to change the circumstances that contribute to poverty, unemployment, human rights abuses, and lack of democracy in Africa.
The workshop included three plenary talks on the following topics:
- Immigration, Immigrants, and the City of Helsinki by Dr. Annika Forsander (Director of Immigration Affairs Helsinki Finland)
- Immigrants and the Integration Process through Entrepreneurship in Finland by Dr. Evariste Habiyakare (Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science)
- Intercultural Communication Skills by Mrs. Oge Eneh (Culture Producer CAISA International Cultural Center)
A number of parallel oral sessions and poster sessions provided the main forum for participants to present and discuss the latest issues and research findings. The Global Coordinator, Mr Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi, and the organizing team, which included Mr. Onyeka Nnaemeka, Omorose Osarumwense, Bernard Otulugbu, Wiston Eddie, Efe, Williams Nwokedi, and Philemon Usman, all members of the Codewit Global Network, Helsinki Chapter, put together a rich program as well as a series of social events that provided networking opportunities for the participants.
The workshop banquet was a highlight of the event, as participants had the opportunity to taste a variety of Finnish and African snacks and delicacies. The debate and the informative presentations proved to be unforgettable for those who had the privilege to attend all three sessions. The workshop ended with a song by Mrs. Cecilia.
The next workshop will be held in Helsinki and Tampere, Finland. Stay tuned for further news!