Today sees the launch of the new Nordic Migrant Expert Forum, which aims to build an even stronger bridge between the needs of refugees and immigrants and the initiatives of public authorities. The bridge builders in this context are the expert members of the new forum. Their task is to bring their own insight into the challenges faced by and solutions available to public authorities and other stakeholders in integration in the Nordic Region. The experts can leverage a diverse knowledge base, new methods, research, and best practices in Nordic co-operation on integration. Marte Mjøs Persen, the Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, welcomes the initiative and has high expectations of it:
“With the establishment of the Nordic Migrant Expert Forum, Nordic authorities and co-operation bodies will have a forum that they can turn to for opinions and advice. It’s important that public authorities maintain dialogue with the experts who are close to the citizens that the integration initiatives are designed for. This strengthens our knowledge base and helps to qualify Nordic co-operation on integration. That’s why I’m extremely pleased with the creation of the Nordic Migrant Expert Forum and look forward to new insights and advice, which we will hopefully get from the expert forum,” says Norway’s Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, Marte Mjøs Persen.
Everyone must be willing to learn and think differently
The forum consists of 16 members, all of whom were born outside the Nordic Region and migrated to a Nordic country or self-governing territory. They all have expert knowledge in topics relevant to the integration of refugees and immigrants. Like the Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, the forum’s own members also have high expectations:
“Integration is about creating relationships between people with different backgrounds. And integration goes both ways – both the majority and the minority must get involved and be willing to learn and think differently. This is the mindset with which I’m going into this role, and my expectations are that the forum can contribute to creating trust and interaction between communities, people, and sectors. In this way, the forum can contribute to integration in the Nordic Region,” says forum member Ahmed Abdirahman, who is also CEO and Founder of the Global Village Foundation in Sweden.
Integration and a socially sustainable Nordic region
The forum has been set up as part of the new programme in the field of integration, which runs until 2024. The programme builds on the past six years of Nordic experiences and outcomes relating to the integration of refugees and immigrants. The forum contributes to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Vision 2030 and especially to the priority area of creating a socially sustainable Nordic Region.