Asia-Europe Conference 2017: Social cohesion key to tackle migration issue

From left, Director Institute of Ethic Studies (KITA) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof. Datuk Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Korea University, Prof. Christian Joppke from Institute of Sociology, University of Bern, Switzerland and Head of SCCIIL (SSKKII) Interdisciplinary Center, University of Gothenburg, Sewden, Prof. Jens Allwood at Asia Europe Conference 2017 at University of Malaya (UM). ( EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN)

New Straits Times • By LAILI ISMAIL and AINA NASA • August 4, 2017 @ 2:03pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Global issues of migration and multiculturalism in Asian and European communities must be tackled by enabling social cohesion, which functions as the foundation of any community.

University of Gothenburg Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science and Communication-oriented Centre director Professor Jens Allwood said all communities need a form of social cohesion, whether by way of human universals, man-made formal laws or informal practices.

“With regards to informal practices in a multicultural community, tolerance, acceptance and flexibility must go in both directions.

“Dominant groups must tolerate and accept cultural differences of non-dominant groups and vice versa,” he said during the Asia-Europe Conference 2017 here today.

Migration as well as issues of multiculturalism have been regarded to be one of the most challenging obstacles faced by the global community, he said, but it must be faced head on as it is here to stay.

He outlined three bottlenecks to achieving positive integration and to avoid the dangers of separatism, segregation, and extremism.

They are competence in language and culture, finding employment for migrants, and friendship.

“We need to enable national community cohesion while allowing multiculturalism. For this, individuals need the sense and need to be sharing something or have something in common.

“The alternative of this is otherwise there will be no community because migration is here for the long run.”

University of Bern professor of sociology Professor Christian Joppke said employing migrants for work was a necessary goal but the structure of migration in Europe stemming from family and asylum migration complicates the situation.

“In Europe, we have family and asylum migration as opposed to labour migration in other parts of the world.

These migrants therefore are low skilled and come from rural origins unfit for a prosporous economy.

“Unemployment is a chronic problem but it is not reflective of the needs of society.”

Original article: New Straits Times


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