Germany is more than three years into a massive human and policy experiment, figuring out how best to integrate mor- e than one million Syrian asylum seekers. Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Syrian refugees and others fleeing conflict zones—partly on humanitarian grounds, and partly as a bet that an influx of motivated young workers might rejuvenate the economy.
Lily Hindy traveled to Germany and interviewed dozens of people involved in this great social engineering project, from Syrian refugee families to vocational instructors to government officials. She shared her findings in a multimedia TCF report. She found that Germany’s coordinated re-sponse had produced some surprising successes, like the vocational training and language programs designed to assimilate newcomers and prepare them for the workforce. She also documented some of the bumps in the road, from social tensions and discrimination against immigrants and the ambiguous response of some of the immigrants to their new host society.
There are considerable lessons here for the United States, or any other country that is willing to welcome new immigrants and invest in their integration.
- Lily Hindy, doctoral student, University of California–Los Angeles
- Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation