A delegation made up of members of Club de Madrid, including Ex Prime Minister of Romania Petre Roman and international expert Clem McCartney and representatives from IMPADE have come to know first hand the best practices of immigrant integration in Madrid. The delegation has maintained contact at a high level with the politicians who are most responsible for said social cohesion.
This mission, in collaboration with the Council of Immigration for the Community of Madrid, has been able to verify the character and innovation of the programs and policies for social inclusion in Madrid. The Madrileño institutions have known how to anticipate the needs of a very diverse population, and in doing so established policies that allow for theses “nuevos madrileños” to have normal access to the services already offered in Madrid.
The creation of organizations specifically for the promotion of social inclusion in Madrid, like the Council of Immigration and the Area for Local Governance, is evidence of how it is possible to localize the responsibility within government structures, the first of the commitments in favor of social cohesion, as stated in the Shared Societies Project in support of Leadership for Social Inclusion.
This mission has proved that in times of crisis it is more necessary than ever to continue encouraging social inclusion and cohesion. The Club of Madrid agrees with the authorities here in Madrid that inclusion and social cohesion require a continuing commitment and a permanent dialogue and work effort. In words of Javier Fernandez-Lasquetty, Councilman for Immigration and Cooperation of the Community of Madrid, “the political commitment to working in favor of societies that are more inclusive is much more necessary in times of crisis. This commitment should be reflected in a model of integration directed at all of society, in time to recognize its cultural identity.” Concepción Dancausa, Delegate from Family and Social Services of Madrid, also stated that “social cohesion is the best gaurantee from a society that is respectful of Diversity, where all citizens have the same value and opportunities. That said, the promotion of policies of integration is, most definitely, the promotion of the well being of all citizens.”
On February 17th, the Council for Immigration and Cooperation of the Community of Madrid, D. Javier Fernández-Lasquetty, the Delegate from Family and Social Services, Dña. Concepción Dancausa and the General Coordinator of Madrid Global, Ignacio Niño, met with Prime Minister Roman in an open dialogue about the participation of immigrants and the portraits in the exposition OPENFaces from the project OPENCities of the British Council. The meeting between the leaders of policy and practices of integration and the immigrants themselves allowed for an exchange of opinions and requests on the part of the distinct communities who live and work in Madrid and also for the discussion of the challenges that face the public administration to respond to these petitions. As Petre Roman said, “the vision, the ability to put into action policies and proposals, and the ability to obtain concrete results, those are the elements that form the necessary political Leadership to work in favor of social cohesion.” All the participants highlighted in their speeches the diversity of Madrid as a positive fact. “We seek to take advantage of the great Diversity here in Madrid in order to help convert it into an international city completely integrated. In doing so, Madrid will be more competitive and better prepared to face the reality of the economic crisis”, pointed out Ignacio Niño, General Coordinator for Madrid Global.
The mission has allowed for the support of leadership for inclusion within the Madrid authorities and for the strengthening of the relationship between Club of Madrid and these institutions. The documented examples will come together to form a compilation of the best examples of policies and practise for social cohesion, which the Shared Societies Project will then share with leaders from around the world to show the necessity of social cohesion.