Gästblogg: What Integration Means to Me

People have been moving to different countries for centuries, we just haven’t heard as much about it as we to today. In 2015, 244 million people, or 3.3 per cent of the world’s population, lived outside their country of origin (the country they were born in). (1) 

A word that comes to mind when talking about migrants and migration is integration. Integration is synonym to fusing, blending and homogenization. In other words, it means that we change the person in order for them to become like the others, it means that we take away what makes them unique.

To me, integration is not about integrating a person to belong somewhere. Integration is about being included and being accepted in the society for who you are as a person. That is why, I prefer using the word ‘inclusion’ instead.

Inclusion means that we accept the person as they are, include them in our society and give them the opportunity to grow both as a person and as a part of our society. Inclusion means that you get to be unique but still belong to the place you call ‘home’.

Crossed Paths of Europe is an international project focused on increasing social inclusion and increasing awareness of the inclusiveness of the European identity.

People might have different political views, sexual orientation, culture, religion, age, race or gender. People might have been born or raised in different places of the world. But we, all, are still all humans; flesh, blood and soul. We are more similar than we think.

Crossed Paths of Europe wants to highlight both our similarities and differences through the use of photography.

The project is oriented around giving mainly refugees and local people from different communities in Europe an outlet to express themselves through photographs, focusing on the things that are important to them, and how they see Europe as part of their life.

The photographers will then be able to see their images and stories displayed in an exhibition taking place in both Stockholm, Edinburgh and Brussels.

My name is Kawthar, a 20-year-old who wants to make a difference in the world, like many others. I want to help people realize that we are the same despite all our differences. 

I like to refer to myself as a citizen of the world. I have both lived and studied in several countries and experienced different cultures. I believe that this made me a mixture of the cultures that I have experienced; I have taken traditions, lessons and wisdom from them and made them into my own.

In today’s world, diversity and multiculturalism should be feted and celebrated, not hated and neglected.  Living abroad and with people with different backgrounds taught me a lesson that I go by everyday: Diversity is power.

‘The best way to prepare for a future of unknown complexity? Build on the strength of our differences’-  Jeff Howe.

Life is full of challenges and we must make sure that we are prepared for its complexity, as Jeff Howe, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and writer, explains: diversity is the to solving such problems.

This is a call to all of you who want to make a difference in the world: never underestimate your differences and capabilities.

(1) https://www.unfpa.org/migration