CAIR-Chicago Deputy Director Sufyan Sohel was one of a dozen Chicagoans selected to represent Chicago in a workshop that took place last week in Hamburg, Germany. Organized by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and the BMW Foundation in Germany, Connected Cities brought together stakeholders from Hamburg and Chicago who are involved in work relevant to the integration of immigrants in their respective communities.
The gathered experts conducted site visits around Hamburg Germany, visiting Hanseatic Help, an organization created to collect and provide clothing and other goods to the 60,000 Syrian Refugees that arrived in Germany since late 2015. Hanseatic Help has distributed almost 5,000,000 items to refugees in over 20 countries. The workshop attendees also met with various business, academic, and government leaders, including Aydan Özoğuz, a Turkish-German member of Parliament who serves as the German Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration.
The workshop delegates discussed and analyzed each city’s integration and inclusion strategies and began formulating projects that they will work on through the remainder of the year. Participants will reconvene this fall in Chicago to learn about our city and the issues facing migrants and refugees in our communities.
Sohel reflected, “Connected Cities was an eye opening experience. Not only did I meet and work with 20 passionate leaders from the U.S. and Germany, but we were able to delve into conversations about some of the largest issues facing our respective cities. Both Hamburg and Chicago are committed to being Welcoming Cities and we want to continue to explore how welcoming they are while discussing methods to improve integration and inclusion. I look forward to continue engaging my American and German colleagues on this important transatlantic conversation.”