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Who Foreign Nationals Are and Why We Need Them

The Center for Interethnic Cooperation led a seminar-training on November 15th on the theme of Tolerance, Conflict Resolution, and Preventing Xenophobia for representatives of institutions of local self-governance for regions of the Russian Federation- participants in the Interethnic Information Forum Integration of Foreign Nationals-2007. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation. The training lasted just half a day, and in this short time, we (trainers from the Center for Interethnic Cooperation), Alexander Kalabanov (the head of the Division for Interethnic Relations of the Ministry of Regional Development) and thirty serious adults, officials of municipal establishments had to discuss in detail three complex themes and create appropriate recommendations.

It could be that somewhere in Holland or Great Britain; it is quite natural that a public organization would lead a training for representatives of the authorities, moreover from different regions. We have a different tradition- the officials themselves find representatives of public organizations and inform them about what they need to do and how to do it.

We do not know if Russian public organizations which have led trainings for representatives of the authorities exist. Our trainings in the past have involved the participation of representatives of the authorities, but it has always been one or two people, and we were well acquainted with them.

At the start, the training proved to be challenging, and we spent a half hour just on persuading participants to move their seats closer to the front of the room. Following this, we organized a carousel of acquaintance. Participants formed two circles with equal numbers of people, one within the other. Each person faced a different participant, and after a few minutes, they changes partners. The idea was very simple, but the time and agenda restriction of the conference did not permit participants to really meet each other. In order to work more quickly, it was necessary to make the teams up of different people.

Representatives of the authorities were quite un-spirited at the beginning, but things later picked up, and it became more and more difficult to tear the partners away from each other. The carousel did its job; people were no longer complete strangers. Later, with great success we discussed the benefit of the state, society and citizens from the migration of foreign nationals to Russia, as well as the problems which can arise in small groups. At the end of the training we reached the preparation of recommendations that instead of thirty stiff and important figures, we had a coordinated and friendly team of experienced experts.

If describing the results in brief, training participants recommended that the federal authorities not economize funds for the program of foreign nationals migration, ensure coordinated work between different ministries for accelerating terms and elevate the effectiveness of work and, most importantly, to keep in mind the foreign nationals who have already moved to Russia, those not only who do not receive support from the state, but also frequently suffer from persecution. In this case, the basic task of municipal authorities is to provide work to foreign nationals and perform the necessary work with the local population in order to achieve tolerant relations.

After the training, a few participants approached us with the request for information about our organization, expressing that they enjoyed the method in which we worked with them and how they worked with others. On this day, we genuinely changed the opinions of representatives of the authorities regarding public organizations, which was very satisfying.

Center for Interethnic Cooperation

Source: Information agency Voronezh Media


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