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Ökumene ist der
Imperativ des christlichen
Gewissens.

Erzbischof Alfons Nossol (Oppeln)

Pro Oriente

Integration Issues

The contribution of Christian (Diaspora) Communities to the Integration Process in Austria

Through the example of the Serbian Orthodox and Romanian Orthodox communities in Vienna, the project inquires into the contribution of Christian (diaspora) communities to a successful integration process. It aims at identifying both the factors that are conducive to as well as inhibit this process, and at establishing possible courses of action for politics, the churches and society. The project is sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (Division VIII. 3).

Background

The Integration Report of 2015 made it clear that both immigrants and the indigenous population are responsible for a successful integration process, and underscored the importance of the role played by social, charitable and church institutions in this process. Research on integration and religion has focused primarily on Islam and far less on the Christian churches. However, since Christian immigrants comprise one of the largest groups of immigrants, it seems not only reasonable but also advisable to study the contribution of Christian (diaspora) communities to the integration process in Austria.

Vienna is an ideal place for the project not just for historical reasons, but also because of the highly positive ecumenical relations between the churches.

Mode of Operation and Aims

At three four-hour workshops, the factors of Christian (diaspora) communities that both inhibit and foster integration are to be examined in an interdisciplinary way using scholarly methods. This is to be accomplished with the participating representatives of the Serbian Orthodox and Romanian Orthodox communities, in order to determine areas where political action is needed. The implementation of the project is planned for 2016.

Not only are representatives of the Serbian Orthodox and Romanian Orthodox communities invited to take part in the workshops, but also staff members of political, social, charitable, church and scholarly institutions. The project aims at producing pragmatic statements which can also be applied to other municipalities and throughout Austria and which can serve as a key to successful integration policies.
The aim of the project is to develop new methods in order to make the integration process a tangible reality for politics and society. It also strives to identify the contribution to integration made by Christian (diaspora) communities and to develop recommendations for action for politics and society.

In addition to the above-mentioned participants, the target groups comprise persons of responsibility in the federal government, the provinces and church institutions, who are active in the field of integration, as well as scholars from the fields of theology, sociology, politics and history.

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