UNITY VITAL FOR GLOBAL COMMUNITY
It helps address multiculturalism, migrant issues in Asia and Europe
GLOBAL issues of migration and multiculturalism in Asian and European communities must be tackled by enabling social cohesion, which functions as the foundation of any community.
University of Gothenburg Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science and Communication-oriented Centre director Professor Jens Allwood said all communities needed a form of social cohesion, whether by way of human universals, man-made formal laws or informal practices.
“With regard to informal practices in a multicultural community, tolerance, acceptance and flex- ibility must go in both directions. Dominant groups must tolerate and accept cultural differences of non-dominant groups and vice versa,” he said during the Asia-Europe Conference 2017 here yesterday.
Migration and multiculturalism have been regarded as among the most challenging obstacles faced by the global community, he said, adding that they must be faced headon as they were here to stay.
Allwood outlined three bottlenecks to achieving positive integration and to avoid the dangers of separatism, segregation and extremism.
They are competence in language and culture, finding employment for migrants and friendship.
“We need to enable national community cohesion while allowing multiculturalism. For this, individuals need the sense and need to be sharing something or have something in common. Otherwise there will be no community because migration is here for the long run.”
University of Bern professor of sociology Professor Christian Joppke said employing migrants was a necessary goal, but the structure of migration in Europe stemming from family and asylum migration complicated the situation.
“In Europe, we have family and asylum migration as opposed to labour migration in other parts of the world. These migrants are low skilled and come from rural origins unfit for a prosperous economy. Unemployment is a chronic problem, but it is not reflective of the needs of society.”
Singaporean academic and former diplomat Professor Kishore Mahbubani said the European Union should look to Asean in addressing its inability to export economic development to manage the Mediterranean migration crisis.
He said the EU should create well-functioning economies, especially in North Africa, and failure to do so would exacerbate the crisis.
“By 2100, Africa’s population will be 10 times that of Europe and this (migration crisis) is going to be a huge existential crisis... and the answer to this challenge lies in Asean. To promote development in North Africa, look at the region that has fared well in economic development. Imagine a North Africa that looks like Asean.
“Engaging Asean and using it as the vehicle to transform North Africa is your passport to long-term security and stability.”