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MiFriendly Cities Kickstarts This Year's RISING Global Peace Forum

Published Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The ground-breaking and innovative MiFriendly Cities project will celebrate reaching its halfway point as a key part of this year’s RISING Global Peace Forum.

MiFriendly cities

MiFriendly Cities was launched in 2017 as a regional project that addresses areas such as Employment, Skills, Active Citizenship, and Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the aim of making Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton more migrant friendly in a sustainable way.

Peter Barnett, Head of Libraries at Coventry City Council and the strategic lead for Migration said: ‘We are very excited with all that MiFriendly Cities has achieved as we approach its halfway mark - the RISING Global Peace Forum offers a unique opportunity for us to present the great work of the project. It allows us to showcase what really makes the project special: the expertise of professionals, driven and shaped by the vision and voice of refugees and migrants themselves at the grassroots level’ 

Through the event, MiFriendly Cities is seeking to help achieve its goal of laying down sustainable networks, pathways and relationships that ultimately make up ‘The Ecosystem of Peace’ – this year’s theme.

On November 13 a number of refugees and migrants who have worked with the MiFriendly Cities project will be sharing their valuable experiences.

The event will also hear from renowned speakers including Katharina Mattheis (Coordinator of Integration and Participation for Kiel’s Department of Migration), Lefteris Papagiannakis (Chair of Migration and Integration of the Eurocities Network and Vice President for Refugees Issues of European Coalition of Cities Against Racism) and Manuel Hoff (worked on migration governance and migration and development planning and humanitarian assistance in multiple countries) speaking.

Additionally, MiFriendly Cities will deliver a seminar on the 15th November about communication: the back bone for peace. The seminar will explore how communication skill impacts our ability to teach, learn and contribute to a peaceful community.

Together participants will look at overcoming one of the major barriers to communication – language.

The packed event will also see Coventry University, one of MiFriendly Cities’ 11 partners, launching its Interim Evaluation Report. This will cover the initial results of the project, with a focus on the attitudes and experience of migration across the West Midlands.

The report highlighted the following key challenges and opportunities for migrants and refugees in the West Midlands. 

  • Less than 5% of respondents of a survey of employers currently employs refugees / former refugees.
  • 70% of people in the West Midlands would not challenge someone else’s prejudice towards migrants, refugee and asylum seeker.
  • Social enterprises contribute £24 billion to the UK economy and employ 800,000 people. However, the sector has limited involvement from migrant, refugee and ethnic minorities. Lack of access to credit and funding alongside religious, gender and language barriers all contribute to the issue. As a result, opportunities for potentially high impact and community-focused enterprises and entrepreneurs are lost

More data will be released in the coming months and as the project concludes at the end of 2020.

This year’s RISING takes place from November 13-15 at Coventry Cathedral, exploring the theme ‘The Ecosystem of Peace’; how top-down political decisions, and bottom-up civic actions (and external factors) interconnect – as groups, communities and countries – to make us more secure.

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