National Forum “Together Writing the New Stories of Refugee Integration”

On 30 November 2021, the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants in partnership with the Multi Kulti Collective and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees held the traditional annual National Forum on Refugee Integration on the theme “Together we write the new stories of refugee integration”. This is the time and place where we, together with state institutions, municipal administrations, NGOs and civil society organizations, businesses and refugees themselves, review our achievements over the past year, raise important questions for future activities and build new relationships and partnerships.

In the first part of the Forum, success stories of refugee integration were presented. Participants looked back at the past year – at stories of dedication, professionalism and creativity from all participants – the refugees themselves, the responsible institutions, civil society organizations, businesses. Worthy stories, with both successes and difficulties, but also celebration, recognition and humanity. Looking back brought out the most important lessons of the past year and suggestions for future initiatives and activities.

In the second part of the Forum, participants looked ahead – to the future of refugee integration in Bulgaria and our vision for the development of the integration system. The idea of developing a programmatic document “Manifesto for Refugee Integration in Bulgaria” was presented, based on cooperation and mutual support between stakeholders, which would help to pave the way towards a functioning state-led integration system for the maximum benefit of both refugees and host communities. The Forum formally launched the process of creating a “Manifesto for Refugee Integration in Bulgaria”, which will involve all stakeholders.

The event took place within the framework of the project “Advocacy for Refugee Integration in Bulgaria”, funded by UNHCR and the project “NIEM – National Integration Evaluation Mechanism”, funded by the EC AMIF.