Panel Discussion in Nicosia: 9 October, 2007

Panelists: Klitos Symeonides, Mr. Mallis, representatives of the District Council of Cesis/ Latvia

The Panel Discussion was organized by the Cyprus Adult Education Association at the ‘Notsios’ Restaurant in Nicosia on Tuesday, 9 October at 6.30 pm. Topic of the Discussion was ‘Integration of Migrants in Cyprus and Latvia’.

The Panel Discussion was chaired by Mr. Mallis with input presentations by Mr Symeonides as well as by 2 of the Latvian representatives. A total of 24 people attended the event; most of them were teachers, parents as well as ex-school inspectors.

The Cypriots present at the event described the situation in Cyprus with regards to the influx and integration of migrants and foreign workers, and a lively exchange took place among all Cypriots and Latvians. The discussion addressed the fear of many Cypriots that the country would lose its culture and its tradition with more and more migrants coming to the island. Integration measures by schools and local authorities were presented and discussed, and the general consensus was that the school plays a crucial role in stimulating integration. Latvia shares many of the Cypriot challenges, even though the situation is a rather different one. Resulting from Soviet times, Latvia has a very high Russian speaking population, and runs Russian TVs and print media. There are only few clear integration strategies developed at the local authority level in Latvia, and both in Cyprus and Latvia much more effort is needed to guarantee a peaceful multicultural future in these two countries.


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