Citizen or Stranger?, our documentary project is about one of the most hotly debated issues of our time: immigration and the integration of newcomers into our societies. At its core, our project asks profound questions about tolerance, respect and the changing nature of our communities.
Should immigrants be encouraged to bring along their culture as they can in Canada and Britain – or should they be pushed to assimilate more quickly, as in France, Denmark or Holland? Should we make it easy for them to become citizens with the right to stay permanently, as in the U.S. and Canada? Or is it better to keep immigrants as outsiders and guest workers, at least for a generation or two, as they do in countries like Germany and Austria? What policies help countries feel safe – and newcomers fit in?
Our documentary film will try to answer these questions in a unique and exciting way: instead of simply asking countries what they expect of immigrants, we will ask immigrants what they expect of their host countries. We will do this by following one extended global family from Somalia which is now scattered all over the world. We will travel the many branches of this family tree to see how each has thrived in their new country.
In this forum, we want to know what you think. Which national attitudes and policies do you believe create well-integrated new residents? And which create alienated and frustrated newcomers – and the problems that come with them? Though there once was widespread enthusiasm for multiculturalism, would you agree with many who say it was a failed experiment? And, what do you think creates a citizen, instead of a stranger?
Over the next month, we encourage you to participate in our dialogue and become part of a community that cares about this issue. There will be a number of polls for you to take. Links for you to explore. Videos for you to watch. Videobloggers. Experts for you to engage with.
Follow our blog as we continue the process of making our documentary.