“Our goal has been to bridge the gap between newcomers and long-term Luxembourg residents, to make connections between them, supporting integration and inclusion," Amcham says.
The interviews feature, among others, Alfi's Denise Voss, Trinova managing partner Marty Dobbins and restaurateur and Bangladesh Chamber president Roy Suhash. All interviews were previously published in the Amcham “Connexion” magazine over a three-year period.
Amcham director Paul Schonenberg explains.
Delano: How do you define integration?
Paul Schonenberg: Integration is a process of settling in and becoming comfortable in your new surroundings, understanding the “rules” of how to do things (who to see, where to find them, what to say…what not to say). Integration is understanding the culture of your neighbors and others in your environment: how they think, what is important to them…and what is not. Integration is all about becoming one of “us” as opposed to remaining one of “them”. It is about learning the language or languages so you can communicate both to speak and to be understood… and to learn the customs and understand why they are as they are.
As a process it is a spiral of learning starting the first day knowing nothing and needing to learn everything. A huge spiral at first which shrinks over time as you become more knowledgeable with time… a lot of time. It is a joyous voyage of discovery and a frustrating overwhelming of senses.
Delano: Where did the idea for the book come from?
PS: The book is part of a 3-year AMIF (Asylum Migration Integration Fund) project that Amcham submitted to and was granted by OLAI (the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency) in 2015. The book launch. on 4 February, was the closing the event of the AMCHAM AMIF project.
Amcham’s AMIF project addresses the economic empowerment needs of third country nationals whose first or second language was English or Portuguese by two main activities:
A 6-hour newcomer’s orientation course available in English, Portuguese and Russian, bringing together all of the must-know information that foreigners newly arrived in Luxembourg need to know to settle in and function in this new environment.
And, the profile snapshots, which showcase interviews of new and long-term foreign residents. Published in Amcham’s “Connexion” magazine, the interviews put a human face on the individual expats, explaining who they are and what contributions they have or can make to Luxembourg. The interviews have now been published as a “book” at the end of the project.
In addition to these, we organised two events twice a year: cooking together evening events with the participants of the newcomers' courses and a conference-type event.
Delano: Why focus on third country nationals?
PS: Third country nationals (TRP) is the target population of the AMIF fund. It was probably considered, at the EU level, that other types of existing EU funds already support the EU population/nationals. This fund specifically targets the non-EU/third country nationals.