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06 / 09 / 2004
Manuel Marín, president of the Congress: It is easy to manage unanimity, but not diversity

Participants in the Dialogue "World Congress on Human Movements and Immigration" emphasized the strategic importance of responding to challenges that immigration presents in our society. Participants included: president of the Congress , Manuel Marín, first minister of the autonomous government of Catalonia, Josep Bargalló, and mayor of Barcelona and president of the Forum, Joan Clos.

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Clos, Bargalló and Marín agreed on emphasizing the opportunity the Forum offers to deal with one of the most pressing issues of our time. President of congress and former European commissioner, Manuel Marín, said that it is necessary for public institutions to find "a way to understand and correctly manage diversity" because "it easy to manage unanimity, but not diversity"

The first minister and acting president of the autonomous government of Catalonia, Josep Bargalló, shared his vision with dialogue participants of the region as a land of immigrants and emigrants. "Catalonia knows what cultural richness means, be it by will or necessity. Our country is diverse and we want to maintain that diversity. Multiculturalness strengthens democracy." Bargalló said that the Catalan government is inviting in the reception of immigrants because "it's not just investing in the present but the future as well" and went on to say that this year the government has begun a specific plan for recently arrived schoolchildren.

Joan Clos stated that, “we have to be prepared for the political, social and moral challenges posed by immigration” and added that, “it’s a matter of having more than one attitude, rather than a specific model.” Clos expressed three thoughts regarding the future. First, Clos argued that immigration is not a threat: “diversity and identity do not conflict.” Close then went on to say: “It is easy for us to be in touch with our own identity and culture, but not with diversity. Diversity is practically an unnatural value; it is not an innate recognition. We have to make an effort to believe in diversity.” Second, Clos pointed out the political paradox of immigration for the right and the left. Finally, Clos discussed the economic aspect of immigration and expressed his hope that the forthcoming Dialogue “From Washington Consensus to a New Global Governance”, which will be held in the near future, will serve to take a closer look at this reality.

Jan Karlsson, co-president of the Global Commission on International Migration, highlighted how paradoxical it is that scientists working all sorts of fields travel around the world to continue their training and share their knowledge and are not considered immigrants, whereas unskilled workers are. “Diversity is not just something we have to accept, we have to believe in it; we have to be aware that it in itself is a value and one of the dynamic elements of our society,” stated Karlsson, who pointed out the quality of the contributions made by those participating in the Dialogue. He also referred to the title of the emblematic work by George Orwell, “Homage to Catalonia” to express his gratitude to the Forum and the Congress organizers for making this gathering, “which is more necessary than ever” possible.