Weltoffene Kommune (“World-Open Cities and Communities”) Initiative - from dialogue to cohesion

Local cities and communities are vital venues for diversity, integration and participation. Today more than ever, they have to shape initial conditions that promote a “world-openness”and a good living together. So, how can this be done? The pilot project "Weltoffene Kommune - vom Dialog zum Zusammenhalt" (“World-Open Cities and Communities” - from dialogue to cohesion), funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, seeks answers to these questions.

Von links nach rechts: Claudia Walther (Bertelsmann Stiftung), Farhad Dilmaghani (PHINEO), Oberbürgermeister Mike Schubert und die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration Annette Widmann-Mauz bei der Auftaktveranstaltung in Potsdam
Von links nach rechts: Claudia Walther (Bertelsmann Stiftung), Farhad Dilmaghani (PHINEO), Oberbürgermeister Mike Schubert und die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration Annette Widmann-Mauz bei der Auftaktveranstaltung in Potsdam

The project, initiated by PHINEO and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, will support up to 40 new cities and communities all over Germany in their welcoming efforts until the beginning of 2022. The pilot project is working on three approaches to achieve this.

Here is an overview of the current pilot cities and communities and process facilitators

Our approach to a solution:

1. Self-check Weltoffene Kommune initiative

At the heart of this approach, is a self-check that helps municipalities to analyze their status quo in terms of their “world-openness”. Based on the results, local authorities plan their next steps in a facilitated workshop to further developtheir work on integration and diversity.

2. Support for decision-makers

Municipal decision-makers are facing a great challenge to respond toa heated social debate and to take a clear stand for “world-openness”and against discrimination and racism. In order to achieve this, the pilot project will develop formats of support specifically tailored to the needs of decision-makers.

3. Civil Dialogue

In order to be “world-open”, local residents must engage in dialogue, jointly shape community issues and develop inclusive narratives. Depending on the initial situation, the pilot project offers the possibility of holding dialogue events between local residents, administration and politics as well as players from business and civil society.

Participation in the pilot project


Here you will find detailed information on the project participation (PDF).

Whether your city and community is eligible to participate in the project will be decided after an initial interview. The basic rule is:

  • relevant decision-makers support the project and participate in its planning and implementation.
  • your city or community will provide a contact person for the project team for the duration of the project, who will ensure the local coordination and the involvement of relevant actors.
  • your city or community supports the further development of support services by sharing your learning experiences on the path towards “world-openness” and diversity with the project team.


What added value does my city and community get from participating?
By taking part in a nationwide, high profile pilot project within the framework of the National Action Plan for Integration, a positive and innovative label entitled "Cosmopolitan municipality" will be given to the municipality. The participation and accompanying support is free of charge. You have a learning experience on a professional level, e.g. on conflict management, but also on a methodological level, e.g. on discussion formats with different stakeholders. In addition, you can network and exchange information with other municipalities nationwide.
What are the costs for cities and communities?
Participation is free of charge and lasts a maximum of six months. You do not need to plan a full-time position for this time, but you should name a contact person. Ideally, this should be the integration officer or a person from the core integration team. This contact person organizes the on-site self-check workshop and establishes contact with the head of administration.
Does the form "Interest in participation" have to be agreed upon in the administration?
No, you can send us the form without prior agreement. However, we recommend that you discuss your planned participation in the project within the administration and win further supporters for the project.


We are looking forward to your message!

If your city or community is interested in the pilot project, please send the completed form "Interest in participation" to Bianka Certa!



Advisory Board

  • Dr. Franziska Becker, expert for research-based consulting for municipalities; conflict mediation in social urban and municipal development
  • Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel, Chairwoman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
  • Anna Dieterle, project management in the pilot project by Stiftung Mercator and the Council of Experts of German Foundations for Integration and Migration (SVR)
  • Anne Keßler, Head of Department SW III 3 - Urban Development Programme “Social City”; ESF in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI)
  • David Lubell, Founder and Chairman of Welcoming America
  • Holger Michael, Owner Loud and Clear - Strategic Communication
  • Dr. Deniz Nergiz, Managing Director, Federal Immigration and Integration Council
  • Marta Neüff, Board Member of the Verband für interkulturelle Wohlfahrtspflege, Empowerment and Diversity
  • Belit Onay, Governing Mayor of Hanover
  • Ayse Özbabajan , Deputy Director at the Department for Integration Policy of the City of Stuttgart
  • Dr. rer. soc. Bettina Reimann, Head of “City and Society” in the research department of Urban development, Law and Social Affairs, German Institute of Urban Affairs
  • Timo Reinfrank, Managing Director Amadeu Antonio Foundation
  • Dr. Elias Steinhilper, Expert at DeZIM Institute
  • Prof. Dr. Hacı-Halil Uslucan , Head of the Foundation Centre for Turkish Studies and Integration Research
  • Kirstin Walsleben, Head of division, German Association of German Cities

    Do you have any questions?

    Samera Bartsch

    Public Sector & Consulting
    +49 30 520 065 348
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