Germany and European Integration:

Mini Conference 2017

Sponsored by the Embassy of the
Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, D.C.
During International Education Week (November 13th through 17th), SSU's German Program presents a Mini Conference that addresses migration into and within the EU, Brexit, the integration of refugees as well as other aspects related to Germany and the European Union. Two exhibits, lectures, a film screening, a panel discussion, and a campus-wide essay contest will offer students and other members of the SSU community different ways of thinking about problems of international migration and integration of immigrants and refugees; the humanitarian, political and economic aspects related to migration; the function of the EU and the uncertainty of Brexit,  as well as the role of Germany and the EU within the context of these crises shared by many other countries world-wide.
Supported by a grant from the German Embassy, this Mini Conference is part of the Embassy's "Germany: Making Choices Campus Weeks 2017" Program. This series of events around Germany and the European Union is organized by German Professor Dr. Michaela Grobbel, in collaboration with Economics Professor Dr. Florence Bouvet.
Downloadable PDF:
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11/13 - 12/8

International Hall

Exhibit: “Germany: Integrating Immigrants”
Provided by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a country shaped by immigration. Between 1950 and 2014, 44 million migrants came to Germany. During the same period, 32 million people emigrated from Germany. Migrants make up a slightly bigger share of the population in Germany than in the United States. The recent increase in immigration is a result of both the EU's freedom of movement and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. As a result, integration is now an important topic in Germany.
The exhibit explores the experiences of first- and second-generation immigrants as well as refugees, especially those who arrived in 2015 and afterwards. It provides contextual information as well as facts and numbers about Germany’s history, economy, and public policy. It presents individual stories from immigrants and refugees as well as from German volunteers and professionals striving to work toward successful integration.

Stevenson Hall, 2nd Floor

Poster Display: “The EU: A Kaleidoscope of 28 Countries”
Created by SSU ECON 313 Students (Dr. Florence Bouvet)


MONDAY, November 13th, 2017

2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

rebeccam"Empathy: Where Integration Starts and Islamophobia Ends?" 
Zinfandel 1000A
Lecture presented by SSU's Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant Rebecca Meier from the University of Paderborn/Germany.

Since 2015, Germany has accommodated more than one million refugees. This did not only cause logistical challenges in many cities but also more intercultural and interreligious encounters as most of the refugees came from Islam-dominated countries. German voters specified in a poll on the day of the German election this past September, 57% worry about a steady increase of Islamic influence. This is reflected by a greater support for populist parties, and verbal as well as physical violence against Muslims in public. At the same time, many politicians and citizens are working on integration processes to include the immigrants into German culture and society.
In this lecture both islamophobia and integration will be discussed in relation to the concept of empathy. Many scholars view empathy as a crucial part of integration because it supposedly helps understand “the other.“ Consequently, one might conclude that empathy is also useful for fighting islamophobia as it involves the fear of the “unknown.“ Fulbright FLTA Rebecca Meier will question common perceptions of empathy and apply new approaches to integration concepts and the context of islamophobia.

TUESDAY, November 14th, 2017

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

"Immigration to Europe in a Global Perspective: Opportunities and Challenges" 
Student Center, Ballroom B
Dr. Giovanni Peri from UC Davis, a nationally renowned expert in International Migration Studies, will talk about economic aspects of migration to and within the European Union. Dr. Peri is Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at the University of California, Davis and Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the Founder and Director of the UC Davis Migration Research Cluster. His research focuses on the impact of international migrations on labor markets of the receiving countries, and has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Economist Magazine.

TUESDAY, November 14th, 2017

7:15 - 9:00 p.m.

"Willkommen bei den Hartmannswilkommen"
Warren Auditorium, 101 Ives Hall
FLTA Rebecca Meier will screen the German comedy "Willkommen bei den Hartmanns" ("Welcome to Germany"; 2016; with English subtitles) as part of the German Film Series. This clever and thought-provoking German blockbuster about the refugee crisis was the highest grossing comedy of 2017. The film will be followed by feedback and discussion. Watch the hilarious trailer here.


THURSDAY, November 16, 2017

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

"Germany and the EU's Triple Crises: Brexit, the Euro, and the Refugee Crisis" 
Panel Discussion with German Deputy Consul Patrick Heinz, FLTA Rebecca Meier, Dr. Florence Bouvet, and Dr. Cynthia Boaz. Moderated by Dr. Michaela Grobbel
Event venue: Cooperage 2


Deputy Consul General Patrick Heinz, from the German Consulate General, San Francisco, acts as a liaison in the areas of economy, commerce, agriculture, technology, science and environment for the Northwest of the USA. He offers expertise on Germany's economy and trade, and provides information to the media and the general public in matters related to Germany's role in the EU and the international community.

Dr. Cynthia Boaz, Associate Professor of Political Science at SSU, is also an affiliated scholar with the UNESCO Program in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies at Universitat Jaume I, Castellon, Spain. Her expertise is in strategic nonviolent action, civil resistance, quality of democracy, and political communication and media.

Dr. Florence Bouvet, Professor of Economics, teaches courses in Macroeconomics at SSU and has started a new course entitled Economics of European Integration. Her area of expertise includes the European debt crisis, European labor markets, and income inequality. Her most recent article addresses income inequality and election analysis in OECD Countries.


FLTA Rebecca Meier is SSU's Fulbright Language Teaching Associate. She received her Master's of Education from the University of Paderborn, Germany. Her current research addresses ethical perspectives on refugee integration and novel approaches to radicalization.



Dr. Michaela Grobbel, Professor of German at SSU, coordinates the German minor program and chairs the interdisciplinary special major in German Cultural Studies. She is an expert in current cultural affairs in the German-speaking world, and her particular interest in ethnic minority studies, such as Afro-German and Romani history and culture, are reflected in her teaching and research.

MONDAY, November 27th, 2017, 5:00 p.m. -  Deadline for campus-wide Essay Contest!

Win $300, $200, or $100 Wolfbucks! The top three winners will also receive a certificate of recognition.

All SSU students are invited! Write a comparative convincing essay on one out of the following topics: "The EU and USA: Partners or Competitors?" or "A Critical Look at Integration Efforts of Refugees in Germany and in the USA." 3-4 pages, Times New Roman,12 pt. font, double-spaced. Include your name, major/minor, email addresss and telephone number.
Please email the essay as a pdf to Kate Sims, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, at

For more information about all of the events, contact Dr. Michaela Grobbel at 707.664.2637 or