Bertelsmann Stiftung and EFC roundtable on the role of religious communities in refugee aid

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

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To coincide with the current photo exhibition Challenging Chances at Philanthropy House, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the European Foundation Centre are organising a round table discussion on “The role of religious communities in refugee aid”. The discussion will take place on 17 May 2017 from 12:00 – 14:30 at Philanthropy House. 

In the last 10 years, the number of refugees and migrants has doubled. In 2015, over 65 million people were displaced around the globe, and 1.3 million refugees arrived in Europe. Consequently, many initiatives and measures have been promoted by civil society, foundations, governments and NGOs to face the “refugee crisis” phenomenon and to foster the integration of refugees in the countries of arrival.

Some of these aid initiatives have been based on religious communities. Many churches, mosques and other religious houses have opened their premises to refugees as well as organising refugee relief. Findings from a recent report on religious engagement in refugee aid, carried out by Bertelsmann Stiftung, demonstrate how Muslims in Germany are increasingly involved in voluntary refugee aid as Christians or atheists. Due to often living with two cultures in their everyday life, Muslims are important bridge builders in our society.

This round table aims to be an occasion to present findings on why more and more people flee from their country, but also an opportunity to have a constructive discussion on the specific integration aspect of refugees and look at what role religion and religious attitudes play for refugee relief. What is the role of religious communities in the refugees’ integration? Can we identify similarities of approaches? Are religious communities characterised by specific aspects? Is there potential that could be further harnessed? How can one learn from differing approaches?


Light lunch and introduction by Daniel Etter, Photographer “Challenging Chances”

Followed by a round table with:

  • Yasemin El-Menouar, Islam Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung
  • Christian Hanelt, Middle East Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung
  • Silvia Sinibaldi, Caritas Europa’s Director of Humanitarian Action
  • Representative of Muslim organisation/ initiative for refugees working on the ground (tbc)
  • Moderator: Ulrich Ladurner, DIE ZEIT

Please contact Leticia Ruiz Capillas at or Silvia Balmas at to have more information and register to the event.


17 May 2017
12:00 - 14:30
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European Foundation Centre


Philanthropy House
94 Rue Royale, Brussels, 1000 Belgium
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