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Cambridge House attends International Federation of Settlements Conference 2016

Cambridge House attended the International Conference of Settlements and Neighbourhood Centres 2016 at the Urania Convention Centre in Berlin, Germany last month.

The International Federation of Settlements is an association of national, regional and local organizations working to strengthen communities around the world. Its mission is to build an inclusive global community by empowering, inspiring and connecting people who are working locally for social justice. IFS’ more than 10,000 members include multi-purpose, community-based organizations all over the globe, from North America and Europe to South America and Asia.’

As one of the oldest settlements in the world, Cambridge House is a long standing member of the of the IFS. To read more about our history as part of the international Settlement Movement you can click here.

The Conference theme this year was, On the Move – At Home in the World. Participants from around the globe shared experiences, practical approaches and best-practice examples in lectures, workshops and site visits in the area of refugees and migration.

Giulia Tavernari, Cambridge House’s representative at the conference, said:

It was inspiring and encouraging to see that all of these organisations from across the world working towards social justice and a more inclusive world. It’ll be fascinating to see how the commitments made at IFS ’16 will pan out across all the different member organisations in their home countries. I look forward to seeing where we all are in 2018!

All in all, it was encouraging to see the numerous possibilities that exist for developing programs and services that support new and old migrants and create inclusive and welcoming communities even in crisis situations. We came away having learnt a lot from each other and feeling empowered to maintain our ongoing commitment to social justice across the world.

Following the conference, the IFS committed to:

  • The language we use matters – being thoughtful to avoid dehumanising, exclusionary words is important. We should instead talk about others as neighbours.
  • We should engage in two way work:
    • We need to respond to pressing human suffering
    • but also work with the current residents and support and tackle issues such as poverty, racism, disempowerment. We should also tackle issues of xenophobia head on.
  • While issues are extremely complex and wide ranging as ISF we are posed to deal with complexity because we are complex and multifaceted. We are experienced in working in an environment where political systems create obstacles to equality for example.
  • Our work should produce a sense of belonging and hope.

We are looking forward to the next IFS meeting in Helsinki!

Check out this video to learn more: