Call for Contributions

Last year, something incredible happened: hundreds of thousands of people crossed numerous national borders on their own initiative, and managed to reach Germany. When it became apparent that the German government would neither be taking appropriate action, nor providing for the needs of the new arrivals, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people from the established population responded spontaneously, and, together with the refugees, created structures of solidarity and understanding. Together, these people have organised public celebrations and stood up to
attempts by right-wing extremists to stir up hatred. Moreover, instead of relying on conventional institutions, they have developed a broader, transnational process. This process looks towards a future society in which the questions of fair distribution, belonging and social rights have been defined in a different way.

Other people have reacted differently to the current situation, and their opposition has been expressed through a sharp rise in racism. These individuals reject the idea that the current situation presents a common challenge. Instead, they view it as a competitive struggle in which they are fighting for the scraps left over from the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth. Their racism has garnered broad media coverage; it has manifested itself in far-right parties and marches or processions, in arson attacks and assaults, in the increasing importance placed on national borders, and in the establishment of inhumane holding camps. Moreover, it has led refugees to be deprived of their rights at an unprecedented level due to asylum packages that were cobbled together undemocratically. In the resultant nationalist turmoil, countless solidarity-based projects and initiatives, and numerous jointly-achieved successes, have lost their voice and their visibility. The summit in Leipzig intends to change this!

On the one hand, the summit is aimed at putting the dispersed, yet highly-connected and effective, humanist, determined, independent and solidarity-based movement back at the heart of the debate. Moreover, it should provide the movement with a voice that can no longer be ignored. On the other hand, it aims to forge a departure from the welcoming movement and towards a culture of the right to stay, a culture that properly takes the needs of its numerous stakeholders into account. If you are involved in organising donations of clothes, in soup kitchens, refugee groups, antiracist contexts, aid projects and initiatives, volunteering, art, activism, networking, protesting, if you are unhappy with how things are or are active within institutions, associations and organisations and fight for a better world, we hope to see you at this summit. We also hope that you will take part in and shape the summit and this includes participating in the run-up.

You can get involved in a number of ways:

1. Help draft the idea behind the summit

We intend to discuss the structural opportunities, political challenges and social opportunities provided by a summit such as this, which has the potential to bring together ‘the many’ and ‘the diverse’ and place them on an equal footing. The discussions will take place during the run-up to the summit as decentralised consultations with people involved in distributing information. Would you like to take part? If you are interested, please let us know and we will provide you with more information:

2. Take part in workshops and panel discussions

The introductory panels and parallel workshops are to be developed with four issues in mind. In order for us to be able to work through your suggestions properly, please ensure they are related to these issues. You are welcome to expand on the issues, however, especially if you have a suggestion on how to broaden the content or about potential speakers.
1. Experiences: What has happened over the last 12 to 24 months? Which structures and processes have evolved? Have new alliances sprung up? What knowledge has been gained? What has been discovered? How has solidarity developed and been consolidated?
2. Struggles: Which obstacles have had to be overcome? Which struggles have been fought? Which tactics have been developed? Which structural, institutional and everyday difficulties have had to be mastered? How have they been addressed? What is still ‘on the to-do list’?
3. Disputes: What were and are the dividing lines between the diverse forms of welcoming culture with its activists in different places (from initiatives, to institutions, to movements)? Which problems have arisen from the various positions and hierarchies? What are the limits of solidarity? How were these and other limits dealt with? What has been helpful and supportive during this process?
4. Visions: How can we get from ‘arriving’ to ‘staying’? How can solidarity-based structures be consolidated? How can we influence established structures? What would it take to permanently close the divisions that have developed along racial lines?

3. Help with the transit lounge

The transit lounge is aimed at providing diverse initiatives, organisations, associations and institutions with a stall to present their work. During the entire summit, the transit lounge will be the place to meet other people, share information and network. Would you like to run a stall? Or can you think of a more creative way to present yourselves and
your experiences?

4. Get involved in a cultural intervention

The workshops, presentations and interventions held at the summit should reflect the diversity of the movement. Moreover, they are to be based on more than just discussions and will also include other formats from film and slide shows to readings, music and much more: feel free to express yourself.

5. Sign our supporters’ list

The summit will only be able to unfold the potential provided by welcoming culture if numerous initiatives and groups not only attend and participate, but also invite other people and groups to Leipzig, and make the summit their own. Encourage your initiative or organisation to sign our ‘Welcome to Stay’ supporters’ list. Let everyone know how diverse this movement really is and the range of organisations that stand together under the ‘Welcome to Stay’ banner.
Please submit your suggestions and contributions no later than April 15 to this website (just leave a comment below) or send them via email to

Initiativkreis welcome2stay, 22.03.2016

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