Welcoming International | Welcoming America

Welcoming International



Welcoming International, a program of the NGO Welcoming America, supports and connects institutions across the world who are advancing inclusion on the local level. Our vision is a world in which all people, including immigrants and refugees, feel at home. We believe the work of accomplishing that vision begins in local communities, with all sectors working together to build community cohesion and advance institutional inclusion.

WHAT's At Stake For Societies?  

We work with our partners to help communities across the world address the following challenges:

How Do We Address These Challenges? 

We address these challenges by empowering welcomers on the local level, the level at which the most institutional change happens in the 21st century, to transform their communities into places that are extraordinarily inclusive. This transformational change process - which engages every sector in the community - is led primarily by the municipal government, civil society leaders, and immigrants and refugees themselves. By providing the tools and road map communities need to advance across the “welcoming spectrum,” we turn the art of making a community welcoming into a measurable and practical set of steps. 

Where Do We Support This Work Currently? 

We currently support this work through national partners in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

How Do Our National Partners Develop Welcoming Ecosystems in Their Countries?

1) National Network Building:
Our partners build and support national networks of towns and cities who are advancing across the welcoming spectrum.

2) National Welcoming Standard Creation:
Our partners collaboratively create and implement national standards for welcoming in their country. These standards represent the policies, practices, and processes towns and cities should undertake in order to be considered welcoming in a given country. Once a standard is created, the next step is to create an accreditation program, so that cities can be officially certified as welcoming.

How Do We Support Our National Partners?

We provide support to national partners in a number of areas. Our most important support comes in the following forms:

Do We Also Support Local Institutions?

Yes, we provide support to a small number of local entities in a number of areas, most importantly in the form of: 

  • Access to a global network of national and local inclusion practitioners, as well as to promising practices, and coaching. 
  • Support for piloting national welcoming standards at the local level 
  • Help with demonstrating the economic benefits of welcoming in your community

In taking on local-level members, we aim to accomplish the following over time: 

  • Support inclusion at the local level, across the world, and connect innovators.
  • Work with local members to test the feasibility and efficacy of the welcoming model in new countries, and identify how the model will need to be adapted in new countries. 
  • Build relationships, and identify partners to potentially scale the work – including the development of national Welcoming networks and standards - to the national level over time.  


How Can I Get Involved/Learn More?

If you’re interested in applying to become a member, please start by reading the following summary on membership. National and local entities – from government or civil society - can apply for a limited number of membership slots. If you feel like your institution could be a fit, please submit your information on this application. If you have other questions related to the Welcoming International project, please email Vanja Pantic, our International Program Manager.


More Background on Our National Partners?

Welcoming International supports its partner Welcome to Australia - and their lead supporter the Scanlon Foundation - to advance municipal level welcoming in Australia. Drawing on Welcoming America’s approach, Welcome to Australia has built a powerful, growing Welcoming Cities network and has adapted many of our tools and frameworks for the Australian context. This includes adapting Welcoming America’s U.S. Welcoming Standard to inform the development of The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities.

One of Welcoming International’s key partners in Germany is the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange Network. This network is a continuation of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE), a multi-sector exchange between U.S. and German cities which took place from 2016-2018, which was organized and administered by Welcoming America, Cultural Vistas, and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America. Welcoming International is working with a steering committee of local exchange participants, as well as Cultural Vistas and the Boll Stiftung, to strengthen and expand this new network. 

In addition, we are now also supporting our partners Bertelsmann Foundation and PHINEO in their Weltoffene Kommunen Indicators project. This project, which started in 2018, is working to collaboratively develop and pilot “self check” indicators - and in the process defining success - for localities across Germany who are advancing inclusion.

New Zealand 
Welcoming America has worked to support Immigration New Zealand - an agency of the national government - in the build out of its Welcoming Communities program. This program is currently focused on piloting a city network in New Zealand, as well as the development of a New Zealand Welcoming Communities Standard, which was completed in 2018. The New Zealand standard was informed by Welcoming America’s U.S. Welcoming Standard and the Australian Welcoming Standard. The program is currently running in 6 regions of New Zealand, where they are supporting localities to do intensive local inclusion planning, implementation and evaluation, with the goal of expanding the program to other parts of New Zealand. For more resources from the program, including sample welcoming plans, click here

United Kingdom 
Our partner in the U.K. is Inclusive Cities, a program of Oxford University’s Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS) with lead support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Inclusive Cities is working with five municipal governments - and their multi-sector partners - from across the U.K. They are helping those actors transform the way localities practice inclusion in the country, and plan to expand the number of participating municipalities, and scope of the project, over time.