Welcoming International | Welcoming America

Welcoming International


Welcoming International, a program of Welcoming America, fosters collaboration among international partners to advance local-level welcoming of immigrants and refugees across the world. Our global vision is a world in which all people, including immigrants and refugees, have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, engage with their community, and fully contribute their talents – expanding prosperity and well-being for all.  We believe the work of accomplishing that vision begins in communities, where all sectors work together to build community cohesion and advance institutional inclusion.


International migration is at an all-time high with over 250 million people living outside of their birth-country, of which an unprecedented 66 million have been forcibly displaced.  A new movement has begun to take shape across the world to respond to this unprecedented phenomenon: the global welcoming communities movement. This movement currently consists of a very loosely connected web of localities all across the world. Welcoming International is helping the global welcoming communities movement spread, mature, and reach its full potential. 


Thus far, Welcoming International’s work has centered on supporting and connecting country-specific welcoming efforts and their key leaders. We currently provide the highest degree of support to partners in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, in addition to exploring initial engagement in other countries. We are currently conducting a comprehensive planning process to determine how to expand this important work with our current partners and in new locations around the world.



Welcoming America’s work in Germany centers on a transatlantic exchange between German and US cities and towns, as well as efforts to support local community leaders in utilizing positive communications and other strategies that build bridges and strengthen long-term integration. 

Our main engagement comes through the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange, which is organized and administered by Welcoming America, Cultural Vistas, and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America. The program is funded by the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), as well as by the US Department of State, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and BMW Group. 



The exchange provides a unique opportunity for communities in the United States and Germany to share promising approaches to welcoming and integrating refugees into local communities. Participants expand their networks and learn important new skills around issues such as community engagement, refugee outreach, positive communications, local policy development, evaluation, and many other areas critical for creating a welcoming community in which everyone can thrive. The program, through in-person exchanges and online interactions, focuses especially on promoting contact between residents and newcomers, communicating the economic and social benefits of a welcoming culture, and cultivating local leaders in the integration space. 


Welcoming America partners with the Scanlon Foundation and Welcome to Australia to share our model for supporting municipal level welcoming. Drawing on our approach, Welcome to Australia has since built its own powerful Welcoming Cities network and has adapted many of our tools and frameworks for the Australian context, including adapting Welcoming America’s U.S. Welcoming Standard to inform the development of The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities

New Zealand 

Welcoming America has worked closely with Immigration New Zealand in the build out of the Welcoming Communities program and their Welcoming Communities Standard, which was informed by Welcoming America’s U.S. Welcoming Standard

United Kingdom

Welcoming America is engaged in a knowledge exchange based consultancy with City of Sanctuary UK. In addition, we are working with Oxford University’s Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS) through their Inclusive Cities initiative to facilitate collaboration between cities from the UK and Welcoming America’s US network around innovative practices on various integration topics. 


For more information, contact Vanja Pantic-Oflazoglu, International Program Manager.