Supporting & Connecting Bottom-Up "Ecosystems of Welcome" | Welcoming America

Welcoming International



Welcoming International supports and connects institutions that are advancing inclusion around the world. 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? 

Participants in the Welcoming Network 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 Does This Work Take Place? 

Together with Founding Partners in these nations, we currently support work in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Welcoming International's Founding Partners in these countries are: 
Australia: Welcoming Australia and its Welcoming Cities Program
New Zealand: Immigration New Zealand, and its Welcoming Communities Program
Germany: Bertelsmann Foundation and PHINEO and their Weltoffene Kommunen Initiative, as well as the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange Alumni Network
United Kingdom: Inclusive Cities, a program of Oxford University's Centre on Migration, Policy & Society

How Do Welcoming International 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:

Learn more about National level membership here

Do We Also Support Local Institutions?

Yes, we provide support to a small number of local entities in nations where a national level partner has yet to be identified. This supportcomes in a few 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 scale the work – including the development of national Welcoming networks and standards - to the national level over time.  

Learn more about local level membership here

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 Founding Partners

Welcoming International supports its partner Welcoming Australia - and their lead supporter the Scanlon Foundation - to advance municipal level welcoming in Australia. Inspires in part by Welcoming America's Welcoming Cities and Counties Program, Welcoming Australia launched its Welcoming Cities Program in 2017. Since then it has built a powerful, rapidly growing  and innovative network as well as the Welcoming Cities Standard (Australia).

In Germany, Welcoming International supports our partners the 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. 

In addition, Welcoming International also supports 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, and 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.

New Zealand 
Immigration New Zealand - an agency of the national government - leads the Welcoming Communities program in New Zealand. 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 
Welcoming International's 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.