BaselConnect PR en 2011

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baselconnect to promote collaboration between expats and locals in the Basel region The Basel Region, directly bordering Germany and France, and with its long tradition of welcoming foreign scholars, entrepreneurs and asylum seekers, has always been international. In the past decade, the number of expats (highly qualified foreign workers) in the region, many of whom are employed in the Life Sciences industry, has increased dramatically. While they are educationally and financially privileged wh
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   1   baselconnectto promote collaborationbetween expats and locals in the Basel region The Basel Region, directly bordering Germany and France, and with its long traditionof welcoming foreign scholars, entrepreneurs and asylum seekers, has always beeninternational. In the past decade, the number of expats (highly qualified foreignworkers) in the region, many of whom are employed in the Life Sciences industry,has increased dramatically. While they are educationally and financially privilegedwhen compared to traditional migrant populations, expats nevertheless requiresupport with integrating here. A unique half-day event, to be held on 29 August2011, baselconnect (www.baselconnect.ch) aims to promote expat integration andfacilitate connections between expats and locals in the Basel region. baselconnect is the joint effort of three long-term expats, Maureen CarlsonReinertsen, Kathy Hartmann-Campbell, and Lorraine Rytz-Thériault, who believe thetime is ripe for action. “The goal of  baselconnect is to enrich the Basel regionthrough tapping the under-utilized energy and expertise of the expat community”,notes Carlson Reinertsen. “We aim to define tangible projects and initiatives to helpexpats integrate more easily and to promote the sharing of resources andcollaboration between expats and locals,” states Hartmann-Campbell.According to the recently published study on the challenges and potential of expats inthe Basel Region conducted by the firm ecos, there are about 36,000 expats living inthe cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land alone. Many initially come with theintention of staying just a few years but end up living in the region for much longer.Unfortunately, their integration can be held back by barriers such as language, socialisolation in their daily environment, single language educational programs, andunfamiliarity with local customs. The resulting limited contact between locals andexpats stands in the way of mutual understanding. Locals may view expats ashaving deliberately decided to set themselves apart and expats may feel they arebeing rejected. As a result, both communities include members who may view each other with caution or suspicion derived from misunderstanding which can escalateover time. baselconnect involves expat and local, cantonal and regional stakeholders so thatthey can discuss these issues face to face.Representatives from Canton Basel-Stadt include: Christoph Brutschin , Head Department of Economy, Social Issues &   2  Environment; Sabine Horvath , Head of External Affairs and Marketing; Hans GeorgSigner, Department of Education. Hans Beat Moser , BL Head of Integration,represents Canton Basel-Land. Corporate representatives include: Valerie Guertler-Doyle , Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Novartis Switzerland; Daniela Seabrook ,Head of Corporate Human Resources at Straumann; Uwe Böhlke , Member of theManagement Committee at Lonza;   Christiane Schumacher , Head of GlobalMobility at Roche; and Caroline Luscombe , Head of Global Human Resources atSyngenta.One hundred fifty invited participants will engage in six theme workshops: InternetSolutions, Education, Language Learning, Welcome Information, VolunteerOpportunities, and Employment/Entrepreneurship. Participants will build on existingconcepts and programs and introduce new ideas for better connecting expats andlocals. “Representing public and private sectors, locals and expats, the workshopparticipants are people who want to be actively involved in making a difference in anduniting our regional community,” says co-organizer Lorraine Rytz-Thériault.The workshop outcomes will be presented to the Round Table Discussionparticipants who, by their presence, show their commitment to expat integration.They will be asked to give their views on and offer support for the proposed initiativesand projects.“In a time when walls are being built in various parts of the world to keep outforeigners, we want to build bridges to help locals and expats learn and benefit fromeach other,“ concludes Hartmann-Campbell. For more information, please write to us at: info@baselconnect.ch  The organising team: Maureen Carlson Reinertsen, Kathy Hartmann-Campbell,and Lorraine Rytz-Thériault welcome any requests for interviews on this emailID.  
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