Societal cohesion and social participation

Societal rifts – for example, between the young and the old, the privileged and the non-privileged, citizens and immigrants – pose challenges to our societies. The social inclusion of people from all walks of life, regardless of their social, ethnic, or cultural background is a key task for our society. It is of concern in different fields of societal practice.

We advise and support projects and programs that promote societal cohesion in urban districts and in rural areas, and the inclusion of disadvantaged youth and adults. Among these are people with low income and levels of education, migrants, and others who face discrimination. We combine social research with participatory methods that give people a voice: for example, we conduct surveys on the needs and resources for change in urban districts, or on living in a multicultural and diverse community.

With our research, we support the conceptual development of innovative projects and programs, such as through our evaluations of social mentoring projects in different urban districts in Germany. In the area of public health and reproductive rights, we evaluate projects such as expert networks on barriers to the public health system for pregnant refugees. On the European level, we work at the intersection of sports and migration, and implement projects, such as SPIN, where we conduct research on equal opportunities for migrants in sports, and develop good practice guides on sports and integration.We especially focus on the inclusion of women and girls in sport clubs and associations.

We support and moderate local networks that promote the education of youth in urban districts by improving the collaboration of public and private educational institutions, such as schools, kindergartens, and youth centers through research and consultation. This includes improving the coordination of services, educational networks, and local action plans.

When we conduct research, develop concepts, and provide academic analyses, we closely cooperate and coordinate with our partners, and ensure the participation of local actors. We believe that to effect societal change it is of paramount importance to enlist the support of as many actors as possible, and to respect their diverging interests.