About Welcoming International

Welcoming International is a coalition of initiatives advancing inclusion in localities worldwide. The initiative is part of Welcoming America, a nonprofit based in the United States.

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Significant milestones.

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Photo credit: Nebraska Appleseed

Representatives of Welcoming America are invited by German cities, through The German Marshall Fund, to exchange ideas and practices around the advancement of local migrant and refugee inclusion as well as social cohesion and “WillkommensKultur” or Welcoming Culture. This initial contact leads to ever-increasing ties between Welcoming America member cities and German cities.

The Scanlon Foundation and Welcoming Australia (previously Welcome to Australia) – already leaders of a strong welcoming movement in Australia – connect with Welcoming America about their planned launch of a Welcoming Cities program in Australia. A partnership between Welcoming America and Welcoming Australia is formalized, and Welcoming America attends the launch of Welcome to Australia’s Welcoming Cities program in 2016. This partnership represents an important milestone in the formalization of Welcoming International.

Welcoming America joins a coalition of U.S. and German-based institutions to launch the three-year Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE). This comprehensive exchange program, which connects multiple actors from 36 cities in Germany and the U.S. over three years, lays the groundwork for a larger-scale local inclusion effort in Germany.

Immigration New Zealand, an agency of the New Zealand national government, launches its Welcoming Communities program after meeting Welcoming leaders in the U.S. and Australia. New Zealand was the first national government to launch a Welcoming program.

The Welcoming International initiative is formally launched, with Welcoming America taking the lead on coordination of the global coalition. Welcoming America taps its founder, David Lubell, to lead the effort. Later in the year, David relocates to Berlin, Germany. 

In the second half of 2018, two German institutions – the Bertelsmann Foundation and Phineo – establish the program Weltoffene Kommunen (“World open Cities and Communities”), and join Welcoming International as Founding Members. In September, Welcoming International hosts its inaugural gathering in Berlin, attended by all national members of the global coalition.

Later that year, Welcoming International begins working with Inclusive Cities, an initiative of Oxford University’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), who later joins as a founding member of Welcoming International.


  • Inclusive Cities Program/ COMPAS becomes a founding member of Welcoming International. 
  • Weltoffene Kommune Program receives funding to scale their initiative into 40 German cities through the financial support of the Government of Germany.
  • Welcoming Communities New Zealand receives funding from the National Government of New Zealand to scale to “half the town and city councils of New Zealand (press release).” 


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