On June 3, 2014, to celebrate the second German Diversity Day, the city of Heidelberg, in collaboration with the Intercultural Center Heidelberg, SAP, the SAP AppHaus, and Neue deutsche Medienmacher hosted a diversity event at the Landfried complex and transformed the former tobacco factory into a think tank. To tie in with the upcoming opening of the International Welcome Center Heidelberg, the event focused on the topics of migration and cultural diversity.

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SAP offered insights into the creative workshop technique “Design Thinking”, used at the SAP AppHaus based at the Landfried complex, and iterated upon societal topics like inclusion and integration. During two workshops, the participants collected insights about how newcomers feel in and think about Germany and what they wish. They then developed ideas about how to create a “welcome culture” in which everyone feels at home. At the end of the day, the workshop groups presented their ideas to the audience. One group acted out a newcomer’s visit to the public authorities. This role-play demonstrated that Germany needs to be more open to other cultures, to collaborate with them, and to listen to the people who want to join the community. Another group shared the insights they got from interviewing three executives. “In the case of higher education, ethnic origin plays a minor role. But integration is about meeting eye to eye, it is about the attitude”, they said.

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Dr. Eckart Würzner, Mayor of the City of Heidelberg, raised the question in his welcome speech: “How do we name the newcomers and how do we welcome them? It does not matter if they are executives, qualified employees or refugees. We have to welcome all of them as humans.” During another workshop “in favor of a language of diversity”, held by Neue deutsche Medienmacher, the participants discussed alternative formulations for the term “migration background.” As people would never refer to themselves as people with migration background, if they had to describe themselves, Heidelberg asked their citizens for new terminology. This discussion about terminology was probably the most complex and most emotional session of the day. The group came up with two new terms to replace the formulation “people with a migration background”: “people with international history” and “diverse cultural people”, to be shortened to “dicultural” people. 

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The Landfried complex was the ideal place for the diversity day. “In the SAP AppHaus we are proud that our neighbors consist of people from all around the world, as we see one of our biggest assets being a cultural mosaic. It is wonderful to be located in the Landfried complex next to the International Welcome Center Heidelberg”, said Heike van Geel, Design Strategist at the SAP AppHaus.

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