12/14 May 2021

IncluCities Study Visit

 First virtual study visit in Jelgava, Latvia.

On 12 and 14 May 2021 Schaerbeek with BRULOCALIS and the City of Jelgava with the Latvian association of local and regional governments  organised first virtual Study Visit.

The general objectives of this visit were to probe deeper into the mentee’s needs analysis and to develop ideas for change and their potential obstacles. Over the last year both cities and Migration Work have developed a focus for this mentoring scheme on supporting formal and informal language learning opportunities for newcomers in Jelgava. A first step to this objective is to better understand needs and support gaps in language learning in consultation with stakeholders and migrants themselves. A key element of the current framework are language and integration courses offered by the national government. From this background, they tried to find out which needs are unmet, and what could Jelgava city council do to address these. A specific focus in this lies in exploring the potential of volunteering, which is a key responsibility of the city’s Social Integration Department.


Introduction to the local and national context: local stakeholders, migration history, and current policies for integration and language learning support. Guiding questions:

  • Philosophy of societal integration, role of Latvian language and relationship to national minorities and migrants? 
  • Perception of future migration on the side of the municipality and of the national government - is there a perception that - for economic or demographic reasons- more migration will be needed and will happen?
  • Gaps in language learning support for newcomers and the potential role of the municipality?
  • Commitment at local level to do more to support integration and in particular language acquisition?
  • What kind of volunteering activities are supported, and how are they usually initiated? What could be potential incentives for newcomers to increase the potential of volunteering in language acquisition?

Read the full agenda here, check the coverage on @IncluCitiesEU, and don't miss the sweet story of Jelgava.

The COVID19 has prevented people to meet in person in the past year, but we boosted city-to-city collaboration with a language exercise. For this occasion, the representative of Schaerbeek learned Latvian and vice versa, the IncluCities contact point at the City council of Jelgava learned French.

Meet the driving forces behind this mentoring pair Maria Giovanna Zamburlini and Sņežana Zenovjeva.