Reem Alabali-Radovan refuses to be treated as a token migrant success story | Photo: picture-alliance/dpa
Reem Alabali-Radovan refuses to be treated as a token migrant success story | Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

Germany's Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Reem Alabali-Radovan said that she does not want to treated as a token example of successful integration efforts in Germany. Instead, she wants to keep a dialogue open between the government and migrant communities.

In an interview with the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland news agency, Alabali-Radovan stressed that she staunchly opposes the idea of "being held up as a model of successful integration."

"I am happy to give hope and courage to young female migrants. But … I didn't make it because I succeeded at integration better than others," she emphasized, adding that she went her "way despite all the structural hurdles that existed."

Alabali-Radovan also said that such hurdles still remain today for people with a foreign background, stressing that everyone has to deal with them -- and overcome these challenges -- differently and on their own terms.

A family of persecuted refugees

The 31-year-old politician, who was born in Moscow to Iraqi parents living in exile, moved to Germany with her family in 1996 as asylum seekers. She was only five years old at the time.

Alabali-Radovan's family background is part of Iraq's Chaldean-Assyrian minority, which as a Christian opposition group witnessed persecution under the rule of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

She is married to professional boxer Denis Radovan, whose own family also came to Germany as refugees, fleeing the authoritarian rule of former Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu.

Dialogue instead of tokenism

Alabali-Radovan said she regards her role as that of a mediator between migrant communities and the federal government and also as an advocate representing Germany as a contemporary destination for immigration. But she also acknowledged the limitations of her positions:

"I can't represent all communities; they are all diverse and take on very different positions," Alabali-Radovan said. "To me, it's just important to remain in constant dialogue with everyone."

Alabali-Radovan, who holds a political science degree, worked in reception centers for refugees and migrants before she embarked on her career in politics as a representative of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD).

Last year, she became the Commissioner for Integration in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern before being elected as an MP into the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, at the end of the September.

with AFP, KNA, Reuters


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