|U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities participates at Oslo dialogue meeting|
| [24.03.2010, 08:16am, Wed. GMT]|
|U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith participated in an interesting discussion about empowerment of immigrant women. Aftenposten.no has an article from the meeting, to which Special Representative Pandith has the following comment: "At the panel discussion organized by Abid Raja’s Minotenk last night, I emphasized that my mandate is to reach out to Muslim communities on a people-to-people and organizational level, to build partnerships based on mutual interest and mutual respect.When asked about Norway’s integration policies I noted that I have no place commenting on this issue, as issues of immigration and integration should be decided by Norwegians themselves.|
When an audience member commented that it is difficult to receive governmental funding for non-governmental organizations, I encouraged the audience member to persevere in her efforts and pursue additional avenues for support, such as partnerships with the private sector.
I emphasized the theme that one person can make a difference, and encouraged participants to develop initiatives at the grassroots level. I did not tell the audience that they should “learn from the U.S.” on issues of integration. Rather, I specified that Americans and Norwegians should learn from each other, emphasizing that the “mutual” part of the mutual interest and mutual respect framework means that the U.S. is interested in sharing ideas and building partnerships around the world."