Racism and Discrimination in Oulu

Three experts gathered for a round table discussion to share their experiences of racism and discrimination in Oulu.

Virtual Place

Oulu University


Start: 25.05.2021
End: 25.10.2021


Startup Refugees , Oulu Migrant Council

The racism and discrimination that manifests in Oulu during the day-to-day life of the city discussed by a researcher, a representative of an NGO and an active member of the city administration and politics.


  • 1 researcher,
  • 1 student
  • 2 societal stakeholders

Brief description of the results/findings

Panelists Boby Mafi, teacher and researcher in Education and Globalisation at the University of Oulu; Jamal Awad, Interpreter and Head of the Oulu Migrant council; Ahed Hussein, Development Manager at Startup Refugees discussed: How do we ensure the societal participation of all citizens in Oulu? The panel aims to pinpoint what challenges the inclusion of marginalized groups into our society. The panelists identified specific challenges related to the inclusion of marginalized group in-to Oulu:

  • Integration into the workforce and society
  • division between groups creates “bubbles” / segregated silos
  • inclusion in society while having an immigrant status / foreign identity – the high demands of “Finnish identity”
  • Language barriers, demand for high level Finnish language in several positions
  • Feeling of exclusion and not having a voice in Finnish societal discussion
  • Participation in democratic processes
  • Low voter turnout because doubts about democracy based on previous experiences in totalitarian countries, doubts about that their votes matter and that they could affect the society
  • Hate speech and discrimination in daily life
  • Acculturation processes promote segregation because they do not promote the process of learning the language by working and living in society (instead challenging intensive language courses that prevent the participant from working or being otherwise active in the society simultaneously)


UNIC CityLabs


Diversity and Inclusion

Type of Case

event | seminar


Finnish | English

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