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Multiculturalism and the World Cup

In the aftermath of the World Cup, Ana Vizzotto looks at contrasts and contradictions when it comes to multiculturalism.

News, TV programmes and social media continue to talk about the ongoing problem of immigration, from the extreme opinions that all borders should be opened or of those who want to build walls to the myriad of nuanced opinions in between. Immigration is a big issue right now, with many of the world’s leaders coming together to discuss solutions.

Ironically, at the same time as these discussions, one of the world’s biggest and most famous multicultural events took place in Russia. While watching the games during the 2018 Russia World Cup, I noticed the number of foreign-born players playing for the European teams and realised that this continues to increase. I wondered what would happen if immigrants were not available to play for national teams. Both the recent winners, France and Germany, are great examples of teams who have invested time and money developing and acquiring foreign-born talent and I wonder if these teams would have had the same success without their immigrant players.

Obviously, the current immigration issues being discussed are much more complex than the multicultural aspect alone, but it is always interesting to look at the contrasts and the many contradictions in the world.

Away from all the politics and policies seeking to restrict (or, in some cases, encourage) immigration and looking at companies the world over, we see how many organisations are hugely dependent on, – and fully invested in –multicultural workforces, workforces which include many individuals who would simply not be available were it not for immigration. Many companies choose to benefit from multiculturalism, and immigration, in order to thrive and evolve. Football is just one great example of this.

As someone working in Global Mobility for so many years, I truly believe that in a globalised world we need to accept multiculturalism is here to stay and we must find ways to use it to our collective benefit. In our own company, our workforce comprises fourteen different nationalities which certainly challenges us to create better and more effective communication channels. Our team members, as in many other organisations, are a source of diverse knowledge and experience which encourages more innovation and creativity – just like the players playing in the world cup.

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