AGI Profiles: Reem Alabali-Radovan
Mr. Matthieu Liebman is a research intern at AICGS for the spring of 2022. His duties include conducting research for resident fellows and projects, managing databases, and helping to organize and document events at AICGS.
Mr. Liebman is currently pursuing a BA in German at Georgetown University, where he also plans to complete a certificate in European Studies. His research interests center on memory politics and the culture of remembrance in Germany and Europe.
Aside from his academic pursuits, Mr. Liebman enjoys learning new languages. In addition to German, he has studied Polish at Georgetown and is currently learning Swedish and Finnish. He also likes to travel and experience different cultures. In 2018, Mr. Liebman traveled to Germany as a recipient of the AATG/Pädagogischer Austauschdienst Study Trip Award.
State Minister and Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration
Reem Alabali-Radovan was appointed Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration (Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration) in 2021. Annette Widmann-Mauz previously served in the role. Born to Iraqi parents in Moscow, Alabali-Radovan went on to work for the same refugee reception center in Nostorf-Horst that her family was welcomed at in Germany. As such, she brings the perspective of someone who has gone through the immigration system, and likely a different view on how to improve it. At thirty-one years old, she is the new government’s youngest Staatsminister/in. In 2020, she was the integration commissioner (Integrationsbeauftragte des Landes) for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Before being appointed a state minister, she was elected to the Bundestag for the SPD in 2021, winning a seat that had been held by the CDU for more than a decade. Given her own migration background, she has likely experienced xenophobia and other difficulties of having to integrate into German society. In describing her personal experiences and their impact on preparing her for this new role, she says that “the issues associated with my office have accompanied me throughout my life.” Thus, Alabali-Radovan could bring a new perspective on how to combat xenophobia and improve integration efforts. She emphasized this in an interview with deutschland.de, noting she “understand[s] not only the viewpoint of someone who arrives [in Germany], but also German policy.”
After Alabali-Radovan’s appointment, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Minister President Manuela Schwesig (SPD) called her personal story a demonstration of how integration can be successful. Other policy positions include her belief that children and families need more protection and support. She asserted in 2021 that a system change is necessary to improve conditions for all children and to make equal chances possible to them. She supports changes such as free daycare, free rides on buses and trains and more full-day offerings for students. In 2021, Alabali-Radovan, along with other SPD candidates, argued for a twelve Euro per hour minimum wage and a minimum compensation for part-time workers of 1,200 Euros among other requisitions. She was also recently appointed the first Federal Commissioner for Anti-Racism (Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Antirassismus). In this role, Alabali-Radovan will develop a national anti-racism plan and will coordinate the federal government’s efforts to combat racism. She also intends to create a national advisory center for victims of racism. She recently suggested that positions of authority, such as police officers, should be filled with more individuals who have a migration background. The goal would be to “reflect the diversity of our society.” These tasks align with some of Alabali-Radovan’s other objectives, such as increasing diversity within the SPD. She believes that the party “must become more attractive to young people and to people with a migration background,” saying that it often seemed to her as if she “simply had no access” to the party. Her office will be a part of the federal Chancellery, signaling the new government’s prioritizing of anti-racism and integration efforts.