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United in Diversity

Our team is as diverse as Munich. We truly are United in Diversity, with people from all over the world, with different backgrounds, ages and orientations. But there is one thing we all have in common: we fight for equal opportunities and everyone’s right to participate.

The Migrationsbeirat

The Migrationsbeirat is an important institute. It represents the interests of people living in Munich who do not have a German passport. That’s almost 30% of the population! Most of them are not allowed to vote in any election, so the Migrationsbeirat is the only institute directly representing them. That’s great!

Or at least, it has potential. We see a few problems that we want to solve.

Our main goals

Increase the visibility and importance of the Migrationsbeirat

Many people don’t know about the Migrationsbeirat. They don’t know it exists, or don’t know what it does for them and how it can help them. This has led to very low voter turnout in the past. It was less than 4% the last time!
We are changing this by actively campaigning in the city, making people aware of their right to vote. And when we get elected, we will work hard to improve the information flow to our voters. That way, it will become harder for the City Council to ignore the input of the Migrationsbeirat.

Increase the diversity of the elected members

Currently, the members of the Migrationsbeirat are not as diverse as the city. Half of them come from one single country and they are mostly conservative and nationalist. We don’t feel represented by them. We strive to get more progressive, open-minded and diverse members elected. Our candidates come from 16 countries spread across 4 continents – which no other list can say about itself. But we don’t really think within national boundaries. We all face similar issues (did we already mention the KVR?), let’s work together to improve them!

Offer more information in other languages

Information from the government or institutions is often quite complicated. How can anyone expect foreign citizens to understand everything… in German?! Especially right after arrival this is not realistic.
We want to change this! We think that the official German version should always be written in an easy-to-understand way (“Einfache Sprache”). And as much information as possible should be available also in other languages – not only documents, but also all websites of the city administration (e.g. SOWON). Since the city staff has a diverse background, we would explore the option of offering appointments in languages other than German

Facilitate integration

It’s hard to fully integrate in Munich when you don’t speak German. So we will urge the City Council to offer more spots at integration and language courses and to expand the circle of people entitled to attend – everyone from the beginning!
We will also make a listening tour of Munich Grundschulen, in order to develop projects supporting non-German speaking kids in schools.
And we will seek to cooperate with Sportvereinen, since team sport is a great tool for integration!

Make Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR) more efficient and digital

Waiting times at the KVR are just too long. The KVR should hire more staff and – more importantly – implement a much higher level of digitalisation. We’re in the year 2023… Why do we need an appointment (in several weeks, if we’re lucky) to bring a document we could also simply send per e-mail?

Improve political participation for foreigners

Since we live, work and pay our taxes here, foreign citizens should be allowed to have their say! We will urge the City Council to grant the right to vote at local elections to all citizens, regardless of nationality. And we will fight for making the City’s civic participation platform available in more languages.

Proactively help foreigners to understand the German system

We dream of a one-stop Welcome Desk for foreigners: a place where all newbies can get information about how life works in Munich – in as many different languages as possible. How does the German school system work (“Realschule?”), how to navigate the health insurance maze (“Privatversicherung?”), what to do with financial issues (“Haushaltsbudgetberatung?”), etc. It should also make sure everybody who has a right to social security or social support can get it.
Additionally, we will support launching a Buddy system which would offer newly-arrived citizens the option to get a Buddy who has been living in Munich for a longer time and serves as an informal point of contact for all questions

Tap our full potential for the labour market

Having a job is a big step towards integration. And not just any job, but a fulfilling and well-paying job.
Many foreign citizens are trapped in the low-wage sector, often because they are not aware what their options are. We strive to provide information and support for changing careers (through retraining or vocational training).
We will do our best to make it easier for foreign students to enter the local job market after graduation. And companies need some help understanding what expats need. Getting official recognition for foreign diplomas and qualifications should become easier and faster too.
We also strive to establish a Buddy programme specifically for the job market. For all that, we will seek partnerships with the Job Centers of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit.

Protect foreigners from scams and exploitation

Not all foreign citizens are aware of their rights. We all know stories of employers and landlords taking advantage of this. We will demand the creation of a reporting office for such cases. And we will support initiatives to make foreign people aware of their rights as an employee, or when signing a housing contract.

Support refugees and the LGBTIQ+ community

We do our best to support those who are fleeing, who have lost everything and also those who are finding protection in our home city of Munich. We support integration projects for refugees. We want to improve counselling services for LGBTIQ+ people among them, and make sure they can seek protection if they need it.

What is the Migrationsbeirat

There are more than 450.000 people living in Munich who do not have a German passport – that’s 30% of the population! The Migrationsbeirat (“Migration Advisory Council”) represents their interests.

Its task is to advise the government and administration of the City of Munich on all issues that concern foreign citizens, such as integration and migration. It can do that when asked to, but the Migrationsbeirat can also proactively give advice, write statements, do suggestions or ask questions.

A few examples of topics that the Migrationsbeirat works on:

  • Right to vote in local elections for all people living in Munich, regardless of nationality
  • Ease of access to local authorities, for example with information available in English and other languages
  • Getting official recognition for foreign diplomas and qualifications
  • Supporting projects that fight racism

The Migrationsbeirat consists of 40 elected members. From March 2023 onwards, there will also be 10 more members appointed by the City Council. 

Who we are

Know our Candidates

  1. Javier Ortiz Barranco (Spain)
  2. Emmie van Oirschot (Netherlands)
  3. Zoran Imširović (Bosnia)
  4. Emine Çevik (Turkey)
  5. Alex Kuznetsov (Russia)
  6. Claudia Colella (Italy)
  7. Siniša Gajić (Serbia)
  8. Reshma Suresh (India)
  9. Udaya Nageswaran (India)
  10. Tatiana De Sousa Mendonça Mischek (Brazil)
  11. Taha Elmaadani (Morocco)
  12. Justine Hoareau (France)
  13. Omkar Sagari (India)
  14. Alice Montergnole (France)
  15. Dušan Sarac (Serbia)
  16. Giovanna Göbel (Peru)
  17. Romain Plasse (France)
  18. Bhavna Kochar-Aderhold (India)
  19. Mohammed Elsharkawy (Egypt)
  20. Roxana Bosa (Romania)
  21. Hayatullah Niazy (Afghanistan)
  22. Antonella Mariotti (Italy)
  23. Momchilo Velevski (Macedonia)
Javier Ortiz Barranco

Javier Ortiz Barranco

How often have you got the feeling that German administration does not foresee having to deal with foreign citizens – and when they do, they make you feel like you are an annoying exception?

We, the foreign citizens, make up almost half of the population of Munich. Without us, this city would collapse. The city administration needs to change its approach. It must understand it is the city that needs us, and not the other way around. And finally start conceiving itself as a service provider for all its citizens.

That is my main motivation for getting elected into the Migrationsbeirat.

I moved from Spain to Munich 16 years ago (after finishing my degree in translation and interpreting). I was very lucky to already speak German and know quite a lot about the culture when I arrived. But nobody should be expected to understand Verwaltungsdeutsch* – not even German citizens! And nobody should have to wait (and suffer stress under uncertainty) for months to get their residence permit processed! When highly qualified people end up losing their job, it is not only a loss for the affected person, but also a huge loss for the economy of the city.

* Verwaltungsdeutsch: overly complicated variety of German used in most administrative documents – including letters inviting refugees to their very first German course (!)

Emmie van Oirschot

Emmie van Oirschot

To me, democracy means freedom. Freedom to say, do or be what you want. 

Born and raised in the Netherlands, I am used to living in a country where democracy seems normal. I took it for granted. But events all over the world showed me I have to work to protect democracy.

I am an active member of Volt, the political party that has European cooperation and integration as its main goal. When I heard part of the Munich City Council wanted to get rid of the election for the Migrationsbeirat, I knew I had to step up.
My goal is to increase the visibility of the Migrationsbeirat, so that more people use their right to vote and so that the elected members are a better representation of the progressive population of this beautiful city.

Zoran Imširović

Zoran Imširović

I was born in former Yugoslavia (in Bosnia and Herzegovina). I am a pianist and founder of the European cultural platform “Piano Summer”, which organises high-quality international cultural projects in several European countries. As a cultural creator, I want to promote diversity and understanding, and in particular show that fellow citizens with a migration background are an enriching part of our society. 

I came to Germany as a refugee child without the care of my parents, so I have also had this kind of experience and would therefore like to strongly advocate for the needs of those affected. As a current member of the Migration Advisory Council, I have consistently advocated for the needs of the community. In particular, I would like to give the community of fellow citizens from former Yugoslavia and artists a stronger voice in the Council.

Emine Çevik

Emine Çevik

Munich is my second home. It is a city in which I feel free and safe, where I feel comfortable being myself. My love for Munich, however, does not mean that becoming a Münchener has been an easy process. Especially as a non-EU citizen, I have to acknowledge the constant struggles against bureaucracy and cultural barriers. I know from experience the overwhelming frustrations of having a limited understanding of the complicated processes, not being able to explain yourself adequately, and being a stranger to unspoken rules and social cues. It can be isolating, or even discouraging, yet we are not alone in this. Since I realized how many of us face similar problems and struggles, I have been searching for a platform to change this. My inquiry led me to the Migrationsbeirat, and I built up my courage to stand as a candidate. I want to take an initiative to make our difficulties heard. I want to be the voice of those who are trying to make Munich home. I am confident that I will ignite change by supporting progressive policies so that we can make Munich a welcoming city for everyone.
Alex Kuznetsov

Alex Kuznetsov

My name is Alex Kuznetsov. I am an IT engineer. After I graduated from the Technical University in Moscow, I worked in various large international companies.

I have actively opposed the policy of Russian President Putin and I still do. I am against this terrible, unjust, inhumane war in Ukraine. That’s why I had to leave Russia and now Munich became my new home. And I want to give back to the city and its inhabitants.

I am politically active, because I can’t accept the current state of things. For immigrants in Germany, life is like an obstacle course, and I want to break down those barriers. I know from my own experience and experience working with refugees, that the system is far from perfect. I understand what immigrants and refugees have to go through.

My priority is to improve the quality of life of other people, especially those who are most vulnerable: immigrants, refugees, representatives of the LGBT community. I want to do good in this world, make sure people don’t have to go through hard times alone. And to fight for equal rights, also for those who do not have a German passport. That’s why I am a volunteer at organizations that help refugees, including Ukrainian refugees, in particular MunichKyivQueer, LeTRa and others. That’s why I want to become a member of the Migrationsbeirat.

Claudia Colella

Claudia Colella

My computer engineer education has been complemented by business administration studies and led me to my current occupation as Product Manager for semiconductors in cars. At university, I experienced how the same subject can differ when you learn it in Italy, Netherlands, Sweden or Germany. At work, I experience diversity challenges every day: Japanese not sharing their dissent in larger groups, Americans not talking about politics or COVID, Germans being (too) straightforward, and so on. There is a lot of room for misunderstanding but also incredible room for growth. I’d like to focus on the room for growth, that is why I run for Migrationsbeirat. The vibrant international community in Munich puts the city in a great position for growth. Yet, too few actors take advantage of it. Foreigners like me have never heard about the Migrationsbeirat, even after 6+ years! So we should talk about it more, make it easily approachable and partner with as many nationalities’ representatives as possible. Next step is to make it interesting to a larger audience, starting with an up-to-date and appealing website. Prio 3, for me, is to focus on innovation, work, and continuous education, supporting foreigners in their journey towards fair, legal, and fulfilling employment.
Siniša Gajić

Siniša Gajić

As a native of Munich and at the same time a foreign citizen of this beautiful city, I am well acquainted with its sites. Since my childhood and to this day I have been active in various cultural and sports clubs, including on the board. This gives me the opportunity to give something back to our society in addition to pursuing my hobbies and to help shape cultural life in Munich, which is something that is particularly close to my heart.

The Migrationsbeirat is a very important institution in our city and it must continue to have an open ear for several hundred thousand citizens with a migration background, to be their mouthpiece towards the city administration and at the same time work active for the integration of these citizens, intercultural exchange and the promotion of such projects. I wish to promote the development of cultural life in our city through active participation in the Migration Advisory Council.

Reshma Suresh

Reshma Suresh

I am Reshma Suresh. I grew up in India and was always socially vocal in various ways. When I came to Germany, I tried doing the same at the university. But the issues discussed there were completely different from the problems I saw growing up and wanted to represent. I want to address the problems that I can relate to more and voicing the problems faced by immigrants is as close as I can get. 

That’s why I, as a part of United in Diversity, as an immigrant and as a student, want to bring the problems faced by the immigrants to light and make them noticed more.

Udaya Nageswaran

Udaya Nageswaran

I’m a Software Engineer who moved here for work. I chose Germany for the social security and quality of life it provides. 

I love Germany and especially Munich for hosting me and making me feel at home. At my “new home”, there are some pressing issues for immigrants like awareness of employee rights, availability of jobs and processing times of the foreigner’s office. These problems are not part of the mainstream topics in Munich politics because immigrants lack a strong voice. 

As a part of “United in Diversity”, I want to have a stronger united voice to make my new home better for everyone, including you, with your help.

Taha Elmaadani

Taha Elmaadani

Any cooperation is difficult as long as people are indifferent to the happiness of their fellow human beings. Therefore, as part of the community, I would like to represent the interest of Munich residents. So, it is of great importance to enable immigrant people to be accepted into society. This could be attained on several dimensions, including integration on professional life. After all, Germany is considered a country of work and the paths here should strive for the best possible entry.

My name is Taha Elmaadani, born in Morocco and have been in Germany since 2006. In Munich I have completed both bachelor studies in Business Informatics and master studies in Stochatic Engineering. Then I started my professional life. In the meantime I have been working in IT for over 6 years. I like to spend my free time with nice company. I am also very active in sports and I am looking forward to a lot of activities there.

In Munich I feel now settled and it has become a sweet home. I like the city life here. The city has to offer a lot of history, a lot of Bavarian culture, wonderful beer gardens and of course parts of the best cultural institutions in Germany.

Justine Hoareau

Justine Hoareau

Munich is a vibrant city with great opportunities and a big potential. When I arrived to Munich, I already spoke German, but the bureaucracy and rules were a whole new language. Knowing where to begin can be a challenge.

I am deeply convinced that with a better known and more diverse Migrationsbeirat, we can channel its potential and make foreign citizens coming to or living in Munich feel heard. Giving them the chance to share their issues, to learn from each other and most importantly to know their rights, so that they can feel more at home in their (new) city. This will be precisely my main motivation.

Our events

Women’s March – Justice, Peace, Unity

March 8th 2023, 16:00h – 18:30h

Start at Prof-Huber-Platz (University), march through Leopoldstr. towards Odeonsplatz

Info event “Political participation for everyone”, Bellevue di Monaco

March 9th 2023, 19:00h – 22:00h

Müllerstr. 2

Getting to know current and future members of the Migrationsbeirat, cultural center GOROD

March 17th 2023, 18:30h

Arnulfstr. 197

How to vote

How to vote
You have 40 votes to cast, one for each elected member of the Migrationsbeirat.

You can:

  1. Give all your 40 votes to one list. Just cross the box next to the name of the list and you’re done!
  2. Spread your 40 votes across various candidates. You can give each candidate a maximum of 3 votes.

More information on how to vote and a tool to practice can be found here:

How not to vote
  • Do not cross multiple lists
  • Do not cast more than 40 votes
  • Do not give one candidate more than 3 votes
  • Do not write or draw on the ballot
Who can vote?
Group 1:

  • all citizens without a German passport
  • living in Munich for at least 6 months
  • at least 18 years of age

The Munich local administration has a list of the people in group 1, the electoral register (“Wählerverzeichnis”). Everybody who is in the electoral register is automatically allowed to vote and will get a letter (during February) with all the information about how to do that.

Group 2:

  • Persons with double citizenship (so with German + other)
  • or who have been through “Einbürgerung” and received a German passport after March 18th 2011
  • living in Munich for at least 6 months
  • at least 18 years of age

Group 2 is not automatically in the electoral register. They have to request that in order to vote (by filling in this short application and sending it per e-mail to That must happen by March 3rd 2023 at the latest.

United in Diversity by Volt Munich

Volt is a political party that is active in more than 30 countries across Europe and beyond. Its main goal is to improve European integration. Only a Europe that acts together can solve our shared challenges.

And the exact same goes for Munich. Only when we think beyond national boundaries and national interests, can we unlock the full potential of the Migrationsbeirat.

Volt wants all citizens of Munich to have a voice. In the past, the turnout for this election was very low. Many non-German citizens did not use their right to vote, simply because nobody knew of the election. Volt wants to protect and promote democracy, so we want everyone to know about this election. 

And we want to get motivated and engaged people in the Migrationsbeirat to actually make a difference for non-German residents and make their lives easier. That’s why we support a progressive group of candidates in the electoral campaign: the electoral list “United in Diversity”.

Do you want to know more about Volt Munich? Visit

We stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainians and we condemn Putin’s aggression in the strongest possible terms. We do our best to support those who are fleeing, who have lost everything and also those who are finding protection in our home city of Munich.
We stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainians and we condemn Putin’s aggression in the strongest possible terms. We do our best to support those who are fleeing, who have lost everything and also those who are finding protection in our home city of Munich.