Employment Integration Workshop for Qualified Migrant and Refugee Professionals

Companies’ staff coach migrant professionals to help them integrate the local job market

In collaboration with :

What it’s about


In collaboration with the University of Geneva, we organise the pairing of 20 qualified refugee professionals (coachees) with 20 professionals willing to coach them among a company’s staff. The pairs will meet online for a 30-minute coaching session once every other week for 3 to 5 months.

The online coaching sessions will end with a one-day physical workshop at the company’s premises, as soon as the Covid-19 policies will allow it, where the pairs will meet physically and where the company will have the opportunity to hire potential candidates.


They are part of the 150 migrant and refugee professionals registered at the University of Geneva and enrolled into a program – called Horizon Académique – supporting their academic and professional integration. They have various qualifications, in many fields, gained in their home country or/and in Switzerland. Their language skills are very varied and their life experiences usually make them very determined and highly motivated candidates.

Diversity and CSR strategies


This workshop is a concrete initiative to develop a diverse workforce. Women and men from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds get into the company’s HR radars. Each company opens at least 2 internships or regular working contracts to recruit 2 partcipants.


Implementing this project is an opportunity to be in line with the new regulation trends, in particular the counter-project adopted last November 29th, encouraging corporations to provide an annual non-financial report on the way they tackle social, environmental and human-rights issues, and their corresponding investments in these fields. Such project is a clear social and staff investment and could be reported as such. For more info : please see art. 964ter, al.1 and al.2 of Code des Obligations, the text will be definitively adopted if no referendum is raised within 100 days following the 29th November’s votation.


This is a turnkey solution where we provide the following :

If you are a company willing to recruit qualified migrant and refugee professionals, please contact us:


Ms. Amal Safi ms.amal.safi@gmail.com
+41 79 272 52 49

Horizon Académique Uni Dufour, Rue Général-Dufour 24, 1204 Genève, +41 22 379 77 83

Pictures by Bertrand Carlier

Summary for Non-Financial Reports

In order for the company’s to keep track of its investment into this CSR action, we will provide with a report summarizing the company’s effort, the people involved, the activities performed and the outcomes of the project.

For companies with 500 employees or more, a balancesheet total of 20 millions CHF or 40 millions CHF of revenue, the counter-project of the Responsible Business Initiative (adopted on 29th of November in Switzerland) requests a yearly non-financial report describing actions, measures, indicators being implemented as well as the company’s performance in the fields of staff and social matters, among others. See art. 964ter of the Code of Obligations. If no referendum is raised 100 days after its adoption, i.e. on March 9th, this non-financial report should be compulsory early 2022, thus describing the actions effected the year before.

This integration workshop for qualified migrant and refugee professionals is one way to have a social impact and another to increase diversity within a company’s workforce.

Internal and External Communication

In order to make the most of the company’s investment into this workshop, we can organise the shooting of a video upon the company’s demand. We would prepare specific questions for the people involved into the project to answer and we will shoot during the different parts of the workshop. This video could be used internally and externally, published on social media to communicate about the company’s CSR strategy. We usually provide 2 versions, one short video of 45 secondes, which acts as a trailer, and another of 4 to 5 minutes to describe the company’s approach more in detail.

A photo shooting can also be organised, on top of it, or as an alternative, for communication purposes.

Ongoing Assistance

We remain at the coaches disposal during the length of the project to answer their questions. If the coaches don’t know how to answer their coachee’s questions, if they need specific assistance on a specific topic, if they need more support to run their coaching sessions, we can help anytime by phone or by e-mail.

Gala Diversity

Celebrating professionals of African descent

The 1st edition of the Gala Diversity 2020 – Celebrating Swiss professionals of African descent happened on September 18th in Geneva. It has gathered about 50 participants from all ethnic background interested in promoting diversity in society and in the economy.

Why this Gala ?

Corporate Human Resources campaigns in favour of diversity very often address gender inequality and LGBTQIA+ issues, leaving ethnic diversity out of the debate. Beyond the corporate space, the variety of the many African identities still seem fuzzy in collective representations, and therefore has an impact on the representation of people of African descent themselves within the Swiss and European societies, at work and in the public space.

This Gala is therefore aimed at actively contributing to a more granular perception of Europeans of African descent, and showing how rich for business and society diverse backgrounds are.

Speakers 2020

Amal Safi
Eliezer King
Amani Bathily
Simon Ntah

Gala Diversity 2021 – Innovation & Diversity award

During the next edition of the Gala, the price “Innovation & Diversity” will be awarded to an innovative entrepreneurial, intrapreneurial (within a company), academic, artistic or media-related idea.

If you like to apply to the price and know more about the detail, please click below.¨

Eliezer King talk
A famous African character in Swiss History
Simon Ntah talk
What people of African descent have achieved
Amani Bathily
The need to get organised

Summary Video Diversity Gala 2020

Trailer Diversity Gala 2020

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

Simon Ntah

Lawyer at the bar of Geneva since 2005, after having completed an outstanding academic record at the Universities of Geneva, Utrecht (NE), and San Diego (USA), Simon Ntah is an attorney engaged against discri-mination, and used to plead publicized criminal cases.

Simon will discuss the notion of cultural legacy. As world citizens, our cultural heritage only makes sense when you share it, and it can be enriched only when exposed to others. Discovering the other is also getting to know yourself and enriching your- self, as well as giving meaning to your path..

Simon’s talk will be in French.

Diversity represents a business advantage… but hiring a diverse workforce is not enough.

A diverse workforce does not necessarily improve business performance. It might even reveal to be counterproductive in many ways, such as complicating working relationships between colleagues who are not used to work together, or lead to less commitment and satisfaction from individuals not used to work with diverse people.

Diversity refers not only to gender, but encompasses ethnic background, age, sexual orientation, cultural (values, beliefs, ways of thinking and processing information) and human (disability, physical differences, personal preferences, life experiences) multiformity.

Downloadable article

Therefore, it is key to build an efficient management of a diverse workforce in order to leverage the multiple opportunities and comparative advantages that diversity can bring to a business.

But first, what means diversity?

Diversity usually refers to gender, i.e. a fair representation of men and women. However, we define diversity as encompassing also ethnic background, age, sexual orientation, but also cultural characteristics : values, beliefs, ways of thinking and processing information; and human aspects: physical differences, personal preferences, life experiences and disability. Diversity is multidimensional and is reflected in one individual in various ways. And on top of that complexity, not all diversity components are perceived by professionals at the workplace as a source of discrimination.

According to a research reviewing empirical research and theory done by Jayne, from Ford Motor Company and Dipboye from the University of Central Florida, here are the 3 arguments to promote diversity at the workplace, and practical steps HR practitioners can take.



A global economy requires that organisations have a diverse pool of employees who can deal with an international customer base. This opens the way to a greater market share.


Competition for the best talents requires an organisation to enlarge its candidates supply to a diverse labor pool with a diverse set of knowledge, hard and soft skills and experiences.


Demographic diversity unleashes creativity, innovation and improved group problem-solving, which in turn increase the competitiveness of the organisation.

However, these three key elements do not come in simply hiring people with diverse backgrounds. The organisation has to set up programmes and metrics to assess their results in order to really enjoy the business comparative advantage of a diverse workforce

The types of programmes to make the most of a diverse workforce

Before setting up programmes, an organisation must communicate to its staff the rationale behind those diversity initiatives, and which diversity the organisation is aiming for. In other words, the management committee must explain why the organisation is allocating resources fo a diverse workforce; and how it would like the workforce to look like in the future.

This will allow employees to assess the validity of the narrative, and increase the commitment and loyalty of a range of employees being in line with the values of their company.

The company should therefore explain the underlying reasons of such a strategy for diversity ? Is it for ethical reasons? For equity? Or is it to align with the demographics changes happening in society ?

Once the rationale and the diversity representation are clear for the organisation and transparently communicated to the staff, then the programmes can take place, here are some concrete examples, with their corresponding metrics to measure their efficiency.



Recruit, retain and develop a diverse workforce.

  • Number of professionals with the desired diversity background hired in year x, as a percentage of total new joiners.
  • Number of professionals with the desired diversity background have left in year x, as a percentage of total leavers.
  • Number of provided diversity-based programmes (such as mentoring, coaching, trainings), as part of the total development programmes provided in year x.

Developing external relationships with underrepresented groups, such as professionals with a refugee status, young apprentices, long-term unemployed professionals, professionals with disability.

  • Number of career fair events aimed at the desired diverse background candidates, as a percentage of total career fair events in year x.

Reward success in achieving and maintaining diversity

  • Credit a team within the company who has successfully managed to retain diverse talents for x years, OR organised a diversity event (see programme 2) and award the team with internal communication and a bonus.

Trainings to settle conflicts and to neutralise discrimination behaviours.

  • Number of such trainings held as percentage of total trainings provided in year x.
  • Ratio of attendance to these trainings on the total of attendance to all trainings in year x.

Cross-departmental team dedicated to diversity and working in close collaboration with the management committee.

  • Existence of such a team
  • Number of appointments held between the team and the management committee.
  • Representativity of the company’s departments into the diversity team.

It is important to emphasise that the probability of success of those programs is likely to depend on context factors, such as organisational culture, corporate strategy, working culture, types of jobs, values and motivations of the people. It is therefore necessary to have an extended analysis of the above-mentioned aspects before designing and implementing programmes promoting diversity.

In conclusion, a diverse workforce is a double-sword. If effectively promoted and managed, it can unlock a great potential of skills, market competitiveness, agility, all that in an inspiring and dynamic workplace. On the contrary, with a blurred diversity strategy line, it will disrupt working processes and lead to unsatisfied employees. Organisations must get ready before going for diversity.


Jane, Michele E.A., & Dipboye, Robert L. (2004). Leveraging Diversity to Improve Business Performance : Research Findings and Recommendations for Organizations. Human Resource Management, Winter 2004, Vol.43, No.4. Pp 409-424.

About the author

Amal Safi is the founder of the House of the Mighty and holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Lausanne, an MSc in Comparative Politics (Politics & Markets) from the London School of Economics and a CAS in Accounting and Finance from HEC Lausanne.

“As long as the lions won’t have their historians, hunting stories will tell the hunters’ feats.” – African proverb


Passionate about writing, music and History, inherited the precious genes of a significant part of the people in the world.

Eliezer was born in the Dominican Republic, from Dominican parents. He migrated to Switzerland when he was 12. Interested in understanding racism at an early stage, Eliezer invested a significant part of his life trying to explore the origins of this ideology and why it would harm him and his melanin-pigmented fellows.

As previously mentioned, during his talk, Eliezer will attempt to be the historian of the lions and the lionesses, who will certainly recognize themselves. He will mention the outstanding trajectory of Saint Maurice, patron saint of Valais, Annibal Barca, one of the most talented military strategists born in Carthage (today Tunisia) or Alexandre Dumas, writer of French and Haitian descent and others more recent characters who have left their mark on History. Eliezer’s talk will shed light on a past made of unbreakable links between the people of the world.

If Eliezer would have to sum up his cultural heritage, he would only say one word : self-determination.

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Eliezer King talk