Graz Migrant Advisory Council is beginning its fifth term with fresh drive: the council of nine, which was elected at the same time as the City Council election last November, was constituted in the City Senate Hall yesterday, 6 March 2013.
The Migrant Advisory Council represents more than ten per cent of the population of Graz - i.e. those 24,000 people who are neither Austrian nor EU citizens and thus not eligible to vote in municipal elections.
Broad majority for Council chairman
Emrah Alabay from the Kurd list was unanimously elected Chairman of the Council yesterday. "Representing as it does migrant interests, the Migrant Advisory Council is very important for the success of a functioning multicultural society", he emphasised after his election. Kurdish-born Turkish citizen Emrah Alabay is thirty-one years old, a trained engineer, and has been living in Graz since 2000. He was already a member and second deputy of the Chairman in the Advisory Council in the last term.
The two deputies also received the votes of all members of the Council: Croatian-born Buljubašić Jakša and Magdaline Okumu from Kenya, representing the African list, also received the votes of all Council members.
Other members: Edina Cokić, Graz Islamic Culture Centre; Özgür Kiyak, Kurd list; Pinar Kütük, Kurd list; Dejan Nikić, Croatian list; Sezgin Kücükyasar, Kurd list; Fereydin Zahedi, Islamic Association for Unity and Peace ;
The Migrant Advisory Council (previously Foreign Citizen's Advisory Council) was installed in 1995. The committee fulfils statutory tasks such as advising administrators and politicians, and maintains close contacts with associations and interest groups. "We will continue the work of our predecessors with full commitment, working to ensure peaceful coexistence of everyone in Graz, but we also require the co-operation of politicians and administrators", Emrah Alabay stressed. The Council is supported by its office, which has been managed by Godswill Eyawo since last year. "Migrants are an important part of the population of Graz", explains Eyawo, "and to take advantage of this great diversity it is important to ensure that everyone in Graz can play a part, regardless of where they come from. As the Migrant Advisory Council, we are very pleased to contribute to this end."