Meet the Candidates: Mohamed Okasha and Daniel Chiarello


For the first time ever, all foreigners and naturalized Germans residing in Leipzig for at least 3 months will be able to vote in the Leipzig Migrants’ Council selection process. The council has an advisory role to Stadt Leipzig on matters concerning the city’s international community. If you’re eligible to vote, you should receive a letter with instructions latest by March 21st (otherwise, contact Stadt Leipzig’s Referat für Migration und Integration). The voting will be open from 8 a.m. on March 22nd to 8 a.m. on March 29th, 2021, and applies to candidates split up into 8 geographic regions (here’s a list of all the candidates by region). The person with the most votes from each region will be selected to represent that region. The Leipzig City Council then appoints the next two with the most votes for the remaining positions, for a total of 10 representatives.  

In its ongoing “Meet the Candidates” series, LeipGlo is running these Q&A’s with Leipzig Migrants’ Council candidates who reach out to us, as they come into our inbox (SEE ALL PUBLISHED ONES HERE). If you’re a candidate and would like to be featured here, email a photo of yourself with attribution to and indicate that you would like to receive the link to fill out the questionnaire online. We will be accepting questionnaires also during the voting period.    

Mohamed Okasha, Egypt

Geographic region for vote: Nordafrika

Mohamed Okasha photo
Mohamed Okasha, photo (c) Nader Gadelrab, Spectral Interaction Photography

Who are you? Tell us a little bit about you.

I was an activist in the Egyptian revolution in 2011, and after the coup, I came to Germany. I finished my M.A. in German as a Second Language at the University of Leipzig and am working towards a PhD in the field.

I have broadened my political activism in Leipzig. I have counselled refugees and founded associations and initiatives to help migrants and refugees gain more political participation.

I am currently working as a project manager in a migrant organisation where I have instigated a new training for and with migrants in Saxony.

When and why did you move to Leipzig?

In 10/2013 to study.

Why are you running for the Leipzig Migrants’ Council? What are your goals?

I am running for the Migrant Council because I am convinced that we can use this instrument for change, both in local politics and in the city administration. My main goal is to promote the political participation of migrants. I would also like to stand up for the migrants at the city administration if they have difficulties.

I would also like to campaign for the teaching of their native languages in schools for the children.

Have you been involved in politics before? If so, where and in what capacity?

I have been an activist for years, both in Egypt and Germany. I have worked as a social worker for refugees for three years and have been the spokesperson for Migration and Integration in Paunsdorf and Grünau.

It was my job at at the Migrant Association (DSM) to coordinate the existing migrant councils in Saxony, connect them with each other and try to set up new migrant councils. During this time I met many activists as well as politicians who are working in the field. And I am currently running a political training project to empower and strengthen people of color and migrants in Saxony.

What do you wish was different in Leipzig for foreigners?

The decisions of the Leipzig City Council affect all inhabitants of Leipzig, also the foreigners. That’s why they should have a say in what is decided for them and be able to actively participate in the decision making process.

Daniel Carmelo Chris Chiarello, Italy

Geographic region for vote: Nord-, West- und Mitteleuropa

Daniel Chiarello photo
Daniel Chiarello, photo (c) Hedvika Pechancová

Who are you? Tell us a little bit about you.

Hello! 🙂 I’m Daniel. I come from Italy. And have been studying General Management here since 2016.

When and why did you move to Leipzig?

I arrived here in 2013 for my Erasmus internship and then stayed here to be near my family. We have here an Italian gelato shop and an Italian pizzeria. I decided to be near because I loved the vibe of the city.

Why are you running for the Leipzig Migrants’ Council? What are your goals?

Let us change Leipzig together!

The city has changed enormously since I arrived 2013. I think now is the moment for Leipzig to do the biggest step. I want a Leipzig that is “discrimination-free” and I will work for it from day one.

We should start from the schools and we should continue through the places where there are fewer foreigners to let them understand we are a big resource for the city.

Have you been involved in politics before? If so, where and in what capacity?

I have never been part of politics. But I’m looking forward to start.

What do you wish was different in Leipzig for foreigners?

It’s high time that there will be no more problems because of a different pronunciation or for a different document. From the smallest things in the supermarket to those with authorities, it’s time to change.

People should understand that we are part of the society, part of the companies, part of the universities, part of the daily life.

What is the best, worst or most memorable experience you have had as a foreigner in Leipzig? (Optional question)

The most memorable experience is being on the other side. When I arrived here I was the one needing help.

Since 2018 I’m the one helping the students arriving in Leipzig from abroad.

The worst is the micro-discrimination happening in daily life.

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