Culture, Heritage and Diversity

 

Round table "Intercultural policies of the modern city"

 

On 27-28 April, the Development Centre "Democracy through Culture" in Kyiv organized the round table "Intercultural policies of the modern city" to share the experiences of two cities participating in the Intercultural Cities programme, Lublin and Melitopol. Together with potential new network members, the Shevchenko district in Kyiv and other cities, perspectives for the programme and its future development were discussed. The idea was supported by the Polish Institute in Kyiv and the Shevchenko district administration. The two-day round table focused on intercultural policies at the local level, stakeholders and their roles in the process, the preparation and distribution of information and future visions.

 

Representatives of cities presented their achievements from the last two years and described the mechanisms of local intercultural policy development and implementation. A series of cultural events organized in Lublin within the framework of an intercultural programme, as well as a conceptual development of the flagship project in Melitopol (design of an intercultural park created by Stadslab master class in April, 2010), were both commended.

 

As the round table participants highlighted, the main difference between the Polish city and its Ukrainian counterpart was the competence of local auhtorities and their dependence on the central or regional government. Furthermore, the relations with civil society organisations and their involvement in local strategies were emphasized. Despite the obvious difference in the approaches adopted by the two cities (for example, possibilities for the participation in, and organization of, local life) the Deputy Mayor of Lublin, Mr Wysocki, underlined the importance of having a permanent platform through which to meet and exchange ideas.

 

Participants of the discussion paid particular attention to the role of education and media in local development oriented towards the intercultural dialogue and collaboration. The importance of the recognition and learning of linguistic and cultural rights, in terms of the possibility to study non-dominant cultures and languages at school was particularly highlighted.

 

On discussing the future perspectives, participants of the round table proposed to create a multi-lingual web-portal (virtual platform) for European and other cities. This is thought to facilitate the continuing development of universal criteria for effective intercultural strategies as well as to create options for project cooperation between cities, through a grant mechanism.

 

By Olexandr Butsenko