Newsletter N° 12 - October 2010

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Can cities learn to perceive cultural diversity not as a threat but as an opportunity? How can they make diversity work to their advantage? Can the city become the focus of collective identity bridging ethnic and religious identities? In the context of the Intercultural Cities programme several pilot cities will review their policies through the "intercultural lens" and develop intercultural strategies in order to meet the challenges of a world in motion.


Mexico City: a law to embed interculturality in the city policies

A Forum in interculturality and Human Mobility took place at the end of August in Mexico City, aimed at reviewing policies and experiences and providing critical input for Mexico City’s future intercultural strategy.

Mexico City is a truly multicultural place. Human mobility and international migration have played an important role throughout its history. The city’s municipality has introduced various policy initiatives which have helped to successfully manage a diverse population. The current global context is posing considerable threats to migrant men and women and Mexico City is raising to the challenge. 

Historically, ethnic communities formed in the city because of their right to asylum. The city’s diverse population is also due to the open and hospitable nature which characterizes Mexican society. Nowadays, the city’s 30 million population comes from different nationalities, backgrounds, and has diverse languages, religions and beliefs. Its citizens also perceive diversity as a resource and recognize that all cultures change when in public spaces. (more...)

Pilot cities

Berlin Neukölln (Germany)

Izhevsk (Russian Federation)

Lublin (Poland)

Lyon (France)

Melitopol (Ukraine)

Neuchâtel (Switzerland)

Oslo (Norway)

Patras (Greece)

Reggio Emilia (Italy)

Subotica (Serbia)

Tilburg (Netherlands)


A neighbourhood as an intercultural laboratory: the TODOS Walk of Cultures Festival, Lisbon (16-19 September 2010)

"Hold my hand and place your trust in me", said Sofia as she pulled the blindfold tight over my eyes, completely blotting out the strong Lisbon sunlight. "We won’t speak again for the next 40 minutes. Just follow my signals and you’ll be fine".

 

I was about to step into the dense, mysterious (and in the view of some, risky) hillside neighbourhood of Mouraria without the use of my eyes and completely in the hands of someone I had only just met. My senses of touch, smell and hearing suddenly became hyper alert as we stumbled over the shiny cobblestones and began to mount the steep alleyways of one of the Portuguese capital’s poorest but most ethnically rich neighbourhoods. I was also about to have the most vivid of many experiences I had as a guest of the city authorities for the four day annual Todos (Everyone’s) Festival aka (?) Caminhada da Culturas (walk of cultures), set up to focus attention on this little-known inner city community. (more...)

 

Photo © Carmo Rosa

 


Reggio Emilia proposes legal reform

In September 2010 the Italian municipality of Reggio Emilia launched a national campaign for the citizenship of migrants. The city is committed to promote access to citizenship for minors and young people, as well as the issues of equality and intercultural dialogue in other Italian cities.

 

Mr. Graziano Delrio, Reggio Emilia’s Mayor, recently put forth the problem facing minors in these terms: "Children and minors of families with foreign origins, who are living and growing up in the city, are facing too much administrative trouble in order to gain citizenship". (more...)

 


Spain implements a practical approach to managing diversity!

Spain implements a "practical philosophy" to managing diversity. It is an approach which allows Spain to gain a "time advantage" over other European countries. It is guided by anticipation. It allows the country to predict future problems and reflect upon its own challenges to orientate future policies. In the article "Managing Diversity in Spanish Society: A Practical Approach" published on 4 August 2010, Ricard Zapata-Barrero argues that national legal or institutional aspects act like a wall. They block every attempt to bring about innovation and change to the country’s diversity management policies. (more...). Photo: Ricard Zapata-Barrero


Patras and Limassol: Two Cities, One project-One aim- Interculturalism !

A five day training course was recently held in Limassol, Cyprus in the framework of the initiative "TICTYM: Towards Intercultural Cities through Youth Music". Patras and Limassol are both cities which share a passion for interculturalism. They cooperate in this initiative.

The training course provided a unique opportunity for young people through a series of workshops and presentations. The exchanges were centred around the role of young people in modern cities. Migration, interculturality, minority rights and intercultural relations were some of the topics discussed. The aim of this event was very concrete. Its objective was to make young people become agents of change in making European cities better places to live in the future. (more...)

Izhevsk: learning from the past, looking to the future

Izhevsk is the easternmost member of the ICC network. Intercultural interaction among its citizens is built in the local folklore. Founded two-and-a-half centuries ago around ironworks and armament industry, it is still one of the biggest industrial centres in Russia. The designing and construction of the Kalashnikov submachine is one of the city’s claim to fame. On 3-4 September 2010 the population of Izhevsk celebrated its 250th anniversary. (more...)


 

 

 

 

 


Internationalisation of OPENCITIES

"Internationalisation of OPENCITIES" is one of four books being prepared by the British Council Open Cities project in 2010 written by Greg Sgark. Their research has found that city and city regional bodies are becoming increasingly active and engaged in the international arena, developing a host of facilities which operate at that level.  (more...)


Conference "Cities Promoting Equality and Solidarity"

The Council of Europe Intercultural Cities program has been invited to a conference organised by the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR). It will take place on the 17-20 November 2010 in the city of UPSALA Sweden. It will focus on the how local authorities can counteract discrimination on the basis of ECCAR’s ten point plan of action and promote the development of an inclusive urban society based on equality and solidarity. The Intercultural Cities programme as well as other civil society organisations will share both experiences and good governance strategies in these areas. (more...)

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