Culture, Heritage and Diversity


Poitiers developing an intercultural reception/integration policy


On 9 May last, the Greater Poitiers Responsible Development Board, a participatory body working with the elected representatives of the Greater Poitiers Conurbation Community on the main regional development issues, met with almost 140 local players (associations, councillors, residents, institutions, etc) to discuss the highly original theme of receiving and integrating new populations in Greater Poitiers. During the debate, this issue was broached, inter alia, from the intercultural angle.


The Development Board swopped ideas with the councillors and local players on the importance of a comprehensive, active policy for the reception and integration of new populations (residents, foreigners, students, etc) in the Poitiers area.


The forum constituted a major step forward in the process of consultation and analysis that had begun in April 2009, involving some thirty local representatives (from the University, the Tourist Office, socio-cultural centres, associations responsible for assisting migrants, local authorities, etc).


This activity highlighted a number of warning signs for the area: a high degree of residential mobility, given that in 2007, virtually one fifth of the population had been living elsewhere five years previously; widespread deficiencies in the city’s reception facilities (in tourism, the University, in terms of diversity, etc); social balances are off kilter in some neighbourhoods; "ghettoised" foreign populations in some neighbourhoods; the University’s defining but underrated presence (one in five residents is a student); some economic operators still fail to appreciate Poitiers’ tourist appeal; etc.


By tackling the principle of an overall policy for the reception and integration of new populations in this way, the Development Board was concurrently taking account of the increasing attractiveness of the region, the concept of a reception culture and the feeling of belonging to the area, and lastly, the acceptance of diversity as a factor for wealth and innovation throughout the region.


The inputs of similar experiments and the workshops enriched the Development Board’s work, helping to:

highlight the problems with receiving and integrating new populations in the area,

devote more attention to the persons being received and the intercultural competences to be developed for and by those receiving them,

ensure the networking of players involved in receiving new populations.


The experimental nature of this approach should be stressed, in terms of the theme addressed and the desired participatory dimension. The next step is to secure the involvement of all the elected representatives and local operators so as to achieve a genuinely comprehensive policy.



Secretariat of the Greater Poitiers Responsible Development Board (Conseil de développement responsable de Grand Poitiers)

James RENAUD – President

Virginie AUFFROY – Organiser

Direct line: 05 49 52 36 59