Newsletter N° 23 - September 2012

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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.


Mykola Romanyuk, Mayor of Lutsk (left), and Vladimir Ristovski, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine (right) An Intercultural Platform for Democratic Change in Lutsk (Ukraine)

 

On 14-16 June 2012 the Ukrainian Platform of Intercultural Cities held the First Forum of Intercultural Cities under the theme "The Ukrainian Platform for Change" in Lutsk (Ukraine). The Forum was organised by the Ukrainian Development Centre "Democracy through Culture" with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and the Lutsk City Council. The initiative aimed at fostering partnerships and experience sharing between cities in Ukraine and Europe-wide. It brought together Ukrainian politicians and civil servants, mass media, NGO and community leaders, Council of Europe staff, as well as representatives of intercultural cities and city networks. Aspiring intercultural cities, such as Odessa and Simferopol (Ukraine) or Vilnius (Lithuania), Brest (Belarus) and Tbilisi (Georgia), also participated in the Forum. (more...)

 
 
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The Intercultural Approach to Counter an Anti-Immigrant Mood in Sweden

 

On 1-8 July 2012 the traditional Almedalen political week (Almedalsveckan) took place in the city of Visby on the Gotland Island in Sweden. The event owes its name to the Almedalen park in Visby where in 1968 Olof Palme, then the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, held his first speech from a truck. Since 1982 the Almedalen week has become a regular annual practice, bringing together major political parties, lobbyists, journalists and civil society leaders. All the democratically elected political parties have one day each to stage debate, which is decided by a lottery. In 2011 alone some 14,000 individuals attended the Almedalen week and 1,476 events were held. (more...)


Facebook for participation: the Wedecide platform

 

It is a common goal of many cities today to engage citizens in public decisions. The question is, how to ensure politicians are supportive, and while sustaining a high rate of participation. Wedecide is a platform that attacks these issues, and enables cities to directly engage citizens to engage themselves in policy-making. The process starts with decision-makers setting up a specific challenge - a question that they are committed to work on, and one that public has some knowledge about. Then, citizens have access for 3-5 weeks to come up with new ideas, or developing each others' ideas on Wedecide platform. (more...)


The impact of Intercultural cities in Izhevsk: added value of the programme had for the city

 

A rich cultural diversity and systemic support for cultural and community initiatives at the state and municipal levels are traditional features of the city of Izhevsk. For decades the city has been supporting organisations of the ethno-cultural communities and diasporas and encouraged their participation in political decision-making. But never before the entry of Izhevsk in the Intercultural cities programme cultural diversity and active interaction of cultures had been considered as a key resource for the city. (more...)


Cultural diversity and openness – central to the new Lublin 2020 Strategy

 

Lublin has been a member of the Intercultural cities network since 2008. The engagement of the city with the intercultural agenda has triggered a strong awareness of the value of diversity and the need to foster internationalisation and open-mindedness.

 

The city is currently holding consultations on the 2020 City Development Strategy which is based on the premise that "Lublin accepts, fosters and takes advantage of cultural diversity". (more...)

Blog on the ICC symposium "Intercultural Urban Planning and Place making"

 

How to design an intercultural city? Read the excellent blog by Dean Saitta, Professor at the University of Denver (USA), on the ICC symposium "Intercultural Urban Planning and Place making" held in Venice (Italy) in June 2012. Dean’s virtuoso summing up of the points of consensus and contestation and key projects and ideas makes this blog an informative and inspiring reading.


Communication about the diversity advantage works!

 

Many different factors combine to influence policies on the integration of migrants into the host society: the availability of jobs; access to rights and services and knowledge of the host country’s language(s) and culture; intercultural opening of local institutions; and activities to combat discrimination and foster intercultural interaction in the neighbourhoods... But the public view of diversity and migration is as important, if not more so, in determining integration policies and their outcomes.

 

Political discourse and public debate are often considered as having an influence on public perceptions – but evidence is lacking. Despite the existence of international and national legal standards, dedicated institutions and campaign to fight against discrimination, the dominant attitude to migrants in many societies remains negative and xenophobic acts – a reality. The influence of xenophobic parties is growing. (more...)


ICC: Facebook and Twitter

 

The ICC programme is proud to note that its Facebook "friends" have increased to 276 and its Twitter followers have increased to 366. They are kept informed regularly on ICC progress. Please remember to check out the Facebook page and Twitter.

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