Culture, Heritage and Diversity

 

Reggio Emilia adopts an intercultural strategy and confirms its reputation as an open, safe and collaborative city

 

Already quoted as an "open, safe and collaborative city" in the famous report of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe "Living together – Combining diversity and freedom in the 21st century", the Reggio Emilia Municipality confirmed its commitment by adopting a strategic programme (2012-2014) on intercultural governance and dialogue based on the recommendations and learning from the Intercultural Cities Programme and participation over the last two years in the SPARDA Programme, as well as the strategic decision of the authorities to focus on three main objectives:

knowledge of the Italian language;

socio-cultural mediation;

anti-discrimination practices

To achieve these goals and implement the numerous related projects, the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and its administration can count on a vast network of agencies (Liaison Centre against Discrimination, Immigration Information Point, National Committee on l’Italia sono anch’io Campaign, etc.), and associations which are identified as partners to different actions. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of the Centro Interculturale Mondinsieme founded in 2001, an organisation dealing with the promotion of intercultural encounters and education in diversity, transformed in 2011 into a foundation with enlarged scope and services. The Municipality also initiated the Italian Network of Cities for Dialogue in 2010, now involving 20 cities which committed themselves to co-operate closely on the themes of integration and immigration. The network provides not only a forum for defining good local governance practices in the management of diversity and the promotion of intercultural dialogue but also fosters entrepreneurial and innovative contributions of immigrants and minorities.

 

According to the strategy, Reggio Emilia will continue to act as a brand leader in the integration and immigration fields and an instigator of the l’Italia sono anch’io Campaign aimed at contributing to the reform of the legislation on citizenship for children of foreign origin born or growing up in Italy, and possibly on the participation of lawful immigrants in local elections.

 

Along with the continuation of current work in education, public service, business and labour market policies, anti-discrimination, public areas, sports’ initiatives, communication and information strategies, welcoming policies, housing and neighbourhood, environmental sustainability, religious pluralism, etc., the Municipality explores possible new policies, e.g. by setting up a dedicated body responsible for the intercultural and integration strategy, and adopting an evaluation procedure for it.

 

Jöelle Bouteiller