Lublin (Poland) intercultural action
Lublin’s intercultural policy and activities have been intensified for the past two years and focus mainly on creating a system approach to Lublin's policy towards minorities and foreigners. Based on Lublin's multicultural heritage, but primarily from the experience coming from an increasing number of foreigners choosing our city as a place of temporary or permanent residence as well as many activities undertaken jointly with European partners, the following activities seem to best timely describe "Lublin intercultural action":
Lublin 4 All
The project, supported by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss contribution to the new European Union member states, is an opportunity for Lublin to learn from the master – the Swiss canton of Neuchatel, Lublin's partner in this project. The idea is to build Lublin's system of cultural diversity management from scratch, based on the experience and example of the leaders in the intercultural approach in Europe. Through the partnership, with close cooperation with COSM (Centre de la Cohesion Multiculturelle, unit dedicated to working with minorities and migrants), Lublin City Office is developing its own cultural diversity management, tailored to Lublin's specific situation ad approach to managing diversity through concrete solutions and policies as part of the system.
During the two years of the project, the outcomes have exceeded expectations:
A group of specialists from institutions and organisations working with or in favour of minorities and migrants has been united as a „support group”
advisory body helping to design and build Lublin's participatory system of diversity management. Systematic monthly meetings have become a great opportunity to meet and network, which has resulted in a stronger cooperation between all the institutions, coordination of activities undertaken by each institution or NGO and the creation of a network of specialists ready to share their knowledge and expertise with others.
A first meeting of minorities’ and migrants’ representatives was held at Lublin City Office, which is the initial step when engaging migrants and minorities in Lublin's local government initiatives, hopefully increasing their participation and visibility within the city.
A social awareness campaign will be held over the coming months, reminding Lublin citizens of its diversity and the advantages of a more diverse community. This is especially important, considering the fact that such initiatives have not been undertaken for a long time in Lublin and the intercultural message to community members needs to be reinforced (and constantly evoked!).
Lublin's Residents Affairs Bureau is working on becoming the first contact centre for foreigners in Lublin. The idea is to create a place within the Office of Lublin's City Authorities where all the important information is gathered and disseminated and where trained staff can answer all questions. Such a place was a missing link in Lublin and its creation will be a huge step on the path to improving the quality of services for foreigners and migrants in Lublin.
Lublin's system of diversity management is linked very strongly to the Intercultural Cities Index, which is used as a guide and evaluation tool for activities undertaken by Lublin City Office. A very important part of the „Lublin 4 All” project is creating a "manual" (or guide) for other Polish cities to be able to use the index as a tool to improve their services or to self-assess their intercultural approach. To do that, 10 meetings in 10 Polish cities will be held before the end of June 2014 and a network at a national level will most likely become one of the many results of the project.
Support for non-governmental organisations
applying for external grants to provide services for migrants and minority groups. As a rule, the City of Lublin covers its own financial contribution required from NGOs in order to receive the grant. The City Office also networks these organisations within the Support Group (see point 1 above) trying to facilitate contacts among them and help provide sustainability of project activities they conduct. In the newly developed first contact centre for foreigners (see point 1 above), the information on services provided by local NGOs is and will be available and regularly updated.
Study in Lublin
Lublin is a city of young people with five state universities and several private colleges providing education for the Polish and other nationalities. Lublin, with over 80 000 students is considered as a city of dynamic people whose creativity may and should be used by research centres and companies looking for innovative technologies. Caring for intellectual capital is very important for the development of the city. "Study in Lublin" is a project implemented by the Lublin City Office aiming to integrate the local academic community, encourage foreign students to study in the city and stimulate the multicultural exchange in the scientific environment. The project also involves close cooperation of the local government, business and higher education institutions.
An online portal is available at www.study.lublin.eu, providing information for foreigners and migrants on the offer of higher education institutions from Lublin and application procedures. It is available in four language versions: Polish, English, Ukrainian and Russian.