Newsletter N° 9 - February 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.

Intercultural Oslo

The population of Norway’s capital city is growing at an astonishing 2% per year. This makes it one of the fastest growing capitals in Europe. A high birth rate and an ever expanding immigrant population explain these figures. 26% of its inhabitants have migrant backgrounds. But does this make Oslo an intercultural city (apart from its membership in the Intercultural city network)?

An intercultural city is made up of people from different ethnic, national, language and religious backgrounds. Diversity is seen as a valuable resource, not a threat.

Oslo has created a new intercultural city identity by successfully implementing a range of policies and initiatives focusing on building a new intercultural city identity. In 2008 Oslo City Council adopted the vision that "Oslo shall be an open and inclusive capital that is open to diversity and self-realisation." (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)

Forum of Intercultural Cities in Bari

Bari, is an Italian city, which is commonly referred to as a gateway to the south. On 11 December 2009, Bari hosted a conference jointly organised by the Council of Europe’s 'Intercultural Cities' initiative and the Region of Apulia. The conference discussed the issue of: "Local communities and the policies of hospitality and integration in Europe and in the Mediterranean". It attracted participants from various fields, including academics, international, national and local policymakers, integration experts, journalists and civil society representatives from Europe and south Mediterranean countries.

The conference examined the Intercultural Cities initiative’s principles and methodologies in the light of increasingly diverse communities. More specifically it explored its potential for re-shaping city governance and policies. (more...)

New initiatives and intercultural projects in Lublin

In the spring of 2009, Lublin City Council collaborated with the Homo Faber Association to launch a pilot project “Lublin is Friendly”. This joint project is part of the Intercultural City programme of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The objective of this project was three-pronged. Firstly, it served to evaluate the quality of life of foreign students in Lublin. The second objective was to asses their needs. Lastly, the project tried to gain an appreciation of the students’ level of interaction with the city and participation in the city’s cultural events. The survey covered over 270 participants. The method also involved open meetings held with representatives from NGOs and cultural institutions. These parties provided students with facts and figures on local cultural life, institutions, as well practical information on enrolment as volunteers and participation. All students were provided with information as well as promotional material. (more...)

Stadslab in Melitopol - Designing an Intercultural Park

The Intercultural Cities Network recommendations in the areas of cultural policy and urban management have produced outstanding results. The latest collaboration between the two pilot cities of Tilburg and Melitopol clearly illustrate this.

The success and the practical applicability of the Intercultral Cities network is reflected in the latest collaboration set up between the two pilot cities Tilburg and Melitopol.  guidance. (more...)

Intercultural cities in Japan

Having been invited by the Japan Foundation, a delegation of Intercultural City representatives travelled to Japan in November 2009. It went to visit cities which have a relatively high proportion of foreign inhabitants, including Kani, Minokorma, Kobe and Tokyo. Here foreign residents represent up to 10% of total inhabitants, compared to an average 1.7% in the rest of the country. The objective of the visit was to evaluate Japanese local integration experiences and compare them to the Intercultural City initiative’s recommendations. (more...)

Neuchâtel: intercultural integration in action

The journalist Brigid Grauman participated in an expert visit to Neuchatel. This enabled representatives from pilot intercultural cites to acquire knowledge about the intercultural strategies implemented in this Swiss Canton. She published her impressions on the Special supplement of the Global Post. (more...)

From all over the world happy in an Italian town

Corriere della Sera, in a weekly supplement, reports on Reggio Emilia, a prosperous town in the Italian Emilia Romagna region, as a place of immigration and integration. The article also draws comparisons with other pilot cities from the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities initiative such as Lyon, Oslo, Berlin and Neuköln. (more...)

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