Newsletter N° 18 - November 2011

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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.

Young people make a difference in Lewisham


On 12 October young people in Lewisham will make a difference and elect their eighth young mayor. The key components of this project are the elected young mayor and the work of the young advisors group and young citizens’ panel. Candidates must either live or attend school/college in Lewisham borough and be aged 14-17 years. To stand for election each candidate must obtain nominations from their peers and attend a one-day training session. Here candidates learn how to write a manifesto and run a campaign and what to expect if they get elected. Candidates are encouraged to set up a campaign team and have just over three weeks to campaign. In the past candidates have taken assemblies in different schools, campaigned with leaflets on the streets and used social networking to spread their message to their peers. 


On the polling day, the Council’s electoral services team runs the election in exactly the same way they do for adult elections. Ballot boxes, voting booths and electoral services are stationed at each secondary school and college in the borough for the duration of the school day plus half an hour on either side. All young people or attending school in the borough aged 11-18 are eligible to vote. The count is held on the following day, again with the support of the electoral staff, and young people assist in the process. (more...)

ICC Tools

Exploring intercultural competence

"Schools as intercultural communities" - Towards indicators of intercultural competence

4th European Seminar of the Pestalozzi Programme and the European Wergeland Centre, 4-7 October 2011, Oslo, Norway.


We are all convinced that the development of intercultural competence - i.e. Intercultural education - is important. We all agree that we need to be competent in understanding each other across all types of borders. But what exactly is it and what do schools and teachers need to do in order to develop it in and with future generations?


One of the obstacles for a concerted efforts to move intercultural competence to centre stage in mainstream schooling is the absence of clear and observable indicators for this competence which then can be developed in teaching and learning.


The Think tank organised by the Intercultural Cities Programme, the European Wergeland Centre and the Council of Europe Pestalozzi Programme in October 2011, identified and described the components - attitudes, skills and knowledge - which an interculturally competent person possesses. (more...)

GETXO (Spain): Discussion Forum on interculturality and strategies for the management of diversity

The city of Getxo, the fifth largest city in the Basque Country, held on 11 October a Forum to prepare the Municipal Plan for the next four years. The European agenda for the integration of third country nationals provides an excellent opportunity to include in the Plan the mission, vision, values and strategic lines of a cosmopolitan Basque town of the twenty-first century, and make a strong commitment to the strategies of accommodation and management of diversity with an intercultural perspective.


Three well-known cultural diversity experts participated in the Forum: professors Xabier Aierdi Oleaga Urraza and Jose Antonio Páramo (Basque Country University), and Professor Ricard Zapata-Barrero (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona), expert member of the Intercultural Cities programme and director of the Spanish Network of Intercultural Cities (RECI). (more...

Intercultural Dublin

On September 23rd 2011 the city of Dublin officially joined the Intercultural Cities Network. Over a hundred people gathered in the City Hall as Lord Mayor Andrew Montague, and Robert Palmer, Director of Culture, Cultural and Natural Heritage at the Council of Europe, signed the agreement on working together on developing and improving urban integration and diversity management policies and strategies.


This, according to Robert Palmer, is of particular relevance as Dublin’s brand of interculturalism is special because it is driven by civil society with the gentle and competent support of officials. It is amazing how much great work can be carried out by volunteers. One of Dublin’s strengths is in engaging citizens in its intercultural efforts. (more...

The results of a large EU-funded research project confirm the principles underpinning Intercultural cities


The European Research Network of Excellence on "Sustainable Development in a Diverse World" presents its key findings. The network brought together over 30 research institutions from a variety of disciplines and cultural backgrounds over the last five years to analyse the challenge and opportunities of diversity for sustainable development. (more...)

Constructing an inclusive institutional culture - Intercultural competences in social services (2011)

If we are to build an inclusive institutional culture within the increasingly pluralist societies of 21st century Europe, focussing solely on the development of skills and knowledge is not enough. There have to be changes in the way in which administrative authorities and the organisations providing services to the public view their role and in the action they take. While it is essential for migrants to learn the language of their host country, understanding the codes of conduct, standards, allegiances, rules and exceptions is perhaps an even greater challenge. Through this work, the Council of Europe reminds us that in pluralist societies the most effective guarantee of successful integration and harmonious co-existence is social justice. (more...)

ICC: Facebook and Twitter

The ICC programme is proud to note that its Facebook "friends" have increased to 100 and its Twitter followers have increased to 188. They are kept informed regularly on ICC progress. Please remember to check out the Facebook page and Twitter.

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