Newsletter N° 19 - February 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.

The international policies of the intercultural city – Reggio Emilia signs a co-operation agreement with Morocco


An aspiring intercultural city should have an international policy that seeks, at least in part, to promote a dynamic relationship with places of origin of major Diaspora groups. Such relations can help the city understand the geopolitical, cultural and economic context in which newcomers have been socialised, and shape its policies of welcome and integration accordingly. They can also support migrants in developing a sense of belonging to their new community, by giving a formal recognition their country of origin and their cultural identity.


Cities across Europe are becoming aware of the need to develop such "foreign affairs" and most commonly use city twinning, artistic exchanges and development co-operation to this end. Some cities are trying to foster business relations with countries of origin, seeking investment or joint ventures, but few have an (inter)cultural international policy agenda where both parties contribute as equals to supporting integration, social cohesion and respect for diversity. (more...)

ICC Tools

New impetus for intercultural policy in Patras!

Two Intercultural city experts recently paid a study visit to Patras, Greece. This was organized in the framework of the Council of Europe/ European Commission Intercultural Cities initiative. Patras has a long-standing history of immigration and integration. It prides itself as being the South-East doorway to Europe. It also acts as a doorway between the European continent and the Mediterranean.


In 2008 Patras became a member of the Intercultural Cities network. It did so to improve the way it deals with its diverse inhabitants and to strengthen their potential as a source of growth, creativity and social cohesion. (more...)

ACCEPT Pluralism - a research project
Toleration, Pluralism and Social Cohesion: Responding to the Challenges of the 21st Century

Do We Tolerate Diversity In Contemporary Europe?

Most people would assume that toleration is one of the enduring values of European liberalism and few would openly reject it. However, during the first years of the 21st century, Europe has been experiencing increasing tensions between national majorities and ethnic or religious minorities, particularly with marginalised Muslim communities, while xenophobia seems as rising across the continent. Media and political debates often voice doubts on the meaning, if any, of a multicultural approach and pose questions, such as how many do we actually fit in Europe? (more...

Maya tablet inspires an intercultural campaign in Gexto (Spain)

The tale goes that during a walk in the neighbouring town of Getxo, the remains of an ancient Mayan tablet was discovered, attributed to the Fort La Galea, and inscribed with a legend. Based on this fictional story, Euskera and Immigration Service of Getxo (Spain), has launched a campaign called "Mayan Calendar". It includes the setting of an advocacy group and providing financial support to local associations’ initiatives dealing with diversity and integration. (more...

The use of digital mapping for intercultural policy-making

One of the most important features of our times is the ability to access a wealth of information unimaginable just a few years ago. But to translate information into knowledge we need tools to filter, compare and analyse the information. One of the instruments that have been developed more recently and provide great opportunities for the management of public policies, including in the field of intercultural relations, is the digital mapping of a territory. (more...

Intercultural Spaces and Centres

What are they, what benefits do they bring, and how can they be encouraged as an essential part of the Intercultural Cities approach?


One of the cornerstone concepts of the Intercultural Cities approach is that intercultural relations and trust cannot be expected to occur by accident alone – there need to be tools, agents, spaces and places of interculturality and, if need be, these must be deliberately initiated by the local authorities or civil society. So far, however, there had been little clarity over what actually constitutes an intercultural space.  (more...)

Tokyo Declaration on a Partnership between Intercultural Cities

The A symposium on Intercultural City Encounters Europe-Asia was organised in Tokyo on 18-19 January by the Council of Europe and the Japan Foundation. The 200 participants included nine Mayors from European, Japanese and Korean Cities, European, Japanese and Korean experts and Directors of specialist integration departments of invited cities. The symposium and associated events explored the potential of leveraging cultural diversity for community building in European, Japanese and Korean contexts, and compared intercultural policies, good practices and challenges.
Tokyo Declaration

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