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.


Three years on the city has launched new practices and set up new structures to consolidate its intercultural policy. Presentations were organised on the city's intercultural practices in the fields of education, culture and creativity, volunteer work and civil society, neighbourhoods, public spaces, media, and safety and policing. These were given by representatives from the Regional directorate of Education, the municipality, various agencies, as well the local university.


The two experts also met with the city's mayor, as well as with the Chamber of Commerce and police department of Achaia.


A fruitful exchange took place between numerous local actors and the experts. Through these the Council of Europe experts gathered evidence on how Patras has put into practice a great number of new intercultural initiatives across various policy areas as well as structures which enhance its intercultural approach. The city's authorities were grateful for the experts' input and suggestions on how its intercultural approach could be further enhanced in the future.


The information gathered at the visit served to update the Intercultural profile of Patras.


by Thomas Pavan-Woolfe