Growth through diversity in Copenhagen
Engage in Copenhagen is a three year inclusion program, designed to function as a catalyst for the City of Copenhagen’s new inclusion policy and vision for the city.
The goal of Engage in Copenhagen program is to start a number of initiatives with the common aim of making Copenhagen into an open and welcoming city. During an interview with Cities of Migration Copenhagen’s Mayor for Employment and integration, Anna Mee Allerslev said: “Just like the climate movement, the diversity movement has a severe impact on our growth and quality of life. And just like there is no reasonable alternative to green energy, there is no reasonable alternative to growth through diversity”.
The city’s vision is to become “the most inclusive city in Europe by 2015- based on trust and active citizenship.” Four strategic pillars currently guide the city into achieving its vision. The city aims at systematically engage partners. To name a few, these include companies, educational institutions, the media, as well religious associations, minority ones and those that inform the public. Ali Sufi, Vice Chair of the Danish Ethnic Youth Council showed his full support for the program. He said: “On the Danish Young People’s Council we support the municipality’s initiative and look forward to take an active part in the work of Engage in CPH, on the way to a more diverse Copenhagen which is really an extension of the work of New Danish Young People’s Council, with its focus on inclusion and recognition.
Engage in CPH also seeks to promote relationships between children, parents and neighbours in order to create a safe city characterized by familiarity, understanding and tolerance amongst its citizens. During an interview, Anna Mee Allerslev echoed the importance of building a social fabric, she said: “Inclusion is a feeling of belonging. That is if you feel like a Copenhagener, you are included in the city”.
The last two strategic levels are combatting discrimination and exclusion and spreading further knowledge about the rights in relation to discrimination and equality of treatment . The city hosts information and attitude campaigns to put a stop to discrimination and a hotline for support to victims. The Diversity Charter and its Diversity Board are central to the Engage in Copenhagen Campaign.
The Diversity charter followed the example of the charter adopted in London. Signatories affirm the three guiding principles than inform Copenhagen approach to govern the campaign: diversity is a strength; everyone should have the chance to participate and being an involved citizen is everybody’s concern. To date 500 businesses and associations have signed the charter.
The city of Copenhagen has certainly set itself a very ambitious vision. We very much hope the city can engage as many actors from various sectors and citizens further to enhance its Intercultural approach. Other Cities in the network may wish to draw inspiration from it.
By Thomas Pavan-Woolfe