The meeting with the representatives of national minorities marked the closure of the 2-day visit of the ICC experts – September 25 and 26, 2017 – to the Ukrainian city of Pavlograd. This was the most engaging and interesting meeting, where friendly relationship between many ethnic communities was observed and the perspectives for the establishment of an intercultural center of Pavlograd were openly discussed. “We want to create intercultural center to have a place for meeting and mixing, for learning other languages and traditions” – said the initiator of the idea.
A city of 30 nationalities, Pavlograd has a different story to tell about the diversity of its population. A large number of Jews – up to 75% - lived in the city before the II World War and its total population was hardly above 25000 people. In middle of the 20th century, Pavlograd became a strategic city of the former Soviet Union, where many mines, factories and other heavy industry enterprises were developed. As the city expanded, many high-level specialists from all over the Soviet Union came here by appointment for 2-3-year period of time and many of them stayed. That is why today many representatives from the former Soviet countries reside in Pavlograd - Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Belarusians, Georgians, Crimea Tatars, Kazakhs, Russians, Estonians and Polish. Representatives of Roma population, Koreans, Afro-Americans and other nationalities join to the ethno-cultural mix of the city and – as concluded from the 2-day expert visit – play an active role in the social and economic life of Pavlograd.
In addition, since the time of the military conflict in the East of Ukraine, almost 7000 of IDPs arrived to Pavlograd. Almost half of them remain in the city, which regards them as a resource, and not as a "foreign body" or an issue. “We offer these people the opportunity to open up and to act," says the deputy mayor Ms. Elena Shulika, “and many of them give back a few times more to the city community.” There are many civil society organizations in the city that work to create the space for different cultures to interact. Those include the "Intercultural Lounge", Euroclub "Europe +", Cinema Club, Youth center "Funduk", youth movement "Positive Pavlograd", etc.
The 2017 was announced as the Intercultural Year in Pavlograd. This means that public and private organization provide support to many business ideas and civil society initiatives focused on social and economic development of the city along the ICC principles of mixing, dialoguing and valuing the diversity advantage. It is also noteworthy e.g. that the concept of tolerance is well respected and is ‘in the air’ in Pavlograd. It is often heard not only from the city leaders and public officials, but also from city residents, school educators, mine workers, youths, IDPs and minority representatives.