The Intercultural city aims at building its policies and identity on the explicit acknowledgement that diversity can be a resource for the development of the society.

The first step is the adoption (and implementation) of strategies that facilitate positive intercultural encounters and exchanges, and promote equal and active participation of residents and communities in the development of the city, thus responding to the needs of a diverse population. The Intercultural integration policy model is based on extensive research evidence, on a range of international legal instruments, and on the collective input of the cities member of the Intercultural Cities programme that share their good practice examples on how to better manage diversity, address possible conflicts, and benefit from the diversity advantage.

This section offers examples of intercultural approaches that facilitate the development and implementation of intercultural strategies.

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To get acquainted with cities’ good practices related to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, please visit Intercultural Cities: COVID-19 Special page.

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First Welcome

Applying an intercultural approach to welcoming newcomers to the city
2016
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Reggio Emilia has invested in a comprehensive service to try and deal with the local impact of the refugee crisis, based on the national programme SPRAR (Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati) the system to protect refugees and asylum seekers.

The city is applying an intercultural approach to dealing with welcoming newcomers, via a two-stage process. The First Welcome deals with the basic issues of identification, certification, first aid etc. Then the Second Welcome offers services based upon the language, professional skills, family needs of each individual. People have very specific needs which must be dealt with and which must then be channelled into their ongoing life. They usually only have 6 months in which to demonstrate who they are and what they can do. They must learn a new language whilst they may also be undergoing trauma treatment. The service deals with employment, training and housing, with an emphasis on portraying the newcomers as an asset to the social life of the neighbourhood into which they move.

The main countries of provenance of Reggio’s asylum seekers are different from the national picture. There is less emphasis upon Syria. Reggio started in 2009 with 15 places for asylum-seekers and are now up to 48. Actions are directed towards legal, health, psychological, language, job market, and housing issues. Most people live in flats in small communities to help them live socially. Every placement is governed by a general agreement with the NGO which will manage the placement. Each gets a personalised pathway including 10 hours per week of language training. Then there is vocational training or an internship, with SPRAR designing the methodology for each person. The first phase of an internship is to understand how a person can introduce themselves into work, even before they have received formal asylum status. Giving them simple jobs develops an understanding of how they are able to cope with structures and social conditions. There is also an assessment of their literacy skills.


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