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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Förskolan Örnen

Nurturing intercultural place-making skills in youngsters
2016
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Förskolan Örnen (Eagle Primary Schaool), in Alby on the fringes of Stockholm, has 130 pupils, 99% of whom have Swedish as a second language . It has a very deliberate philosophy rooted in respect for human rights and democracy and principles of transculturalism inspired by the work of the Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia. It aims to encourage in children values of openness and curiosity and an aversion to nationalism and other absolutes.

Sense of place is seen as very important to a child’s identity, but usually this is defined by others so, to counter this, pupils are given cameras and invited to explore their neighbourhood and identify places that have meaning to them. They are asked to discuss what makes a place attractive or unattractive, who makes these judgements and why – all at the age of 5 years!

Taking this a step further, staff organised a twinning exercise with an all-white school in prosperous inner-city Södermalm. They collaborated on exploring each other’s local environment and describing their impressions to each other. Very quickly the children found that language was not a straightforward mode of communication as many of the Örnen pupils had limited Swedish – whilst they were amazed to discover that most of the Södermalm children had nothing but Swedish. So they had to evolve many non-verbal means of communication which, will be essential skills for the rest of their lives in a multi-ethnic world.


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