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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House of Peace and Human Rights, & Eskuraination and equality

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The House of Peace and Human Rights is located in the Aiete Palace. The building was the former summer residence of the dictator General Franco, and since 2010, it hosts different local departments and entities devoted to promote education and awareness on human rights and peace processes. The symbolism of it being recovered for democratic society is therefore immense.

The Human Rights programme emphasises the importance of rights and peaceful coexistence by promoting awareness in schools, dissemination of relevant information and knowledge through cultural activities (Human Rights Film Festival) and the commemoration of international days (LGTBI, Roma, Human Rights, Refugees, etc.).

The Cooperation department is in charge of managing the local policy on cooperation and development, and also to coordinate actions with NGOs devoted to these topics. The new Local Strategy on Development Cooperation has been actually devised jointly by the administration and the civil society. Along with the Cultural Diversity Department, the “Donostia entre Mundos” initiative aims to promote education on these topics with the purpose of boosting social transformation.

In 2018, the Basque Government, the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and the municipality of Donostia-San Sebastián signed an agreement for launching Eskura, a Pedagogical Resource Centre for Human Rights in Aiete. The Centre aims to promote education in human rights and to offer educational resources to that end. Eskura will offer different instruments to promote education and awareness on human rights such as audio-visual material, documentation, texts or literary and musical works, etc. The Eskura Centre will collect, generate and disseminate these resources and will celebrate two annual events: an international seminar on Human Rights, and a local fair for pedagogical resources in Human Rights. The Eskura Centre is also focussed on promoting co-participation with social entities and other institutional actors dealing with Human Rights issues.

In parallel, issues such as gender equality, Basque language, environmental sustainability and ageing are crosscutting topics in the different areas and actions held in the Aiete Palace.

It is worth to mention that the complex administrative structure of the different departments in the Aiete Palace, while sharing a common ground and work perspective, are part of different municipal council’s areas. Strengthening links between the intercultural perspective and the Human Rights approach, especially at local level should be considered.


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