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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Planning for interculturality

2019
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The city of Zurich has formally adopted a public statement that it is an Intercultural City. There is a comprehensive intercultural strategy ‘Strategies Zurich 2035’ as well as an integration policy ‘City of Zurich Integration Policy 2019 - 2022’. The city has an intercultural action plan. The Integration Office is the competence centre of the City of Zurich for migration and integration. It has strategic as well as coordinating functions and is responsible for the implementation of several operative activities. The city administration has established an Integration Delegation, which mainly works on a strategic level. The Mayor of Zurich, the City Council (executive), the official writer (principal of the chancellery), head of the Asylum Organisation Zurich (AOZ) and representatives of various departments constitute the members of the Integration Delegation. The Integration Office is the branch office of the Integration Delegation.

Different departments and divisions of the City of Zurich are responsible for the implementation of the Integration Policy although when necessary, the Integration Office provides support and advice. The Integration Delegation of the City Council is responsible for the coordination of the various activities. The annual reports of the Integration Office are available in German on its website. Since different departments and divisions of the City of Zurich are responsible for the implementation of the Integration Policy, budgets for their integration activities are incorporated in their budgets. The Integration Office of the City of Zurich also provides human and financial resources for the implementation of integration projects and activities. In addition, there are specific funds, such as the credit for language support ‘Sprachförderkredit’ and credit for integration projects ‘Integrationskredite’.

The city has adopted a process of policy consultation and/or co-design including people of different ethnic or cultural backgrounds. An Advisory Council Of Foreigners has been established as to explicitly voice the concerns of the foreign population vis-à-vis the executive. The Advisory Council of Foreigners (Ausländerinnen- und Ausländerbeirat), Roundtable of the City Police against racism (Runder Tisch Rassismus der Stadtpolizei), Zurich Forum of Religions (Zürcher Forum der Religionen (ZFR)) are all regularly included in the processes of policy consultation and/or co-design. There is an annual official reception of Imams by the City Government along with various informal encounters. In addition, the Integration Office organises a yearly information and networking meeting with the migrant organisations that are active in the City of Zurich.

The intercultural strategy is regularly evaluated and updated.

In the City of Zurich children in primary schools are of mixed ethnic and cultural backgrounds and teachers often reflect the ethnic composition of the local population, although not always. Schools make strong efforts to involve parents of children with a migrant or minority background. Schools where more than 40 % of the students do not have German (the official school language) as their mother tongue can participate in the QUIMS programme – Quality in multicultural schools. Within the QUIMS programme, the participation of parents has a high priority. In the City of Zurich, around half of all schools participate in the QUIMS programme.

According to the Guiding principles on education and integration (canton of Zurich) the teachers' mandate is to assist all the children according to their requirements and possibilities. This requires individualised learning. As far as children with a migration background are concerned, German language stimulation is of prime importance as are regular, intensive contact and discussions between parents and teachers. If necessary, teachers or parents will arrange interpretation.

Schools often carry out intercultural projects. By joining the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), the City of Zurich has committed to regularly present a report on racism. The 2013 report specifically makes recommendations for schools and school authorities.

The mandatory school subject ‘religion and culture’ (Religion und Kultur) plays a central role regarding intercultural questions and societal diversity.

Zurich has a policy to increase ethnic/cultural mixing in schools. The schools in the City of Zurich are divided into 7 school districts. The allocation of pupils within those school districts takes place by the district school commissions. In the City of Zurich, this allocation happens according to the place of residence.


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