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Reykjavik discusses measures towards a more intercultural society

Reykjavik, Iceland
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Reykjavik discusses measures towards a more intercultural society

The City Council of Reykjavík and the Intercultural Council of Reykjavik held a joint meeting on 30 April to discuss issues that are important to immigrants. As an outcome, five proposals were presented concerning immigration issues.

The first proposal was introduced by Jórunn Pála Jónasdóttir, vice-chairman of the Intercultural Council and deputy City Council member for the Independence Party. It concerned the city´s leisure card and how to ensure that residents that do not yet master Icelandic are properly informed about the card and the possibilities it opens in terms of organising and financing leisure activities for children.

The City Council was asked to approve the following actions:

  • All leisure card affiliation applications should be made available in both Icelandic and English.
  • Rules for leisure card affiliates will be made available in both Icelandic and English.
  • An awareness campaign in several languages will be launched, to introduce leisure card affiliation to potential vendors and organizers of leisure activities.

The proposal was referred to the Culture, Sport and Leisure Council for implementation.

A second proposal was put forward by Sabine Leskopf, chairman of the Intercultural Council and City Council member for the Social Democrat Alliance. It requested the opening of an electronic information portal where enquiries in languages other than Icelandic can be addressed and answered in a very short amount of time. This proposal was referred to the Democracy and Human Rights Council for processing.

A proposal to support the employees of the city who are of foreign origin in having their education evaluated and recognised was presented by Tui Hirv, representative of Sameyk Labour Union for the Intercultural Council. The proposal was referred to the city´s Executive Council.

A fourth proposal was made to strengthen and increase the number of cultural mediators in the city´s schools so as to provide advice and training to parents of foreign origin. Cultural mediators also provide intercultural education, advise teachers, and offer general support for children and students. The proposal was forwarded to the Department of Education and Youth.

Nichole Leigh Mosty, Intercultural Council representative for W.O.M.E.N. in Iceland, proposed that the City of Reykjavik initiates a comprehensive campaign against prejudice and hate speech towards immigrants with the goal of ensuring that all residents may live with dignity in peace and harmony. The campaign should target city´s workplaces and employees first, and then expand to the whole society with the aim to increase awareness about the benefits of living in a diverse society, encourage cultural sensitivity and competence, and more positive interaction. The proposal was referred to the Democracy and Human Rights Council for processing.

The following council and deputy council members were present at the meeting: Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir, Líf Magneudóttir, Heiða Björg Hilmisdóttir, Hjálmar Sveinsson, Þórdís Lóa Þórhallsdóttir, Sabine Leskopf, Guðrún Ögmundsdóttir, Hjálmar Sveinsson, Skúli Helgason, Sigurborg Ósk Haraldsdóttir, Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir, Kolbrún Baldursdóttir, Vigdís Hauksdóttir, Jórunn Pála Jónasdóttir, Ragnhildur Alda María Vilhjálmsdóttir, Ólafur Kr. Guðmundsson, Örn Þórðarson, Inga María Hlíðar Thorsteinson, Egill Þór Jónsson, and also Intercultural Council members: Nichole Leigh Mosty, Tui Hirv and Renata Emilsson Pesková.


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