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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The role of libraries as drivers of integration and intercultural interaction

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Public libraries can be a particularly helpful place for newcomers and play a key role in giving access to knowledge, remedying social inequalities and improving these people’s quality of life. Their aim is to offer universal access to information, knowledge, culture and leisure. Because of the services they provide, libraries are ideal places to encourage social inclusion and improve the ability of both newcomers and the host society to live together in harmony.

Public libraries thus play a central role in language learning. In Sherbrooke, they give reading kits to users that enable them to learn French through the medium of a range of languages. These take the form of bilingual novels written in French on one page and another language on the opposite page. The kits also contain four documents, three of which are accompanied by a compact disc and a laminated list. These documents are easy to read, with one part in the native language of users and the other in French as a second language to help them to learn French and thus integrate in Quebec.

Public libraries also offer books for children and adults in several languages (English, Spanish, German, Russian, Vietnamese, etc.) and bilingual novels. These collections enable readers of foreign origin to maintain their ties with their culture and also help to promote these cultures to other people.

Lastly, libraries sometimes offer story hours [French only] in various languages for the very young.


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