The city of Melitopol has recently launched a social partnership between its community and the City Council. Its goal, to achieve a productive cooperation. This springs from the ICC Strategy and embodies one of the key aspects of its intercultural integration policy, which the city is currently implementing.
As the first ICC Strategy-Melitopol (2015-2020) comes to an end, scientists from the Centre for Sociological Studies of Melitopol State Pedagogical University put their lockdown time to good use and designed a special online survey to measure the effectiveness of this partnership. It specifically looks into how the city’s social environment impacts the achievement of its intercultural policy objectives. The survey was conducted in May 2020.
Melitopol is dubbed "the city of a hundred cultures and peoples" . More than 96% of its inhabitants believe that people from different cultures enrich and improve the city’s social environment. Almost 70% of Melitopolers declare very close and friendly relations between representatives of different ethnic and religious groups. More than 60% of them express a wish to communicate more with people from different cultures in the public space. These perceptions back up the current city’s policies aimed at increasing the number and quality of public spaces for intercultural dialogue and communication.
When asked if they had ever encountered an unfriendly attitude towards minorities, more than 70% of city dwellers provided a negative answer. Of those having undergone such an experience, 50% named social and 30% traditional media as the main source.
Who do they turn to when faced with these situations? When choosing mediators and/or social partners in combating ethnic intolerance their preference goes to the representatives of the minority and/or religious groups they belong to, followed by friends and acquainttances and the police in second and third place respectively.
This fact speaks volumes of Melitopol's commitment to its community cohesion and to equality, its understanding of the benefits of diversity advantage and its residents desire to tackle any complex situation united, steering clear of stereotypes and prejudices.
Another valuable insight from of the survey is that almost 70 % of city residents approve of the promotion of minority cultural expressions, by means of cultural and artistic events as tools to dismantle myths and fears about certain religious and minority groups. This outcome will certainly be of use not only for Melitopol but also for other ICC cities.
A new ICC Strategy Melitopol 2021-2023 will soon see the light, combining the findings of this survey alongside those of the recently conducted 3rd ICC Index analysis of the city.