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

A space for reflection, reconciliation and rebuilding an intercultural society
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The city is encapsulating much of this knowledge, experience and aspiration in a new institution, the House of Peace and Human Rights. In the founding document of the House the city states:

“We are convinced that intercultural dialogue, the reinforcement of social cohesion, the respect for diversity and the promotion of human rights are the criteria that must inform the design and execution of local policies, with special emphasis on the value of the role of cities as territories where people of different origins and ideas meet and cohabit.

“The culture of peace hinges, most of all, on educational processes and methods for solving conflicts from a standpoint of respect for human rights, of dialogue and mediation. In this sense, we have, all of us, from within our own cities, to help to create a new world order with structures and mechanisms that seek to eradicate direct violence in all its forms, as well as structural violence (poverty, social exclusion, economic and social inequality, inequality between men and women, exclusion for reasons of sex, culture, etc.).”

It has acquired a large building, the Palacio de Aiete Jauriegia, which was the former summer residence of General Franco and will transform it into a centre of excellence with responsibility for:

  • Training, Education and Research, including:
    • Grants for study and research.
    • Promotion of exchanges between teachers and researchers
    • The commissioning of studies on specific themes
    • Design and development of educational projects
    • Practical experience for Students in International Organisations and Ministries, branches of the Public Administration, NGOs, Companies or Civil Organisations
  • Promotion of greater awareness and sensitivity through programmes organised annually, for example:
    • Collaboration agreement with the UPV-EHU (University of the Basque Country)
    • Human Rights Film Festival
    • Celebration of significant days: Universal Children’s Day, Human Rights Day, etc.
    • Short story and painting contest for children and young adults
    • Programme of Exhibitions
    • The “Donostia entre Mundos/San Sebastián Munduen artean” Programme
    • Programme against male sexist violence
    • Lecture seasons and round table discussions
    • Publication of the Human Rights Agenda
    • Didactic campaign “Let’s Imagine Peace”
  • Memory of and Recognition to all persons whose human rights have been undermined, including:
    • Development of the “Garden of Memory” project
    • Activities with the local Forum of Victims
    • Recognition events at the Oroimena –Memoria, at Alderdi Eder: “A flame in their memory. A call for Peace”.
    • Commemoration of the European day in memory of victims of terrorism (11 March)
    • Presentation of medals and tokens of recognition
  • Information and counselling, including:
    • Information and basic, direct, personal orientation, on human rights.
    • Legal advice and direct psychological counselling
    • Training on equality between men and women and the fight against discrimination
    • Attention to citizens with regard to the right to freedom of sexual choice, the rights of citizen, plurality and religious, ethnic and cultural diversity
    • Training, debates and reflection forums on inequalities between North and South
  • Study and documentation, including:
    • Film archives specialised in human rights, in close collaboration with the Film Unit of Donostia Kultura, Tabakalera and The Basque Film Archives
    • Educational resources for training in human rights questions
    • Information and counselling on games and cooperate videogames (Intered, Games for Change)
  • Recognition and reinforcement of social movements working for human rights, justice and solidarity, including:
    • Granting of economic help
    • Provision of municipal facilities
    • Promotion of joint initiatives in favour of peace, respect for civil rights, non-discrimination and solidarity
    • Collaboration in national and international campaigns that promote peace and demilitarisation
    • Collaboration with the Euskal Fondoa
    • Cooperation for Development programmes
    • Temporary granting of space for specific activities and campaigns
    • Collaboration in Peace Missions and tasks of observation in local elections
  • Dissemination: Publications and a web site

The Centre opened in September 2010 with a core staff of six.

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