The successful cities of the future will be those best able to harness the talent and energy of their diverse citizens. A city can minimise the threats and maximise the potential of diversity by developing, negotiating and implementing a comprehensive strategy to realise its diversity advantage.

The Intercultural Cities programme helps cities to devise such strategies cutting across institutional silos and mobilising leaders, policy officers, professionals, businesses and civil society behind a new model of integration based on the mixing and interaction between people from different ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds.

The programme helps cities to:

  • Create a sense of pluralistic identity embracing cultural pluralism and the complexity of identities through leadership discourse and symbolic actions based on the pride and appreciation of the city diversity.
  • Set up a governance model empowering all members of the community, regardless of their origin or status, to develop their potential, realise their talents and enable them to contribute to local prosperity.
  • Promote participation and power-sharing, involving people of diverse origins in decision-making in urban institutions, be they political, educational, social, economic or cultural.
  • Open up spaces and opportunities for deep interaction and co-creation between people of different cultural origins and backgrounds, to build trust, cohesion and solidarity, and thus realise the creative potential of diversity.
  • Foster intercultural competence and empower intercultural innovators in public, private and civil-society organisations.
  • Manage conflict, busting stereotypes and engage in a debate about the impact and potential of diversity for local development.

The Intercultural cities network provides expert and peer support to cities which chose to learn how to better manage diversity and benefit from the diversity advantage. It offers an internationally tested and validated methodology and a set of analytical and learning tools, and helps with re-shaping city policies and services to make them more effective in a diverse context.

Below is a set of examples of services and activities cities can benefit from. It should be noted, however, that the programme works in a very open, flexible way, adapting to the needs and expectations of individual cities.

examples of services and activities examples of services and activities