On 7-9 November 2018, in Thessaloniki, the first Intercultural Integration Academy was held at the initiative of the Intercultural Cities programme of the Council of Europe and the Greek NGO Symbiosis.
The Academy gathered representatives from the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Athens, Heraklion, Ioannina, Pireus and Trikala to discuss and share successful approaches of dealing with diversity and discussing outstanding challenges among peer local authorities. It also offered an opportunity to interested municipalities to appropriate the intercultural integration concept through an immersive and interactive three-day platform. Intercultural Cities offers, in fact, to its member a comprehensive range of instruments and methodologies to develop inclusion strategies: benchmarking, policy reviews and recommendations, peer and expert advice for policy innovation, impact evaluation and communication.
The methodology of the Academy is based on the inclusive integration concept endorsed by more than 120 cities all around the world that are developing comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies based on a shared vision designed together with citizens. A range of studies have demonstrated that cities which adopt inclusive integration policies see better outcomes in terms of residents’ perceptions of cohesion, trust in the administration, safety, quality of services, welfare, good governance and economic growth.
The Academy curriculum was developed specifically for the Greek Municipalities with the support of the Greek partner Symbiosis and focused on the topics of intercultural competences, messaging, antirumour, diversity advantage in the economic sector and community development applied to public spaces and the cultural heritage sector.
- At a three-day Intercultural Cities conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, dubbed the first ever 'Integration Academy,' Dani de Torres, presented to contributors, the benefits of the 'Anti-Rumours Strategy,' that he pioneered as Barcelona's Commissioner for Integration
- Despina Syrri, of the Symbiosis organisation outlines the importance of the integration, inclusion and participation of migrants in Thessaloniki and more widely, in Greece.
- Social worker Georgia Zioutou, discusses the work of her local authority in Trikala, Greece, to further the integration, inclusion and participation of migrants.
- Interview: Irena Guidikova (Council of Europe)
- Interview: Despina Syrri (Organiser)
- Interview: Georgia Zioutou (Participant)
- Interview: Khalid Tahir (Participant)