Contemporary societies are experiencing growing diversity both at different levels (firms, cities, regions, countries) and in different arenas (cultural, social, and economic). One of the main reasons is the process of globalization that has pushed the cross-country flows of ideas, knowledge, goods, capital and people. This phenomenon is causing many tensions and policy makers have to tackle new problems and policy dilemmas. The growing mobility of workers, with varying skills, education and abilities can potentially represent an extraordinary resource. From a policy perspective, the challenge is to design and implement strategies for the management of diversity that can help tapping the potential benefits of diversity while minimizing its costs.
The Origins of the Intercultural City Concept
The concept of the Intercultural City originated with the British think tank Comedia (Council of Europe). In 2004, with support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Comedia conducted a two-year research programme entitled "The Intercultural City: Making the Most of Diversity". Its aim was to understand how the combination of different cultural skills and attributes leads to new and divergent thinking and what are the conditions that most encourage this. It also considered the extent to which cultural diversity was a source of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship and how this could become a positive force releasing new energy and resources for the development of cities.
The project was directed by Phil Wood who is now a principal advisor to the CoE/EU Intercultural Cities programme. This research was conducted in the UK, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Norway. As a result, a network of intercultural cities was created.
What is an intercultural city?
An optimum Intercultural City would be one that has taken a self-conscious decision to seek out, identify and acknowledge such cases, as well as to establish a policy objective of consolidating and building upon them; as well as a developmental strategy that has appropriate resources to support it.
Intercultural cities have a diverse population including people of different nationalities and origins, and with various languages or religions/beliefs. The city actively combats prejudice and discrimination and ensures equal opportunities for all by adapting its governance structures, institutions and services to the needs of a diverse population, without compromising the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
In partnership with business, civil society and public service professionals, the intercultural city develops a range of policies and actions to encourage more mixing and interaction between diverse groups. The high level of trust and social cohesion help to prevent conflicts and violence, increase policy effectiveness and make the city attractive for people and investors alike.
In this case, the city authorities also make a formal statement sending an unambiguous public message of its commitment to intercultural principles and are actively engaged in persuading other key stakeholders in the city to do likewise.
The Intercultural Cities Programme and its Index
The Intercultural cities programme supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realize the diversity advantage.
It enables network exchanges between cities, fosters the testing of new methodologies, and stimulates policy innovation. The intercultural cities index assesses cities' performance in relation to the intercultural integration model. The results of the Index help cities make evidence-based judgments about the impact and outcomes of their policies and resource investment. Currently, 77 cities have undergone their intercultural policies analysis using the Intercultural City Index.
Vinnytsia – as a member of the Ukrainian ICC Network (ICC-UA) – particularly appreciates the methodological and expert support offered by the Intercultural Cities Programme (ICC) of the Council of Europe. Cities-members of Ukrainian Intercultural Cities Network (ICC-UA), including Vinnytsia, were ICC Index tested in the summer 2016 for the first time (Vinnytsia Index: https://rm.coe.int/16806acd27).
The Intercultural Cities Index consists of a number of indicators that allow: to illustrate what intercultural integration means in practice and how it is implemented in specific cities; to assess where the city stands in the different policy and governance areas and assess progress over time; to realize where efforts should be concentrated in the future and identify "good practice" cities and city learning clusters; to learn from other cities about sources of good practices in these particular areas; to test different hypotheses about the relationship between intercultural policy and specific policy outcomes such as economic performance and safety.
The Ukrainian Network
Being designed, developed and first applied in 11 European pilot cities within the last few years, this approach resulted in adoption and/or reformation of policies related to the needs of the cities' diverse communities. It encouraged establishment or further development of relevant governance mechanisms and institutions that work today to ensure inclusion and equality and to enhance citizens' participation. Some cities are full members of the international network with privileged access to all international activities and dedicated expert support. Moreover, 5 national networks have been created in Europe – Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Norway and Portugal that increases outreach and impact.
The Ukrainian network of Intercultural Cities (ICC-UA) includes a group of cities that recognize the importance of the diversity advantage concept for the development of their communities. These cities take strategic approach to the implementation of the ICC's urban model of intercultural integration within their jurisdictions and beyond. Along with other ICC national networks, the Ukrainian network of Intercultural Cities has launched its new phase in 2015 following the Recommendation CM / Rec (2015)1 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and aiming to review relevant policies and develop intercultural strategies for all cities-members of the updated network. Participating cities of ICC network are Lutsk, Melitopol, Odesa, Pavlohrad, Sumy, and Vinnytsia.
Vinnytsia joined the network of intercultural cities in the middle of 2016. On 14 April 2016, the Mayor of Vinnytsia Serhii Morhunov and the national coordinator of the Ukrainian Intercultural cities network Kseniya Khovanova-Rubicondo signed a Memorandum on the Accession of the city to the Ukrainian Network of Intercultural Cities (https://www.coe.int/en/web/interculturalcities/-/vinnistya-joins-the-ukrainian-intercultural-cities-network ).
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