News: Anti-Discrimination Practices of Multiple Countries Were Learnt by the Municipal Enterprise Vinnytsia Institute for Urban Development
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Anti-Discrimination Practices of Multiple Countries Were Learnt by the Municipal Enterprise Vinnytsia Institute for Urban Development

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On 18-19 June 2019, representatives of intercultural cities from different countries (the United Kingdom, Greece, Israel, Italy, Iceland, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Ukraine, France, USA, Switzerland, Sweden, etc.) visited the Italian city of Turin for the thematic event on various forms of discrimination. Representatives of the municipal enterprise Vinnytsia Institute for Urban Development participated in this study visit, too.

Fighting discrimination and hate speech, racism and intolerance were the issues for the current discussion. It also aimed to identify aggressive statements intended to demean or discredit a person or a group of people based on protected attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sex, or gender identity. The case touched on interculturalism as a driver of related changes.

Representatives of intercultural cities of the Ukrainian network Vinnytsia as well as Odesa also participated in the thematic event, sharing their experience during the workshop discussions in groups. Intercultural Turin, Haifa, Bergen, Tenerife, and Mexico talked about their key anti-discriminatory projects, sharing success stories, out-of-the-box solutions and hands-on experience.

This thematic event turned to be a venue where the best practices were presented and where the participants created a map of effective anti-discrimination solutions. Hope burns bright that it will help to create an atmosphere of trust, overcome barriers along this way, and involve public officers or local authorities as well as everyone, shaping the corresponding philosophy of life and a belief system. Moreover, a sticking point in the talks was successful efforts to bring up the issue of anti-discrimination at the national level of intercultural cities.

The first day of the event was ended with field visits, so precious to deepen your understanding of relationships between theory and practice. Namely, it looked like visits to different parts of Turin, which are the centers of intercultural dialogue and evidence of an anti-discrimination work of the municipality in cooperation with local NGOs (Barriera di Milano, San Salvario and Aurora, local markets, excursions to various religious communities, etc.).

Annually, funded by local authorities, Piedmont region and the European Union, Intercultural Turin implements many programs on city restoration. The historic district of the northern city part ‘Barriera di Milano’ is therefore evidence. ‘Urban Barriera’ is ‘Integrated Local Development Program’ (PISU), an urban regeneration program that has been launched in Turin in the mid-1990s, capitalizing on a rich experience in local development and integrated approach.

Historically created as the customs ‘barrier’ of the city, Barriera was a working area. In the 19th century, the district experienced a huge industrial boom. Many companies from the production of spare car parts (Fiat), electric wires (Ceat and Incet) and to coffee production were located here, and it became the reason to accept it as ‘working’ one. With the end of the industrial era and the beginning of layoffs, this territory lost its industrial identity, having survived the struggle for its regeneration. To date, the area has the highest density of emigrants in Turin, including Somali refugees, as well as from Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, etc.

This outskirt is the most troublesome in the city, with the lowest salary rates, the largest number of unemployed, emigrants and the elderly. Since 2018, 30 municipal intercultural projects of different directions, from social to economic ones, are being implemented to improve life in this urban area.

In 2006, Bagni Pubblici public space was created to promote social interaction in the district. It brings together more than 15 NGOs, associations, local tradesmen, schools and various social institutions that work to improve the quality of life in their area and encourage the development of friendly relations between neighbors to overcome any manifestation of discrimination. Being acquainted with the life of the area, we visited this center, talking to its visitors, refugees from Africa, who migrated to Turin 11 years ago in search of a better life. They have managed to do a lot for the development of the community in which they live. One of the successful ongoing projects is the promotion of former elections and encouragement of participation of quite passive migrants in them. Art exhibitions, sewing lessons, theatrical activities, nursing rooms for breastfeeding moms and many other initiatives available to people with disabilities, which stimulate good neighborly relations, are among other activities.

The best practices, successful projects and case studies on the development of an intercultural approach to preventing discrimination, hate speech and creating new opportunities to solve many discriminatory problems were generated in groups on the second day of the workshop. Ideas on fighting with discrimination, rumors, stereotypes and prejudices, how to reduce them and promote more positive interaction between intercultural cities in this struggle, were presented after several hours of discussions.

Such a rapid modernization requires appropriate coordination of actions, which is possible in the case of strengthened society integration on the principles of dialogue, unity and priority of humanistic values. To address the issues of fighting with discrimination, hate speech and racism, there were good reasons to obtain specific knowledge about the peculiarities of the accumulated capital of intercultural cities,  “pressure points” in the process of its formation, the similarities and differences in a system of values ​​of different countries, as well as positive and negative consequences of anti-discrimination policy. A new experience, a new vision, and new perspectives for cooperation in this direction.