The URGENT project was launched in Strasbourg, France, on 28-30 November 2016 during the international conference “Immigration and intercultural dialogue, from the global to the local”. The first day saw a public conference during which local actors and international actors shared knowledge and practice on how to promote intercultural dialogue within European urban environments. The second day allowed project partners to define the methodology of the local process planned within the project, as well as to identify conflicting areas in their cities and learn more about techniques of territorial analysis. The third day was dedicated to field visits where project partners were introduced to the work of two local organisations based in Strasbourg: the Association Alsace-Syrie ad the Association CASAS.
The URGENT project organised its second international meeting on 6-7 June 2017 in Venice, Italy. The public conference “Reframing Urban cohesion in European cities: the diversity advantage” focused on urban policies to mainstream the diversity advantage and on urban good practice promoting migrants’ inclusions. It drew knowledge and experiences from international organisations, such as the UNESCO, the Council of Europe or RECFronteras, as well as from ‘virtuous’ European cities, such as Reggio Emilia (Italy), Venice (Italy), Etterbeek (Belgium) and Mechelen (Belgium). Internal meetings among project partners allowed them to exchange on the results of the territorial analyses and the use of participative tools. The meeting ended with field visits in Padova.
The URGENT project held its third international meeting in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, on 28-29 November 2017 under the theme “Reconstructing bridges within European cities: Civic participation against socio-spatial stigmatisation and boundaries”. The public conference allowed local authorities from across Europe to share experiences on their role in time of crisis as socio-spatial stigmatisation, social exclusion and Euroscepticism all reinforce each other. Then community-based organisations exchanged on their role in building intercultural dialogue and fostering inclusion. The internal meetings allowed the project partners to share information on the design and the implementation of the local paths pilot project, as well as to start working on recommendations to be included in a city manifesto on urban inclusion and the right to the city for newcomers. Project partners also had the occasion discover different aspects of the multicultural aspects of the city of Mostar during a field visit.
Athens (30/05/2018 – 01/06/2018)
Between 30th of May and 1st of June, the URGENT project consortium met in Athens, Greece to share the results of the local activities and to conclude the project during the final conference “Reactivating European urban citizenship: a network of inclusive towns”.
During the last international seminar, the partners developed a city manifesto to build a common understanding about interculturalism, social inclusion, integration of migrants. The project results are to be valorised in a Handbook collecting the experiences of the enactment that overcome stereotypes about immigrants and build counter narratives. Equally, during the seminar, ALDA in cooperation with European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation Amphictyony (EGTCA) and the Municipality of Agia Varvara, organised a half day conference where the project outcomes were presented to the local stakeholders, partners shared their pilot projects and a dedicated space for interaction and exchange of experience was provided during the URGENT Inclusion Fair.
The 35 international participants present at the conference had also the opportunity to learn about the Greek realities in regards to urban inclusion for newcomers and migrants. Mr. Georgios Alexopoulos, General Manager at Symplexis has shared with the public the challenges civil society organisations in Greece are facing, such as institutional barriers, financial or operational ones. Mrs Chrissa Geraga, Local coordinator for international city-networks from the municipality of Patras has shared their experience within the ARRIVAL CITIES EU project and Patras local action plan for migrants’ inclusion.
Equally, Mr George Krikri, Vice-Mayor of the municipality Nea Smyrni has stressed their commitment in creating more inclusive urban spaces. The local reality and activities taking place in Athens were present also by Mrs Giouli Gonou from the Hellenic Agency for Local Development and Local Government.
URGENT project is financed by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union. The programme offers multiple opportunities to both civil society organisations and local authorities to partner for European projects. Mr Antonios Karvounis, Europe for Citizens programme focal point in Greece has also shared with the participants during the conference the contribution of the programme to tackling the migration issue and the opportunities laying ahead.
The 3 days seminar concluded with a session on the future of the URGENT project where partners explored different funding opportunities to continue the work started. URGENT: Urban Re-Generation: European Network of Towns project aims at promoting city-level and local awareness-raising about the urgent need for establishing new intercultural connections among inhabitants of marginalized multi-ethnic neighbourhoods/areas and population of central areas. Within the project we are particularly tackling the growing fear of immigration and debating on how to overcome related misleading stereotypes, which feed euroscepticism and undermine fragile European cohesion.
More information about the local activities and project outcomes can be found on the project website.
Reactivating European urban citizenship: a network of inclusive towns” 31/05/2018 – Agia Varvara, Greece
Migration: Challenges for the Civil Society in Greece
Αποτελέσματα του έργου Ολοκληρωμένο Σχέδιο Δράσης
‘Europe for Citizens, 2014-2020’: Reflection on the Immigration Projects 2017