Concluded / Concluso
The 8th online peer-to-peer exchange meeting was organized on 8 March 2021 between the municipalities of Bari (Italy) and Krakow (Poland) to discuss migrant integration challenges and good practices. The meeting, opened and moderated by IOM, saw the participation of the Director and the Deputy-Director of the respective Social Inclusion and Social Policies divisions. Both cities were also represented by municipal social workers and thematic experts, working in the area of migration and inclusion.
The municipal representatives of Bari underlined the history of hospitality of the city, where 30 years ago 20,000 Albanians arrived in a single day: 8 August 1991. They outlined the many services implemented in the area of migrant reception and integration: the first-reception service, the multilanguage referral centres, the housing facilities, the services for migrant minors’ education, health and legal support, and the job matching centre “Porta Futuro”. The new plan for adults’ marginality was also introduced, which will change the existing one, taking into account the fallout of the pandemic. Then, two services were presented more in detail: “Families Without Borders” (Famiglie Senza Confini), a project involving Italian families in the temporary foster care of minor or young migrants, and the “House of Cultures” (Casa delle Culture), a mixed-use centre providing housing and referral services to migrants as well as cultural activities to the whole community.
The representatives of Krakow illustrated the latest trends concerning the presence of foreign nationals in the municipal territory – most of them arrive from the neighbouring Ukraine or from other EU countries, attracted by the city’s thriving high-tech sector. Among the many services implemented by the city to promote inclusion, Krakow representatives mentioned the municipal multicultural centre and its interdisciplinary team, the appointment of multicultural ambassadors, the training course for local journalists and the involvement of local influencers to fight racism and enhance the visibility of the municipal initiatives, the small grants for local NGOs, the MURAL (Mutual Understanding, Respect and Learning) training and the close cooperation with the Krakow University of Economics. The underlying principle is that participation is key to facing complexity.
The representatives of both municipalities expressed the intention to further enhance mutual information and exchange in order to learn more from each other and better understand how to adapt and replicate some of the respective good integration practices.
The meeting was part of the EU-funded project ADMin4ALL, which aims at enhancing the capacity of local authorities across 7 EU Member States (Austria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Spain) in the area of migrant integration, including through fostering the exchange of good practices among participating municipalities, while contributing to the creation of an EU-wide community of cities committed to integration.