Promoting the Diversity Advantage
Since 2010 I have been a local authority representative on the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Network http://tinyurl.com/6z9st28. The main theme of this network has been promoting the diversity advantage, how city managers and policy makers should focus on the benefits brought to their city by Minorities and Migrants rather than using them as the scapegoats for any problems faced by the city.
Over the six years I have been involved in over 30 different ICC workshops, events and conferences presenting at most of them, as well as finding opportunities for expert staff when the event focuses on a more specific subject. As well as being involved in developing a yearly action plan, organizing and hosting a successful two day Study Visit and a conference on Faith and the Intercultural City, I have also represented ICC at conferences in Ukraine, Canada and Mexico. In addition I’ve made use of the links between cities to provide additional partnership and funding opportunities.
Working and living in an Inner London borough makes it straightforward to find examples of local authority leadership and decision making that are based on the Diversity Advantage. But it was also important not to feel that this put us ‘ahead’ of the other cities as the landscape of minorities and migrants is continually changing making it important that my briefings included updates of actions from the other cities that would be of benefit to us.
I am currently a Lead Expert for the Active Inclusion of Target Groups theme of URBACT III.