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Meeting the Challenge of Cultural Diversity in Europe

Moving Beyond the Crisis

Robin Wilson

Europe has talked itself into a refugee and security crisis. There is, however, a misrecognition of the real challenge facing Europe: the challenge of managing the relationship between Europeans and the currently stigmatized ‘others’ which it has attracted. Making the case against a ‘Europe of walls’, Robin Wilson instead proposes a refounding of Europe built on the power of diversity and an ethos of hospitality rather than an institutional thicket serving the market.
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Chapter 9: Trying it out: the Intercultural Cities programme

Robin Wilson


The urban milieu has throughout history been a resource for creativity because it favours encounters among its diverse denizens. The ICCs programme was established in 2007, just before the white paper, and has trialled the new paradigm on the ground. It has rapidly expanded to more than 120 members at time of writing, including outposts beyond Europe on all four other continents. It has developed as a repository of good practices in a host of domains, from stimulating encounters in a convivial environment to assisting refugee integration into the economic arena. It has worked best with committed political leadership, ‘joined-up’ government across the municipality and engagement of NGOs, all best drawn together in a bespoke municipal integration strategy. There is quantitative evidence that in ICCs member cities attitudes are more xenophilic and general wellbeing is higher. There are, however, tensions with national governments influenced by the populists.

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