Programme Report “Intercultural City and Multicultural Symbiosis”
Organized by the Japan Foundation and the Council of Europe (1)
From October 31 to November 7, 2009, the Japan Foundation and the Council of Europe invited to Japan a group consisted of the representatives of Tilburg / the Netherlands, Neuchâtel / Switzerland, Patras / Greece, among the member cities of “Intercultural cities” programme; Mr. Phil Wood, a co-coiner of the term “Intercultural city”; and other experts. They made a study visit to Kani city and Minokami city of Gifu prefecture and Kobe city of Hyogo prefecture to see practical examples of “multicultural symbiosis” in Japan, prior to participate in an open symposium in Tokyo.
The Intercultural City does not view diversity as a threat, nor simply “cope” with it, but utilizes it as a source of dynamism, innovation, creativity and growth. Based on this latest idea, the Council of Europe has started the “Intercultural cities” programme with 12 cities in Europe to exchange expertise and experience among each other.
In Japan, in order to facilitate peaceful co-existence between indigenous and foreign inhabitants in a community, various policies are being carried out with the idea of “multicultural symbiosis” (Tabunka-kyosei). Some of these policies present strong parallel cases with those in the intercultural cities, where diversity is regarded as strength and participation in community activities are encouraged all across the ethnic landscape.
However, these initiatives towards integration at regional and community levels in Europe and Japan have not been fully introduced to each other, let alone studied comparatively.
This invitation programme and following symposium aimed at building bridges between Japan and Europe in order to share broader perspectives and exchange different points of view to mark the first step toward future exchanges.
List of participants
Members of the delegation from member cities of the “Intercultural cities” programme in Europe
Tilburg, the Netherlands
Mr Gon MEVIS, Vice mayor, Tilburg Municipality
Mr Thomas FACCHINETTI, Member of Neuchâtel's Parliament, Head of the Multicultural Cohesion Office of the Canton on Neuchâtel
Mr Panos KITROU, Councillor, President of Patras Municipal Enterprise for Planning & Development - ADEP S.A., El.Venizelou
Council of Europe
Ms Gabriella BATTAINI-DRAGONI, Director General for Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport and Co-ordinator for Intercultural dialogue
Ms Irena GUIDIKOVA, Project Manager Intercultural cities
Mr Phil WOOD, Philip Wood Associates Ltd, United Kingdom
Mr Olexandr BUTSENKO, Director, Development Centre “Democracy through Culture”, Ukraine
Prof. Pierre SALAMA, Université Paris 13-Centre d'Economie de Paris nord, France
Mr Thijs MALMBERG, Manager, Ordina Public Management Consulting, the Netherlands