Report on the Third Practice Exchange for Intercultural Capacity-Building in Rome, Italy, in May 2010
Hosted by Italian trade union confederation CGIL in May 2010, the Third Practice Exchange for Intercultural Capacity-Building was organised by Platform for Intercultural Europe.
Find out what the event brought to light about discrimination of immigrants in the workplace. Read how intercultural dialogue along with diversity management and vocational training can strengthen anti-discrimination policies. The author, Platform Steering Group member, Chris Torch, pointed out that “we must develop a new language (...) there is a gap between the language used by ethnic Italians and by immigrants. One is based in the Host Culture “welcoming” immigrants into their structures – the other is the Arriving Culture demanding equal rights, equal power and shared responsibility”.
"Recommendations and Future Action
• Continue to create intercultural meeting places. The workplace is one of them - develop these into places of dialogue and understanding, celebration and exchange.
• Increase empowerment at the trade union level - there needs to be a decision by CGIL Congress to include ”immigrants” in the decision making Boards at various levels, not just forming special (and stigmatized) immigrant associations. Real empowerment means brings these new experiences into the board rooms and with real influence.
• Use more effectively the experiences of long time immigrants to help the entrance into society by newcomers. New methods for introduction into the society are needed - mentorship, educational projects, exemplary action.
• Focus more on changing ethics and attitudes instead of opinions and laws. This requires more work at the community level (connection between workplace and neighbourhood). Cultural and artist work is one of the tools for attidude change. Is a stronger alliance between culture and society possible? Is practical collaboration between the trade union movement and cultural organisations/artists possible?
• Form our counter strategy from another - new - perspective. Appeal directly to the inherent empathy and curiosity of the population. Can we really ”win the battle” against political manipulators and experts in media exploitation? No. We should not enter their arena but create our own cultural arenas - including independent media - to shift the focus of the discussion from ”us and them” to collective social and intercultural development.
Finally - could Interculturalism be the medicine needed to heal the psychological sickness caused by media manipulation during last 10-15 years in Italy? We must form new narratives embracing the enriching experience of immigrants in Italy for the last decades. We need new examples of success and participation."
The report was written by Chris Torch, member of the Steering Group of the Platform for Intercultural Europe.
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