On November 26th, the final SIG meeting took place in Prague. The SIG members met for the last time with ICP representatives to summarize the 2 years of the INTEGRA project as well as to evaluate its main achievements and contributions. The participants identified specific developments in the field of integration policy and practice, which has taken place within the duration of the INTEGRA project. This article summarizes some of these achievements and developments.
In terms of the city integration policy, the INTEGRA project findings were considered and included in the updated version of the Action plan of the Prague policy on integration for years 2020-2021. The INTEGRA priorities (such as combating xenophobia and hate speech/crime) will also be included in the new integration policy paper for 2022-2026.
One of the most significant developments regarding integration practice is the introduction of the position of an English-speaking intercultural worker who newly collaborates with the Prague municipal offices (at Prague city hall) to facilitate better communication between the office workers and the migrants who come to use their services. New positions of intercultural and community workers have also started to be introduced at some Prague city districts (for example Prague 7, Prague 13 or Prague 14).
The city has also further developed their city website for foreigners and started a new FB page to reach an even wider audience. Furthermore, some city districts started groups on social media in the mother tongue of the foreigners who live there (for example FB group in Vietnamese, Vkontakte in Russian, etc.) with the aim to raise their awareness about events happening at the specific location and to support their civic engagement. The city has also done considerable steps towards supporting civic engagement of TCN by supporting volunteering opportunities for foreigners. A special roundtable on the topic of volunteering of foreigners took place on the 12th of November as a part of the Regional Advisory Platform. As a result of the roundtable, the city in cooperation with ICP plans to develop a database of volunteering opportunities for foreigners which would be available at and promoted through the city website and FB.
ICP newly developed a material “10 tips on how to communicate with a foreigner” for all those who encounter foreigners in their every-day work (including the municipal employees). SIMI (Association for Integration and Migration), a representative of which was one of the SIG members, is preparing a more comprehensive manual for city officials regarding integration of foreigners (as a part of their project “Cities and Inclusive Strategies”). In September 2019, ICP organised a conference “Through Communication to Integration: International Perspective, Local Context” which focused on the topic of communication with and about migrants and in January 2020, ICP will start a new 3-year long project as a part of AMIF 22 that will focus on raising awareness of the majority society about foreigners and their integration into the Czech society as well as on the topic of disinformation in this thematic area.
All in all, the INTEGRA project has supported the realisation of these and many other important initiatives in the field of integration policy and practice whose impact will last far beyond the duration of the project. At the end of the meeting, the SIG members gave and overall positive evaluation of the project and its activities.
On 27th of November RiskMonitor distributed their newest creative tool - the card game The Unknown to one of the key cultural social spaces in Sofia - The Sofia Literature and Translation House.
The house is used for various cultural events, workshops, lectures, professional exchange and as a space which international artist can use as art residence while they work in Bulgaria. Many of these residents are from non-European countries themselves. The house is working with many young students, artists and translators as well as with kids, teaching them creative writing and offering them summer schools and mentoring.
According to Yana Genova, the director of the foundation, “The Unknown” will fit very well with the various activities that The Sofia Literature and Translation House is organizing. She was very happy to receive several decks of the game in Bulgarian and in English and confirmed that they will be used during events with Bulgarian and foreign participants.