Barcelona’s ACSAR foundation presented the “Antirumour strategy for the prevention of racism” project, based on the city’s antirumour strategy to the “Open Society Foundation’s” Anti-Xenophobia Fund. The OSF approved the exportation of this best practice to cities of Sabadell, Getxo, Fuenlabrada and the island of Tenerife. The City of Barcelona also partakes in the project by providing support through its experiences. These cities are part of the Intercultural Cities Network (ICN) linked to the European “intercultural cities” network, a program backed by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the European Commission. Obra Social de “la Caixa” (“la Caixa’s” Department for Social Responsibility), an institution heavily involved in intercultural matters providing the ICN with considerable support also cooperates in this project. Finally, UPF’s GRITIM partakes in the project in charge of its external evaluation.
The project team includes Dani de Torres as director and Gemma Pinyol as technical coordinator.
The ACSAR foundation was founded in March 2005 as a result of the groundbreaking experiences of the ACSAR association, which during the 1970s launched the fight to dignify the concept of asylum and refuge in Catalonia and Spain. The foundation aims to contribute, supply, strengthen and diffuse a socio-political message related to the social transformation characterizing the diverse and shifting society in which we live.
The Foundations goals include: the study and creation of discussions which aid the acknowledgment of different groups as well as mutual respect; educating society through mass media; enhance and disseminate the concept of asylum, and; support group initiatives promoting social cohesion and an intercultural dialogue.
Meeting these goals allows the foundation to create and disseminate a forward-looking socio-political message, resulting in a diverse and changing society in which everybody feels welcome.
The team and the project
Dani de Torres is the project’s director and is an expert of intercultural policies, as well as consultant for institutions such as the Council of Europe and the Organization of Ibero-American States. Since 2013 he is the director of the Intercultural Cities Network (ICN), backed by the Council of Europe. Dani is also the co-founder of Imacity, a consulting firm specialized in the global development of cities. He was previously an advisor for the Mayor of Barcelona’s Cabinet. Between 2007 and 2011 he was Barcelona’s Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue where he promoted the Intercultural Barcelona Plan and encouraged innovative initiatives like Barcelona’s antirumour strategy.
Gemma Pinyol is the project’s coordinator. She is a migration consultant and has had ample experience in the management of projects related to international migration and mobility. She headed the Spanish government’s State Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration executive committee and was in charge of the migrations program for the CIDOB -Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. She has participated in several European projects and has been designated expert for the Regions Committee in various matters for the Citizens Commission, Governance and Foreign and Institutional Affairs. She currently directs Instratrategies Projects.
Open Society Foundations
Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression and access to public health and education. For more information see:
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is a international regional organization designed to promote, through the cooperation of European states, the creation of a common political and legal area on the continent, upholding the values of democracy, human rights and the State of Law. Created by the Treaty of London on May 5th, 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest institution to promote the ideals of European integration. As such, it is the only one to count on the membership of all but some European states. The Council of Europe is currently comprised of 47 members.
Top among its priorities is the reformation of the functioning of the European Convention for Human Rights in order to improve its speed and efficiency, the protection of national minorities and the fight against intolerance.
The Directorate General of Democracy (DGII) is mandated with supporting the Council of Europe’s actions in promoting democratic governability, and to put in practice its programme of activities aimed at the strengthening of sustainable democratic societies and social defences against discrimination, cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, a democratic citizenry and general participation, including that of children, minorities and youth.
It is within this framework that the Intercultural Cities programme, created in 2008, is developed. Arising from a European Commission initiative, it works towards the strengthening of communities throughout Europe in which diversity grows day by day and in which the management of diversity becomes a key challenge for the future. The goal of Intercultural Cities is to promote and strengthen prosperous cities set to become intercultural. As such they will be able to manage and explore the potential inherent in cultural diversity through the stimulation of creativity, innovation and the generation of economic prosperity and a better quality of life.
Obra Social ‘la Caixa’, ‘la Caixa’s’ Department for Social Responsibility
"La Caixa" Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 1904 by the Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Savings and Pension Bank), and is dedicated to the management of resources for the Obra social de "la Caixa", la Caixa’s’ Department for Social Responsibility. It is one of Spain’s largest private foundations and was created with the aim of contributing to the wellbeing of people and meet social needs in communities where it conducts financial activity.
In 2012, Obra Social “la Caixa” promoted a total 42, 056 initiatives in which over 8 million people participated. In 2013, 66.8% of its budget was assigned to the development of social and assistance programmes, 13.4% to science, investigation and environmental programmes, 12.9% to culture and 6.9% to education and training.
It’s main areas of involvement include the workplace integration of those deemed to be at risk of social exclusion, student bursaries, the spread of culture and science, social cohesion, the environment, health, attention for the very ill, integration of children with learning disabilities or resource disadvantages as well as senior citizenry, to name a few.
Obra Social “la Caixa’s” Intercultural and Social Cohesion program works towards the strengthening of intercultural relations and the management of diversity’s challenges. To this end it develops diverse activities seeking to involve citizens as a vital element in peaceful coexistence, especially in an urban arena.
The Interdisciplinary Group for Immigration Research (GRITIM after its initials in Spanish) is a multi-departmental group of the Pompeu Fabra University, created by researchers from several disciplines who share a special interest in innovative aspects of research and the management of processes for change that result from human mobility and immigration. Its main objectives include the promotion of theoretical and applied research in relation to political and social agendas.
Human mobility is a key element of globalization. The arrival and permanence of immigrants into European societies is a dynamic reality raising issues vis-à-vis the governability of social and political change processes, as well as the management of diversity and social cohesion. The Group seeks to explore the different dynamics of this historic and global process with needs a multidisciplinary approach through the use of adequate conceptual, political, judicial, social and economic tools. One of its main goals is also to contribute to the definition of a euro-centric focus in the study and management of immigration.
The GRITIMS’s basic priorities are:
- Multidisciplinarianism: Promotion of social sciences research in a multidisciplinary fashion (political science, sociology, international relations, literature, law, economics and discourses), generating methodological pluralism.
- Innovation: Special interest is taken in current academic debate research and linking the research agenda to Europe’s social and political agendas.
- Knowledge transfer: The promotion of professional training and tertiary research. The promotion and exchange of academic, societal and political knowledge. Acceptance of leading researchers and young researches with international projection and doctoral candidates with quality references.
Cities and territories involved in the project
- Barcelona City Council
- Sabadell Town Council
- Getxo Town Council
- Fuenlabrada Town Council
- Tenerife Island Council