Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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IncluCities - 22.02.2023

The power of city-to-city collaboration: improving migrant integration into small-sized cities
After three years of exchanging knowledge, IncluCities will reach its finishing line. To celebrate the achievements and new partnerships, the IncluCities cohort will meet in Brussels for the very last time, on 28 and 29 March, at the occasion of its final conference.

The event will present many inspirational speakers on several topics touching upon migrant integration as a central point of the IncluCities project. For the last three years, it has focused on facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practices between eight cities from all around Europe. The main goal has been to improve the integration and inclusion of third-country nationals into small and middle-sized cities. To achieve that, it worked on capacity building of local and regional government associations and advocated for cities to be placed at the heart of future EU policies on integration in order for their needs to be better addressed.

IncluCities storytelling project and photo exhibition

The first day’s event will have the Internal IncluCities Consortium meet for the last time at the CEMR in the House of European Municipalities and Regions. In the evening, the guests will meet in a less formal setting for a social event, accompanied by Tatyos Ensemble and marked with a vernissage, showcasing photographs of newcomers in the mentee cities. Their representatives will walk the audience through the stories behind the pictures.

Some of the photos reflect the lives of the Ukrainian refugees in Jelgava. Others focus on the daily lives of migrants and refugees who have found new homes in Greece and France or who found their Italian buddies in Capaci.

Forward-thinking speakers

The main event will follow the day after at the European Committee of the Regions. The conference will be hosted by Antje Grotheer, Vice President of Bremen State Parliament, from the CoR and will give the floor to many relevant voices: keynote speaker Morella Siemers from the Cabinet of Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs at the European Commission, and Anila Noor from the European Migrant Advisory Board and New Women Connectors. The central debate will bring together Mayors and city councillors of involved cities to exchange on integration and co-designing inclusion policies in their local contexts in Mechelen, Schaerbeek, Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle, Jelgava, Fuenlabrada, Capaci, Levadia and the City of Brussels.

The event will also offer three engaging workshops that will centre around three topics: a gender-sensitive approach to local inclusion, the inclusion of migrants and refugees in small localities, and finally, language, education and volunteering as tools for long-term inclusion. With a graphic facilitator, the wrap-up of the conference will point out key outcomes in different and more intriguing ways. 
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