MygranTour: a European network of migrants driven intercultural routes to understand cultural diversity
The project has been approved by the European Commission and will benefit from its financial support for 2 years. It is a very good news for MygranTour! The project gives to opportunity to Mygrants to lead groups of tourists to discover their cultures in their neighborhood. The project comes from an already existing project called “Città Migrante” created in Italy, in the city of Torino. Extended in the Italian cities of Florence, Genoa, Milan, Rome, Turin, MygranTour integrates all the principles of responsible tourism and creates the meeting between tourists and migrants but also with schools and local people and migrants.
EARTH is involved in the project and contributes by organising the last meeting in Brussels in May 2015. In addition, EARTH totaly supports the creation of the European network of the “Intercultural Urban Routes”
European Context of the project
The European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (2011) reaffirmed that Europe needs a positive attitude towards diversity and strong guaranties for fundamental rights and equal treatment, building on the mutual respect of different cultures and traditions. Specifically, it states that integration requires the engagement by the receiving society in accommodating the migrants, respecting their rights and cultures and that integration policies must specifically address the challenges of deprived neighborhoods in order to allow urban areas to stimulate economic and cultural activity and contribute to social cohesion.
According to the Qualitative Eurobarometer on Migrant Integration (conducted by TNS Qual+ at the request of DG Home Affairs and co-ordinated by DG Communication of the European Commission – may 2011), the general public in Europe feel that the main barriers to interaction are language and a lack of desire to interact on the part of migrants. Migrants, on the other side, feel that a combination of cultural differences, stereotyping and a lack of understanding from the general public all limit interaction.
Mygrantour: promoting the cultural diversity in Europe
The initiative MygranTour aims to promote the engagement of migrants and receiving communities in building a common interaction framework based on mutual understanding and the mutual respect of rights, obligations and different cultures.
The core idea of the project is the realization of “Intercultural Urban Routes” led by third country nationals identified in each city and trained as “migrant guides” to this purpose. The citizens participating in the “Intercultural Urban Routes” have the opportunity to learn about the traditions, languages, products, foods and artistic expressions brought by historical and actual migrations to the selected multicultural neighborhoods in the involved cities. Specific editions of the tours targeted to migrants recently arrived in the identified cities are developed to facilitate access to local public services and understanding of local cultures.
The initiative has been already experienced in Turin, Milan, Rome, Florence where has been very effective in facilitating the active involvement of migrants in the current area of residence and in improving the relations and interactions among all residents.
Objectives of Migrantours
The initiative focuses on two main steps:
1) The realization and dissemination of a participative research on the contribution of migration to receiving societies and the value of cultural diversity in intercultural neighborhoods of each city involved, which leads to the identification of the routes to share insights of local cultural diversity with the general public. Specific attention is given to the network of local public services in the selected area, in collaboration with local authorities. The participative research involves representatives from local migrants associations and CSOs dealing with migration (at least 3), from local authorities (at least 2) and third country nationals (at least 20). The research draft includes the contributions and perspectives of a group of third country national migrants living in the selected neighborhoods (at least 20) trained to drive the “Intercultural Urban Routes”.
2) The definition and implementation of “Intercultural Urban Routes”, realized with a responsible tourism approach and according to strict ethical and quality criteria agreed by the involved partners and based on those already defined and shared by ACRA, Viaggi Solidali and Oxfam Italia, early promoters of the initiative. The “Intercultural Urban Routes” are available for general public and schools also through the responsible tourism network. The routes introduce participants to the traditions, languages, products, foods and artistic expressions brought by historical and actual migrations to the selected multicultural neighborhoods in the involved cities, stimulating intercultural curiosity and comprehension, facilitating dialogue and understanding and promoting a better perception of third country national migrants.
Next steps for MygranTour
The initiative will be realized, together with our support in several European cities such as: Marseille, Paris, Genoa, Lisbon, Valencia and will lead to the creation of an European network dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of the “Intercultural Urban Routes” as a mean of enhancement of intercultural dialogue and comprehension.
Lessons learned about the contribution of migration in terms of diversity and enrichment for European societies will be collected in a single publication on European intercultural cities, with the aim to enhance the public perception of migration and promote a better understanding of legal migration. This output shall also be intended as a “travel guide” for European citizens to discover the contribution of migration and the value of cultural diversity, as well as a useful tool to discover little-known areas and activities in the new intercultural European cities.