All partners introduced themselves and reflected on why they joined the project and what are they looking to achieve from and in it. This introductory part lasted until 19:00.
The group was then taken for a city tour with a tour guide with an emphasis on Rijeka’s very diverse and turbulent history which included being part of 7 different states since the city was founded. The guide also emphasized all the parts of city centre that are connected to one of the many minorities that live in the city.
After very informative tour the group was taken to the restaurant where they were joined by delegated from Bulgaria and Holland who only just arrived.
Second day of the Conference was from 9AM to 5PM open to the public, many local and national media made a report and the news was covered in the media. First block consisted of introduction mainly to the complex terminology of the project and its meaning within the context of different perspectives.
Second block was used to exhibit the Capital of culture Rijeka – which means that 3 presenters looked in the bid book – its outcomes, and lastly at the programs. One presenter introduced one program called KITCHEN of diversity dealing mostly with migrations its benefits for the locals and many of the festivals celebrating diversity.
The third block was reserved for the academics and panel discussion, where each of the panellist use the opportunity to present its view on the topic of intercultural dialogue and how it differentiates in humanities, social studies, economics and among civil society. The moderator took notes and we have gathered the information.
The open part of the conference was then ended and the project team remained in the room to further introduce themselves and their commitment to the project.
The group was then taken to the building site where the new culture quartier is being built – as part of the CoC2020 – meaning 4 building that are becoming City museum, Children’s House, and City Library. We were allowed to enter the future City museum.- Sugar Palace – which is being reconstructed and the guide gave an overview of Rijeka’s industrial heritage as one the most important heritage that has as a side effect that many workers that came to Rijeka were immigrants. After the study tour we walked to the city centre for a group dinner, where we had authentic food from Rijeka, and some desserts from partners’ country.
The last day, Friday January 24th, was reserved for a study tour – firstly the group visited an Islam centre that contains Mosque, a restaurant, congress centre and a kindergarten. Imam from the centre gave an introductory tour about architecture and then continued to speak about differences between Islam and Christianity trying to emphasize the similarities. The group took some moments for questions and took photos. Then we went on to the Czech centre which is a unique house as it was build and it is run by a Czech minority, where they built a community (creative, dances etc.) where a majority are local (Croatian) citizens.
The visit ended by having Czech meal together. In between we had an hour to do a project check out circle to share what everybody takes away from the first event and what they are looking forward to in the next events.
On 22-24 January 2020, the Croatian city of Rijeka - 2020 European Capital of Culture - hosted a group of 28 international partners who met to launch together a Network called: European Towns Fostering Intercultural Dialogue and Combating Discrimination of Migrants and Minorities.
The first international network meeting in Rijeka touched upon central to the project subjects such as:
EUROPEAN TOWNS FOSTERING INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE AND COMBATTING DISCRIMINATION OF MIGRANTS AND MINORITIES