Rochester becomes 1st intercultural city in U.S. - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester becomes 1st intercultural city in U.S.

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Rochester is now the first city in the United States to join the Intercultural Cities Initiative by the Council of Europe.

This is one of the first steps Rochester is taking to realize and promote how diverse the city is, and what role immigrants and minorities play in making it unique.

Rochester city and Journey to Growth are working with the Council of Europe to help immigrants and minorities become interculturally integrated.

"Our city is the sum of all of us working and living here," said Journey to Growth Co-Chair Rebeca Sedarski

The intercultural Cities program supports cities around Europe, and now Rochester, to review policies that take immigrants and minorities into consideration.

Essentially helping cities develop strategies to manage diversity in a positive way and realize the advantages of diversity.

"We know what dramas can arise if politicians and if citizens don't share the ideas of human rights, tolerance, diversity and inclusion. So we need cities to take on the role of rebuilding those values from the grassroots," said Irena Guidikova with the Council of Europe.

Rebuilding those values because Guidikova said they've slowly disappeared.

"It has been a beacon, the statue of liberty of welcoming and openness to the world for so many decades. Unfortunately today that image is eroding," she said. "So we have to make it strong again.We have to bring the original meaning back of a connected world that is really rich with diversity."

And maximize the value that culture brings to Rochester.

"To feel included, to feel that our cultures and our language and our experiences are valued enriches our city," said Sedarski.

Journey to growth will be collecting and analyzing data on the city, and will share that with Council of Europe.

The Council will then make suggestions and give advice to change of improve resources and needs of a diverse population.

The initiative was provided with $45,000 in funding over a seven-year period.

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