ALDA Activity Report 2012

Activity Report 2012 – Association of Local Democracy Agencies

Report

Activity Report 2012 – Association of Local Democracy Agencies

Report

THE MUNICIPALITIES OF KARPOŠ (MK) AND FLEURY-SUR-ORNE (F) OFFICIALISED THEIR PARTNERSHIP (Lower Normandy-Macedonia decentralised cooperation programme)

Within the framework of the decentralised cooperation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Lower Normandy Region, the Macedonian municipality of Karpoš was welcomed in Fleury-sur-Orne, a commune of the Lower Normandy Region. The objective of the visit was to reinforce the partnership established during the first encounter in July 2012 in Macedonia and to identify fields of mutual interest for future cooperation.

During the visit, the Macedonian delegation discovered the commune of Fleury-sur-Orne and the way the administration operates and afterwards visited the cultural and historical monuments as well as the infrastructure of Flery-sur-Orne. Furthermore, the Macedonian delegation was welcomed by Sabine Guichet-Lebailly, Head of the Service of International Cooperation and Mobility in the Regional Council of Lower Normandy.
After several work sessions, a strong will for cooperation was demonstrated and several major fields of cooperation were defined: culture, local economic development, youth, social protection, energy efficiency. As a result of the fruitful work, Fleury-sur-Orne and Karpoš signed Protocol of Intentions on 18 December 2012 which reinforced and officialised their partnership. Correspondingly, Fleury-sur-Orne and Karpoš will soon start to implement their first joint activity.
Town twinning as a segment in the decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia builds up contacts and friendship with communities from the two territories and promotes better understanding. The Programme for Decentralised cooperation is coordinated by ALDA, the Association of Local Democracy Agencies.
For further information please consult the веб-сайт of the Cooperation programme, or contact Ivana Dimitrovska ivana.dimitrovska@aldaintranet.org.

Within the framework of the decentralised cooperation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Lower Normandy Region, the Macedonian municipality of Karpoš was welcomed in Fleury-sur-Orne, a commune of the Lower Normandy Region. The objective of the visit was to reinforce the partnership established during the first encounter in July 2012 in Macedonia and to identify fields of mutual interest for future cooperation.

During the visit, the Macedonian delegation discovered the commune of Fleury-sur-Orne and the way the administration operates and afterwards visited the cultural and historical monuments as well as the infrastructure of Flery-sur-Orne. Furthermore, the Macedonian delegation was welcomed by Sabine Guichet-Lebailly, Head of the Service of International Cooperation and Mobility in the Regional Council of Lower Normandy.
After several work sessions, a strong will for cooperation was demonstrated and several major fields of cooperation were defined: culture, local economic development, youth, social protection, energy efficiency. As a result of the fruitful work, Fleury-sur-Orne and Karpoš signed Protocol of Intentions on 18 December 2012 which reinforced and officialised their partnership. Correspondingly, Fleury-sur-Orne and Karpoš will soon start to implement their first joint activity.
Town twinning as a segment in the decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia builds up contacts and friendship with communities from the two territories and promotes better understanding. The Programme for Decentralised cooperation is coordinated by ALDA, the Association of Local Democracy Agencies.
For further information please consult the веб-сайт of the Cooperation programme, or contact Ivana Dimitrovska ivana.dimitrovska@aldaintranet.org.


FULL STREAM ACTIVITIES FOR THE ITALIAN ALLIANCE FOR THE EUROPEAN YEAR OF CITIZENS 2013

The Organisations and Associations of the Italian Civil Society, joining the Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens 2013, met in Rome, in the “Sala Natali”, by the Permanent Delegation of the European Commission in Italy (19 December 2012)
About 50 representatives of the Organisations, which have joined the Italian Alliance attended the meeting, leaded by ALDA and CIME.

The event represented the third official meeting of the Alliance and it was the occasion to establish important decisions:

  • an operative subdivision in seven Working Groups, (the role of Young People, Gender equality, Volunteering, Inclusive Society, Proximity and Subsidiarity, and, finally, Culture) headed by different Organisations.- Although these Working Groups represent the specificity of the Italian reality, they reflect perfectly the European macro-subdivision in three Working Groups;
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian Alliance and the organisation  of local authorities TECLA.

A detailed list of activities was agreed and in particular a first meeting in January 2013 to meet the future political groups that will run for the elections on the 24th of February to ask for their support for the cause of a more democratic and inclusive Europe.

The Organisations and Associations of the Italian Civil Society, joining the Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens 2013, met in Rome, in the “Sala Natali”, by the Permanent Delegation of the European Commission in Italy (19 December 2012)
About 50 representatives of the Organisations, which have joined the Italian Alliance attended the meeting, leaded by ALDA and CIME.

The event represented the third official meeting of the Alliance and it was the occasion to establish important decisions:

  • an operative subdivision in seven Working Groups, (the role of Young People, Gender equality, Volunteering, Inclusive Society, Proximity and Subsidiarity, and, finally, Culture) headed by different Organisations.- Although these Working Groups represent the specificity of the Italian reality, they reflect perfectly the European macro-subdivision in three Working Groups;
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian Alliance and the organisation  of local authorities TECLA.

A detailed list of activities was agreed and in particular a first meeting in January 2013 to meet the future political groups that will run for the elections on the 24th of February to ask for their support for the cause of a more democratic and inclusive Europe.


MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE EYC ITALIAN ALLIANCE AND TECLA

In occasion of the third meeting of the Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens 2013, the Alliance signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with an organisations of the Italian local authorities, TECLA (Association of Local bodies for International Economy). TECLA was represented by its President, Mr Battello.

The main aim of the Memorandum is to establish a strong cooperation between the Italian Alliance and Tecla, in order to ensure the diffusion and the support to the initiatives of the Alliance at the most extended level.
Through this, the Alliance can count on the synergy of this organisation and the cooperation with local authorities.
TECLA is member of ALDA, which has had a crucial role in promoting this action.

In occasion of the third meeting of the Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens 2013, the Alliance signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with an organisations of the Italian local authorities, TECLA (Association of Local bodies for International Economy). TECLA was represented by its President, Mr Battello.

The main aim of the Memorandum is to establish a strong cooperation between the Italian Alliance and Tecla, in order to ensure the diffusion and the support to the initiatives of the Alliance at the most extended level.
Through this, the Alliance can count on the synergy of this organisation and the cooperation with local authorities.
TECLA is member of ALDA, which has had a crucial role in promoting this action.


TRAINING AND WORKGROUP MEETING ON „COMMUNICATING SKILLS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS“. (Bihac, BIH, 13-14 December 2012)

As a part of the “Civil Society in Action for Dialogue and Partnership” project, Citizen Association “Democratic Centre New Hopes” Bihac, which is one of the partners in the project, organised a training with the topic „Communicating Skills and Public Relations“. The Training was intended for Municipality workers /local government officials from the municipalities/cities participating in the Project, and it was held from 13th to 14th of December 2012 in Bihac (BIH).

The goal of the training was to strenghten the capacity of local authorities in cooperation with NGO’s and with the society in whole, in order to facilitate the process of creating and implementing the local Agreements on cooperation.
In parallel with the training, there was also one more activity of the project implemented. This was the thematic meeting of working groups for support the civil society. By forming these workgroups the cooperation was continued with the representatives of local NGO’s, experts, think-tank groups active in monitoring and implementation of the cooperation agreements between the local authorities and civil sector, as well as existing NGO networks that are active in promoting good local government and building inter-sectoral partnerships. The meeting was attended by some of the veteran NGO activists from BiH, like Šefika Muratagić (Kljuc) and Vehid Šehić (Tuzla), which gave to the workgroups weight and efficacy.
ALDA is the leading partner of the “Civil society in Action for Dialogue and Partnership” regional Project, while other partners are members of ALDA network from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia – Local Democracy Agencies Mostar, Zavidovići, Osijek and Subotica, as well as Citizen Forum Tuzla, Centre for Local Development Breza, DON Prijedor and Nove nade Bihać, local non-governmental organisations which effectively contribute to local democratic development and implementation of municipal agreements on co-operation. The Project is supported by the EU, and it is a part of IPA Programme supporting networks of civil society organisations.

As a part of the “Civil Society in Action for Dialogue and Partnership” project, Citizen Association “Democratic Centre New Hopes” Bihac, which is one of the partners in the project, organised a training with the topic „Communicating Skills and Public Relations“. The Training was intended for Municipality workers /local government officials from the municipalities/cities participating in the Project, and it was held from 13th to 14th of December 2012 in Bihac (BIH).

The goal of the training was to strenghten the capacity of local authorities in cooperation with NGO’s and with the society in whole, in order to facilitate the process of creating and implementing the local Agreements on cooperation.
In parallel with the training, there was also one more activity of the project implemented. This was the thematic meeting of working groups for support the civil society. By forming these workgroups the cooperation was continued with the representatives of local NGO’s, experts, think-tank groups active in monitoring and implementation of the cooperation agreements between the local authorities and civil sector, as well as existing NGO networks that are active in promoting good local government and building inter-sectoral partnerships. The meeting was attended by some of the veteran NGO activists from BiH, like Šefika Muratagić (Kljuc) and Vehid Šehić (Tuzla), which gave to the workgroups weight and efficacy.
ALDA is the leading partner of the “Civil society in Action for Dialogue and Partnership” regional Project, while other partners are members of ALDA network from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia – Local Democracy Agencies Mostar, Zavidovići, Osijek and Subotica, as well as Citizen Forum Tuzla, Centre for Local Development Breza, DON Prijedor and Nove nade Bihać, local non-governmental organisations which effectively contribute to local democratic development and implementation of municipal agreements on co-operation. The Project is supported by the EU, and it is a part of IPA Programme supporting networks of civil society organisations.


HEARING ON LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN AZERBAIJAN – CHALLENGES AND POSSIBILITIES – WHICH ROAD FORWARD? (Brussels, 13 December 2012)

On December 13, 2012 ALDA together with the Congress of the Council of Europe organised a hearing on Local democracy in Azerbaijan. The hearing took place at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. The hearing was a follow-up to the monitoring report on Local and Regional democracy in Azerbaijan that was adopted by the Congress of the Council of Europe on October 17, 2012.

In the report, the Congress stressed the virtual inexistence of local self-government in Azerbaijan and invited the Government of Azerbaijan to take the necessary measures to adopt an action plan in order to implement the Congress’s recommendations and to fulfil Azerbaijan’s commitments as party to the Charter of Local self-government that Azerbaijan joined in 2002.
The hearing gathered relevant stakeholders to discuss the perspectives of developing local self-government in Azerbaijan and the role the Council of Europe and EU can play to support these efforts. In particular, the hearing aimed at identifying specific actions and policy initiatives that could be taken to develop local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan. Key experts such as representatives from the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the Committee of the Regions and BINA – an important NGO from Azerbaijan as well as one of the Rapporteurs of the Congress monitoring report on contributed to the event.
Local and regional authorities (LRAs) in Azerbaijan are faced with a series of challenges. First of all, they have very small budgets with only about 3.5 EUR per capita per year which results in a lack of capability to provide social services to the public. Furthermore, the municipalities are strongly supervised by the central government and have very limited authority. Another issue is that the capital city Baku is governed by an executive authority that is only accountable to the president and not by a democratically elected council.
The participants at the hearing agreed to closely observe the follow up to the Congress’ monitoring report. The EU institutions acknowledged that they will need to pay more attention to the development of local democracy in their work with Azerbaijan. Mr. Per Vinther, ALDA governing board member, stressed that the follow-up or lack of follow-up by the Azerbaijani government should be seen as a very clear indicator of whether we can have a meaningful dialogue with Azerbaijan and expressed his hope that we will see there is basis for dialogue. A first step to see if the Azerbaijani Government will follow up on the recommendations in the monitoring report is the expected participation of the Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan at the 2013 spring session of the Congress of Council of Europe.

On December 13, 2012 ALDA together with the Congress of the Council of Europe organised a hearing on Local democracy in Azerbaijan. The hearing took place at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. The hearing was a follow-up to the monitoring report on Local and Regional democracy in Azerbaijan that was adopted by the Congress of the Council of Europe on October 17, 2012.

In the report, the Congress stressed the virtual inexistence of local self-government in Azerbaijan and invited the Government of Azerbaijan to take the necessary measures to adopt an action plan in order to implement the Congress’s recommendations and to fulfil Azerbaijan’s commitments as party to the Charter of Local self-government that Azerbaijan joined in 2002.
The hearing gathered relevant stakeholders to discuss the perspectives of developing local self-government in Azerbaijan and the role the Council of Europe and EU can play to support these efforts. In particular, the hearing aimed at identifying specific actions and policy initiatives that could be taken to develop local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan. Key experts such as representatives from the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the Committee of the Regions and BINA – an important NGO from Azerbaijan as well as one of the Rapporteurs of the Congress monitoring report on contributed to the event.
Local and regional authorities (LRAs) in Azerbaijan are faced with a series of challenges. First of all, they have very small budgets with only about 3.5 EUR per capita per year which results in a lack of capability to provide social services to the public. Furthermore, the municipalities are strongly supervised by the central government and have very limited authority. Another issue is that the capital city Baku is governed by an executive authority that is only accountable to the president and not by a democratically elected council.
The participants at the hearing agreed to closely observe the follow up to the Congress’ monitoring report. The EU institutions acknowledged that they will need to pay more attention to the development of local democracy in their work with Azerbaijan. Mr. Per Vinther, ALDA governing board member, stressed that the follow-up or lack of follow-up by the Azerbaijani government should be seen as a very clear indicator of whether we can have a meaningful dialogue with Azerbaijan and expressed his hope that we will see there is basis for dialogue. A first step to see if the Azerbaijani Government will follow up on the recommendations in the monitoring report is the expected participation of the Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan at the 2013 spring session of the Congress of Council of Europe.


PLENARY SESSION OF THE EUROPEAN ALLIANCE OF THE YEAR OF CITIZENS - LAUNCH OF THE WORKING GROUP ON PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY AND CIVIC DIALOGUE

On the 17th of December, took place the Plenary Session of the European Alliance for the Year of Citizens 2013. At the moment, 48 networks at the European level are involved and they are acting throughout Europe for mobilizing citizens and associations, also through the National Alliance. So far, almost 15 have been registered.
ALDA was present with Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Director, who is now chairing the Working Group 1 on Participatory Democracy and Civil Dialogue, together with Diogo Pinto, Secretary-General of EMI.

The European Commission confirmed the Alliance as the coordinator of the activities of civil society in Europe and gave a great importance to the work of the Groups that will elaborate clear and fundamental recommendations to progress on a Europe, which listen and is closer to its Citizens.
The Plenary Session was an open discussion on the main topics of the Working Groups and how to develop them. A calendar of activities, starting with a large event on the 22nd and 23rd of January, in Brussels, at the EESC, was presented.
Other events are planned within the Irish President and the final recommendation will be handed over to the Commission and other EU institutions before the end of the year, in the hands of the Lithuanian Presidency.
The group of ALDA Italy is also supporting the Italian Alliance (gathering tomorrow in Rome) and launched, with the Local Democracy Agencies, the Croatian one. Particular attention will be dedicated to this Alliance for the future accession of Croatia to Europe. Possible antennas of the Alliance will also be organised in the acceding (in Western Balkans) where ALDA is particularly active with the LDAs.

On the 17th of December, took place the Plenary Session of the European Alliance for the Year of Citizens 2013. At the moment, 48 networks at the European level are involved and they are acting throughout Europe for mobilizing citizens and association, also through the National Alliance. So far, almost 15 have been registered.
ALDA was present with Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Director, who is now chairing the Working Group 1 on Participatory Democracy and Civil Dialogue, together with Diogo Pinto, Secretary-General of EMI.

The European Commission confirmed the Alliance as the coordinator of the activities of civil society in Europe and gave a great importance to the work of the Groups that will elaborate clear and fundamental recommendations to progress on a Europe, which listen and is closer to its Citizens.
The Plenary Session was an open discussion on the main topics of the Working Groups and how to develop them. A calendar of activities, starting with a large event on the 22nd and 23rd of January, in Brussels, at the EESC, was presented.
Other events are planned within the Irish President and the final recommendation will be handed over to the Commission and other EU institutions before the end of the year, in the hands of the Lithuanian Presidency.
The group of ALDA Italy is also supporting the Italian Alliance (gathering tomorrow in Rome) and launched, with the Local Democracy Agencies, the Croatian one. Particular attention will be dedicated to this Alliance for the future accession of Croatia to Europe. Possible antennas of the Alliance will also be organised in the acceding (in Western Balkans) where ALDA is particularly active with the LDAs.


INITIATIVE TO MONITOR SOCIAL POLICY: RESULTS OF THE FIELD RESEARCH DONE BY LDA NIS

LDA Nis is organising a roundtable with local stakeholders to present and put for discussion the key findings of the field research done by LDA on social policies and services for children in Nis.
The round table will take place Thursday 20th December and will focus, more precisely on (1) the foster care service and (2) the mechanism of inter-sectoral collaboration of the Center for Social Welfare and primary schools in Nis.

LDA Nis staff expect the participation of representatives of local government, educational institutions and relevant social welfare institutions and citizens associations interested in the topic.
Conclusions and recommendations from the roundtable will be sent to the local government in Nis.
The roundtable is a part of the activities that are being realized within the project “Initiative for monitoring social policy”, implemented on a national level by the Coalition Civil Society Focal Points (KOCD) and supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.

LDA Nis: Open call for “Nis Greeters”
LDA Nis has published a call for the first group of volunteer hosts – “Nis Greeters”.
This call is a part of the project “Welcome to Nis”, initiated by LDA Nis and implemented in partnership with the Office for Youth of Medijana Municipality and Nis Tourist Organization with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports. Local voluntary service “Nis Greeters”, that will be created during this project, is modeled on the work of a worldwide network of volunteer hosts, The Global Greeter Network. Volunteer hosts, citizens of Nis who love the city they live in, who are enthusiastic, open minded and eager to meet people from other cultures will offer to the guests of Nis interesting tours through the city and its surrounding.  All services of “Nis Greeters” will be free and open to individuals and small groups.
This program supports sustainable tourism, respecting the local environment and the local community while bringing the opportunity for economic prosperity. It aims to establish a lasting positive image of the city and create the opportunity for mutual cultural exchange and interaction between ordinary people for the sake of establishing and fostering good relations between people worldwide. “Gyumri city has a great potential to become attractive for the tourists” with these words historian, senior lecturer and sociologist of the French Paris 8 University Nora Seni opened the conference on “The role of culture in the Urban Development”.
The conference took place on 15th of December, in Gyumri in the art school hall after N. Tigranyan at the initiative of Armenian Local Democracy Agency in cooperation with the French Embassy in Armenia.

There were about 40 representatives from the cultural hearths, civil society and educational centers.
Nora Seni shared her experience and knowledge on urban development pointing out culture as a main tool to promote tourism especially in the industrial cities. If in 60-70ies the cities were built around one trade centre now the cultural hearths more likely museums and libraries are more dominant in the centres of the cities. The city Bilbao is the best example. It began to develop as soon as a museum with a specific architecture had been built there.
She also added that in France there are several cities that used to be industrial ones. And due to the museums that have been built on the territories of abandoned factories, the city has become an attraction for the tourists and the city development was promoted.
Surely, for this the assistance of the government is vital in order the culture is not centralized in one city.
The French Embassy in Armenia can support to create foundations, find sponsors that will finance such cultural projects.
The advisor of the culture and cooperation department of the French Embassy Jan-Michel Kasbarean clarified why Gyumri city has been chosen for sharing this experience on urban development: “Gyumri has been considered to be an industrial city, it owes historical and cultural values, has strong will to overcome difficulties, and culture can become a trump for the city”.
The participants shared with the lecturer the problems and main needs that puts obstacles for the culture development in Gyumri and expressed willingness to support the ideas of French Embassy for cultural development in Gyumri.

LDA Nis is organising a roundtable with local stakeholders to present and put for discussion the key findings of the field research done by LDA on social policies and services for children in Nis.
The round table will take place Thursday 20th December and will focus, more precisely on (1) the foster care service and (2) the mechanism of inter-sectoral collaboration of the Center for Social Welfare and primary schools in Nis.

LDA Nis staff expect the participation of representatives of local government, educational institutions and relevant social welfare institutions and citizens associations interested in the topic.
Conclusions and recommendations from the roundtable will be sent to the local government in Nis.
The roundtable is a part of the activities that are being realized within the project “Initiative for monitoring social policy”, implemented on a national level by the Coalition Civil Society Focal Points (KOCD) and supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.

LDA Nis: Open call for “Nis Greeters”
LDA Nis has published a call for the first group of volunteer hosts – “Nis Greeters”.
This call is a part of the project “Welcome to Nis”, initiated by LDA Nis and implemented in partnership with the Office for Youth of Medijana Municipality and Nis Tourist Organization with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports. Local voluntary service “Nis Greeters”, that will be created during this project, is modeled on the work of a worldwide network of volunteer hosts, The Global Greeter Network. Volunteer hosts, citizens of Nis who love the city they live in, who are enthusiastic, open minded and eager to meet people from other cultures will offer to the guests of Nis interesting tours through the city and its surrounding.  All services of “Nis Greeters” will be free and open to individuals and small groups.
This program supports sustainable tourism, respecting the local environment and the local community while bringing the opportunity for economic prosperity. It aims to establish a lasting positive image of the city and create the opportunity for mutual cultural exchange and interaction between ordinary people for the sake of establishing and fostering good relations between people worldwide. “Gyumri city has a great potential to become attractive for the tourists” with these words historian, senior lecturer and sociologist of the French Paris 8 University Nora Seni opened the conference on “The role of culture in the Urban Development”.
The conference took place on 15th of December, in Gyumri in the art school hall after N. Tigranyan at the initiative of Armenian Local Democracy Agency in cooperation with the French Embassy in Armenia.

There were about 40 representatives from the cultural hearths, civil society and educational centers.
Nora Seni shared her experience and knowledge on urban development pointing out culture as a main tool to promote tourism especially in the industrial cities. If in 60-70ies the cities were built around one trade centre now the cultural hearths more likely museums and libraries are more dominant in the centres of the cities. The city Bilbao is the best example. It began to develop as soon as a museum with a specific architecture had been built there.
She also added that in France there are several cities that used to be industrial ones. And due to the museums that have been built on the territories of abandoned factories, the city has become an attraction for the tourists and the city development was promoted.
Surely, for this the assistance of the government is vital in order the culture is not centralized in one city.
The French Embassy in Armenia can support to create foundations, find sponsors that will finance such cultural projects.
The advisor of the culture and cooperation department of the French Embassy Jan-Michel Kasbarean clarified why Gyumri city has been chosen for sharing this experience on urban development: “Gyumri has been considered to be an industrial city, it owes historical and cultural values, has strong will to overcome difficulties, and culture can become a trump for the city”.
The participants shared with the lecturer the problems and main needs that puts obstacles for the culture development in Gyumri and expressed willingness to support the ideas of French Embassy for cultural development in Gyumri.


LDA ARMENIA CONFERENCE ON “THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT” (Gyumri, AMR, 15 December 2012)

“Gyumri city has a great potential to become attractive for the tourists” with these words historian, senior lecturer and sociologist of the French Paris 8 University Nora Seni opened the conference on “The role of culture in the Urban Development”.
The conference took place on 15th of December, in Gyumri in the art school hall after N. Tigranyan at the initiative of Armenian Local Democracy Agency in cooperation with the French Embassy in Armenia.

There were about 40 representatives from the cultural hearths, civil society and educational centers.
Nora Seni shared her experience and knowledge on urban development pointing out culture as a main tool to promote tourism especially in the industrial cities. If in 60-70ies the cities were built around one trade centre now the cultural hearths more likely museums and libraries are more dominant in the centres of the cities. The city Bilbao is the best example. It began to develop as soon as a museum with a specific architecture had been built there.
She also added that in France there are several cities that used to be industrial ones. And due to the museums that have been built on the territories of abandoned factories, the city has become an attraction for the tourists and the city development was promoted.
Surely, for this the assistance of the government is vital in order the culture is not centralized in one city.
The French Embassy in Armenia can support to create foundations, find sponsors that will finance such cultural projects.
The advisor of the culture and cooperation department of the French Embassy Jan-Michel Kasbarean clarified why Gyumri city has been chosen for sharing this experience on urban development: “Gyumri has been considered to be an industrial city, it owes historical and cultural values, has strong will to overcome difficulties, and culture can become a trump for the city”.
The participants shared with the lecturer the problems and main needs that puts obstacles for the culture development in Gyumri and expressed willingness to support the ideas of French Embassy for cultural development in Gyumri.

“Gyumri city has a great potential to become attractive for the tourists” with these words historian, senior lecturer and sociologist of the French Paris 8 University Nora Seni opened the conference on “The role of culture in the Urban Development”.
The conference took place on 15th of December, in Gyumri in the art school hall after N. Tigranyan at the initiative of Armenian Local Democracy Agency in cooperation with the French Embassy in Armenia.

There were about 40 representatives from the cultural hearths, civil society and educational centers.
Nora Seni shared her experience and knowledge on urban development pointing out culture as a main tool to promote tourism especially in the industrial cities. If in 60-70ies the cities were built around one trade centre now the cultural hearths more likely museums and libraries are more dominant in the centres of the cities. The city Bilbao is the best example. It began to develop as soon as a museum with a specific architecture had been built there.
She also added that in France there are several cities that used to be industrial ones. And due to the museums that have been built on the territories of abandoned factories, the city has become an attraction for the tourists and the city development was promoted.
Surely, for this the assistance of the government is vital in order the culture is not centralized in one city.
The French Embassy in Armenia can support to create foundations, find sponsors that will finance such cultural projects.
The advisor of the culture and cooperation department of the French Embassy Jan-Michel Kasbarean clarified why Gyumri city has been chosen for sharing this experience on urban development: “Gyumri has been considered to be an industrial city, it owes historical and cultural values, has strong will to overcome difficulties, and culture can become a trump for the city”.
The participants shared with the lecturer the problems and main needs that puts obstacles for the culture development in Gyumri and expressed willingness to support the ideas of French Embassy for cultural development in Gyumri.


LDA NIS: OPEN CALL FOR “NIS GREETERS”

LDA Nis has published a call for the first group of volunteer hosts – “Nis Greeters”.
This call is a part of the project “Welcome to Nis”, initiated by LDA Nis and implemented in partnership with the Office for Youth of Medijana Municipality and Nis Tourist Organization with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Local voluntary service “Nis Greeters”, that will be created during this project, is modeled on the work of a worldwide network of volunteer hosts, The Global Greeter Network. Volunteer hosts, citizens of Nis who love the city they live in, who are enthusiastic, open minded and eager to meet people from other cultures will offer to the guests of Nis interesting tours through the city and its surrounding.  All services of “Nis Greeters” will be free and open to individuals and small groups.
This program supports sustainable tourism, respecting the local environment and the local community while bringing the opportunity for economic prosperity. It aims to establish a lasting positive image of the city and create the opportunity for mutual cultural exchange and interaction between ordinary people for the sake of establishing and fostering good relations between people worldwide.

LDA Nis has published a call for the first group of volunteer hosts – “Nis Greeters”.
This call is a part of the project “Welcome to Nis”, initiated by LDA Nis and implemented in partnership with the Office for Youth of Medijana Municipality and Nis Tourist Organization with the support of the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Local voluntary service “Nis Greeters”, that will be created during this project, is modeled on the work of a worldwide network of volunteer hosts, The Global Greeter Network. Volunteer hosts, citizens of Nis who love the city they live in, who are enthusiastic, open minded and eager to meet people from other cultures will offer to the guests of Nis interesting tours through the city and its surrounding.  All services of “Nis Greeters” will be free and open to individuals and small groups.
This program supports sustainable tourism, respecting the local environment and the local community while bringing the opportunity for economic prosperity. It aims to establish a lasting positive image of the city and create the opportunity for mutual cultural exchange and interaction between ordinary people for the sake of establishing and fostering good relations between people worldwide.