Not long ago, a government sub-commissioner, Sr. Francesc Francisco, informed us that, by the end of the year, 15% of the population of the counties in the province of Girona would be people who were born in other countries. The city of Girona will exceed that proportion.
Our society has become more complex due to this multicultural reality. More is heard about the migratory phenomenon in political speeches, in universities and in the media, as well as on the street. We must, however, advance towards constructing a real, more just, intercultural society with equal opportunities for all.
Girona has always been a crossroads, which has received influence from other cultures. Our city is a guardian of a very important heritage from those cultures. We have the Arab Baths, a magnificent Romanic feat of engineering, which shows a clear Arab influence and one of the most extensive and well conserved Jewish Quarters in Europe; the main architectural and urbanistic interest of the Jewish Quarter, or Call
, as it is known in Girona, can be found in the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta and the surrounding area.
The mixing and dialogue between cultures enriches, and we need to know how to enhance them. I believe that we in Girona have been working along these lines for some time. The Sergi
Foundation has been working on doing so for the last 15 years by organising Intercultural Weeks; the World Religions Music Festival, and the encounter called Fes - Girona also work to be a place for learning to coexist and for getting to know other cultures.
To work towards interculturalness means to work so that all the cultures making up part of our society are equally represented, without being marginalised or excluded, without higher or lower levels being established, but rather in the correct measure and with respect for differences and divergence. An example of this is the recovery of the Jewish legacy as part of our past and our history, which allows us to complete with precision the exciting puzzle that our present day reality definitely is.
We need to know how to make the most of the advantages that this coexistence offers, learn from our children the great experience that they have at school with its ever increasing diversity. In short, an effort needs to be made to coexist and see that we are all enriched from sharing with our children the wonderful experience of getting to know people from other cultures and places.
Only by getting to know the cultural diversity that surrounds us, and that is part of our society, can we come to an understanding, tolerance and mutual respect and enrichment.Ignasi Thió
Town Councillor in charge of cultural promotion
City Council of Girona