On September 16th, 2016 the City Council of Krakow adopted the “Otwarty (Open) Krakow” program whose goal is to promote the value of an open-minded, multicultural city and create a local government more competent and friendly to the needs of foreigners and minority groups.

With Krakow’s accelerating reemergence as a center of immigration from diverse dynamics like the growing presence of multinational corporations and instability from neighboring Ukraine, it has become critical for the local government to implement this pro-active program as an essential component in the development and growth of the city and its evolving public life. Adam Bulandra, Vice-President of INTERKULTURANI PL and co-author and NGO advocate for the “Otwarty Krakow” program estimates as many as 25,000 foreigners living in Krakow, many of whom struggle with an inefficient and unclear local government apparatus and a politics of mistrust.

With the “Otwarty Krakow” program, the City of Krakow has committed to improving its interaction and servicing of foreigners through measures like creating a new government department dedicated specifically to the administrative needs of newcomers, translating the comprehensive Public Information Bulletin into multiple languages, opening an information point providing knowledge on utilizing public services like education and health care along with increased collaboration with organizations representing non-Polish residents.

Additional actions include developing more responsive mechanisms to incidents of racism and xenophobia, requiring anti-discrimination clauses in private rental agreements and an intensified effort to remove offensive graffiti in public spaces.

Furthermore, there will be visible campaigns and public events highlighting the contributions of different cultures and nationalities existing in Krakow including the creation of a multicultural center devoted to this programming. The goal is to cultivate solidarity and harmony among citizens in a society based on respect and understanding.

The “Otwarty Krakow” program hopes that the increased effort and opening toward foreigners will better harness their contribution to the city and increase their participation in local civic life. The program will be funded primarily by public funds allocated by the City of Krakow and implemented until 2019 by MOWIS – The Municipal Centre to Support Social Initiatives.

The entire “Otwarty Krakow” document, unfortunately only in Polish, is available here.