Rhizome Cities Network: The City of Athens successfully organized the 4th international meeting of cities

The 4th meeting of the Rhizome Cities Network was successfully completed at the conference room of the City Hall and Innovathens in Technopolis, on July 19 and 20.

With the main question “Who narrates the history of the city?”, the City of Athens together with member cities of the Rhizome Cities Network as well as local partners discussed how the voice of the city’s refugee and migrant residents can be part of its history.

The two panels provided the opportunity for discussion and reflection around the issue of maintaining a vibrant relationship between the city and its past to include its new residents. In this context, a cross-cultural tour of the Ancient Agora was carried out by a tour guide of “Multaka Athens”, a project that was recently concluded. The open event “A city that celebrates diversity – Art and culture as a powerful means of integration” highlighted the role of intercultural activities for the creative and meaningful coexistence of communities in cities.

The City of Athens presented two methodologically interesting and promising practices that it developed during the last year to the partner cities. The intercultural guides of the Multaka Athens Project and the students of the seminars for the naturalization certificate, with their own narrative, highlighted meeting points between Greek citizens, migrants and refugees in a unique way”, said Ms. Melina Daskalaki, Special Advisor to the Mayor of Athens for Migrants and Refugees.


Tyler Boersen, International press officer of the Athens Development & Destination Management Agency (ADDMA), emphasized that the related projects are developed with the promotion of Athens through ‘This is Athens’, which focuses on its recent history and the neighborhoods of the city and not exclusively in its classical past.


Overall, the two-day meeting was attended by representatives from the City of Palermo that is project leader  in cooperation with Studio Rizoma, Bergamo, Braga and Montpellier.  The City of Athens was represented by Melina Daskalaki, Special Advisor to the Mayor of Athens for Migrants and Refugees,  Panagiotis Psathas, Head of the Department for the Support and Social Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, the Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee issues – ACCMR, the Migrant Integration Center of the City of Athens (KEM) and the Athens Development & Destination Management Agency (ADDMA). The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees, the “Bridges” volunteer group, the Refugee Week Greece Festival, as well as academic researchers and participants in projects of the City of Athens participated in the event.

“As we strongly believe in networking, we are particularly glad to have come across cities, such as Montpelier and Palermo, which are creatively using art for the benefit of inclusion and coexistence. At the same time, we find it extremely interesting that the Rhizome Cities Network seeks to open channels of communication with African cities in order to expand the network”, M. Daskalaki pointed out.

The European project Rhizome cities, in a trial period of 18 months (Spring 2022 – Autumn 2023), wishes to develop a model of innovative intercontinental cooperation and exchange of good practices between municipalities and the civil society of the European and African continents. The project is implemented by Studio Rizoma and the city of Palermo and so far, municipalities from the following countries are participating: Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal and specifically Athens, Bergamo, Braga, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Manheim, Montpellier and the province of Reggio-Calabria.