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Going back to the roots to plan a better future | Civic Europe
Arts and cultural activities, Community development, social integration of migrants

Going back to the roots to plan a better future

rediscover the pillars of a millenary Arab culture in a Sicilian village to build a generation of young people based on intercultural dialogue


Who is behind this?

Emanuela Panke

Iter Vitis


Who is joining forces?


Idea pitch

Arab culture remains an important part of the melting pot of influences that hover over the whole Sicily. But in Sambuca in particular, from the names of the streets to the very name of the village Zabùt up obviously to the gastronomic tradition, it is something endemic, Bringing the roots back to the surface through initiatives that involve the younger generations means offering an additional opportunity for the development of intercultural dialogue, openness and social cohesion.

Where will your project idea take place?

Sambuca di Sicilia, Sicily ,Italy

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The area has a purely agricultural vocation over time, young people have moved to cities and farms rely on migrants arriving from North Africa, purely Morocco and Tunisia, for work. Overall, however, social cohesion and integration into the social fabric has never been created
Migrants are seen only as a workforce although some now have a family and a home in the area and not as community members,
on the other hand, after decades of abandonment by local young people, there has been a cultural ferment for some years, a desire to emerge and find new ideas to push the economy and the social cohesion.

Who are you doing it for?

The idea is to involve young generations of the area and young migrants to build a sense of local community that goes beyond prejudice and is based on a real social inclusion rooted in common origins. Furthermore, the project activities, in addition to creating opportunities for social and cultural commitment, can lead to an economic benefit in the medium term and to an increase in employment in the leisure and culture sectors that can keep children from leaving the village. The migrants will be involved first of all to feed the data base of content then to be trained to become teacher of their own culture of which they have to be proud ambassadors and start earning money working in a cultural domain teaching Arabic or culinary or visual art.

How do you plan to get there?

First of all, the establishment of a database divided by thematic areas: cuisine, art, crafts, language, etc. that can in some way constitute the starting point for building identity.
therefore the first target involved will be the old people of the community, teachers, librarians and anyone who is educated on the Arab history of the area.
Later this patrimony will be systematized in a captivating way and used to build the identity of the enlarged community.
Obviously the Arab background of Sambuca will not correspond to the identity of the Arabs of today, so a passage will be needed in which the material is examined with the community of immigrants to look for points in common.
Then we will start with a communication campaign and with a pilot program of activities managed by young people who, in concert with the municipal administration that will provide logistical support, will organize:
Arabic courses
craft courses
history of the Muslim religion and influences on Sicilian culture
cooking courses
Thanks to the collaboration of the municipality, the community will also be able to interact with schools to provide supplementary paradidactic activities.

What are the expected results?

The relationship between the cultural sector, active citizenship and social cohesion, enhance the development of transversal skills will have a long lasting and ongoing impact on the social environment of the locales in which the partners are based as well as the organizations working culture. Through the learning process in an informal educational approach, participants transversal competences will be impacted with the consequence they will increase a sense of entrepreneurship and the enhancement of creative expression in the generation of the cultural and social activities which form the basis of the organizations ongoing work programs as well as this social and civic competences being impacted so that activities are more effectively implemented for the benefit of the community

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Culture is one of Europe’s greatest strengths: it is a source of values, identity and a sense of belonging. It also contributes to people’s well-being, to social cohesion and inclusion. Furthermore, the cultural and creative sectors are a driver of economic growth, job creation and external trade. The cultural sector’s ability to engage with citizens, both established and newly arrived in the community, is a means of promoting intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and democratic engagement. The project has developed around the cornerstone that including the community, in all its multiplicity, is vital. This principle aids social cohesion, cultural exchange and understanding between the different demographics.

Why is this idea important to you?

Emanuela Panke is the manager of one of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, she worked since 2003 in cooperation project financed by Eu and focused on the development of rural area she is also consultant of the NGO Cisp for development projects in the southern shore of Mediterranean.
Francesco Calzolaio develops projects and applied researches for accessible and sustainable territory. A substantial part of his work revolves around the cultural territorial networks of cultural heritage. His professional experience of architectural design, restauration of historic buildings, and coordination of international networks.

€ 40000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

office expenses 5000
dissemination 5000
training 5000
multimedia editing 5000
personnel costs 15000
travel and accommodation 5000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Creating a sense of community between the inhabitants and the migrants by retracing the history and rediscovering the common roots of an Arab culture that has never subsided: in art, language and gastronomy, may we apply the same model to other communities in the future?



Idea created on April 1, 2021
Last edit on April 24, 2021

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