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Multicultural Ölfus

Doesn't society resemble the hand with its five different fingers, just like the nations that make up our society? If they do not get to know each other, they cannot work together properly.

We need multicultural center in the municipality. We can solve it with access to a hall of Versalir. People of foreign origin can then more easily get into contact with the community. Foreigners often have few connections outside their homes, and communication at the workplace is sometimes also more limited than it should be, due to language difficulties. Surveys show that immigrant children are confronted with more difficulties at school and dropout rate is high. It is considered quite serious because we want all individuals, who go through our school system, to have the opportunity to make use of their talents. It has also been found that children with foreign citizenship use the leisure grants offered by the municipality less frequently than other children, and that problem could be solved by providing better information.

Teaching Icelandic is a key factor, and it does not mean "a little Icelandic" but "real Icelandic". We should take care not to think about newcomers just as a workforce, so it should probably be sufficient for them to gain only a limited grasp of the language. Let us avoid such dehumanization and try to keep in mind that any individual who settles here, should be considered a member of society in the same way as everyone else. It is obviously an advantage when all employees can communicate freely with each other.

What has been done so far, such as holding multicultural weeks and occasional events, is not enough. The activities need to be conducted in a much more continuous, organized, and powerful way. Immigrants' initiatives need to be mobilized to promote their culture and specialties. It is the same for Icelanders, as they certainly enjoy promoting Iceland abroad. There are people from many nations and different regions, each with different specialities. For instance, some people could practice dances from different countries, and then perform on some occasions.

Increased communication is a prerequisite of necessary flow of information. Those who immigrate need no less than others to undergo all kinds of meetings and paperwork, encountering problems which can be difficult for everyone to solve. Sometimes children try to interpret for their parents, but of course, it should be as easy as possible to seek help in a proper way. Across the country, communities are responding to these societal changes, e.g. by hiring a multicultural representative.

We at Íbúalistinn want to take a holistic approach to these issues, by reviving the position of cultural representative. This role would then be expanded somewhat and called the position of cultural and communication representative, concerning the fact that in addition to handling traditional cultural projects, the intention is to encourage increased communication within the community. We want people to be able to enjoy themselves, and lack of facilities, opportunities, and initiative should not prevent that.

Rumyana Björg Ivansdóttir, 6th place on Íbúalistinn

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