The celebration for new citizens takes place annually at the Volunteer Fire Brigade Building.
Equality has been selected as the theme for the year 2018 by influence groups in the City of Turku. Promoters of equality will also be rewarded with the Year’s New Citizen of Turku and Multicultural Act acknowledgements.
#yksiturku music workshop
Turku is one the most multicultural cities in Finland. Over ten per cent of residents speak other language than Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue and Turku is home to citizens of over 130 countries.
– One of the slogans in Turku is ’Turku does good’. It refers to all the ways in which the city promotes the well-being of city residents of different ages and backgrounds. The ‘Turku does good’ concept also strongly supports the integration of immigrants and battling loneliness and social exclusion, says Maarit Luukkaa, Development Manager at the City of Turku Maarit Luukkaa.
Immigrants have an increasingly important role in the development and enrichment of the Turku region. Along with the positive economic development in the Turku region, the growth and the need of labour force will increase at least until mid-2020’s. Along with the growth, many international experts and professionals are expected to move to Turku in the upcoming years.
– Our city is becoming increasingly multicultural day by day. We work actively towards integration, but the attitudinal environment is in a key role. It is the responsibility of all of us to build a Turku where everyone can be involved and live a good, safe everyday life, says Multicultural Council Chairperson Muhis Azizi.
On 12 February, the City of Turku, Turku region public transport Föli and the Finnish League for Human Rights also launched an anti-discrimination campaign where city residents are encouraged to take action against harassment and discrimination in public transport. In social media, the hashtag for the unified yet diverse Turku is #yksiturku, #oneturku.
– Many acts and actors demonstrate that Turku residents want to cooperate with newcomers. In order to support and strengthen this dialogue, we want to thank and bring forward people and acts that promote equality and acceptance of diversity in our city, says Multicultural Council Vice-Chair Petja Raaska.
– It is important to bring forward immigrants who truly act as role models, says Azizi.
Residents make suggestions, the Council makes the decision
The New Citizen of Turku is a title bestowed upon a person living in the Turku region who has an immigrant background, while the Multicultural Act is an award given to a person, company, association or other type of community. The persons or entities awarded these titles increase contacts and mutual understanding between the immigrant and local populations and work to promote tolerance and integration in an innovative and open-minded manner.
City residents can suggest the Year’s New Citizen and Multicultural Act on the City of Turku website or using a form available at the Main Library, Turku-Piste and Citizen Service Centre Monitori. Nominations will be accepted until 4 March 2018.
Last year the person selected as the New Citizen of Turku was Paco Diop who is working as a coach for children. The award for Multicultural Act went to Föli immigrant drivers and the wide-ranging volunteer efforts of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi among asylum seekers and new citizens of Turku.
The Multicultural Council of Turku selects on the basis of suggestions made by Turku residents. The Council hopes to receive a wide range of suggestions but emphasises that candidates must have appropriate backgrounds. The acknowledgements will be handed in April at the celebration for new citizens.