Metropolitan representatives met for global learning workshop in Düsseldorf

Date: September 2nd 2019 | Location: Düsseldorf

What is the recipe for a school in which children, who were previously often ill and restless, now learn healthy and in good shape? How do you create a neighborhood that turns a desolate place into a lively, joyful place? How can people live together peacefully and sustainably when the population density is eight times as high as in Düsseldorf?

At the "Second Summit on Living Together" to which Mayor Thomas Geisel had invited 38 city representatives from 28 countries to Düsseldorf, they exchanged answers to the challenges facing their more than 60 million inhabitants. At the end of the three-day international conference, they reported on the results at a press conference on Sunday. "This conference has clearly shown that in many places we face the same problems and can learn a lot from each other - no matter whether we come from Asian, African or Western metropolises," said Mayor Geisel.

"Living Together is a constant discussion about tolerance, partnership and inclusion - the whole day has been rich in thoughts about core values that serve as the basis of the daily work of every mayor in every part of the world. Today we must share these values, especially when many populist politicians forget the warnings of the Second World War - the greatest tragedy that occurred in Europe exactly 80 years ago," added Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, Michał Olszewski.

On the second day, the delegates solemnly signed the "Düsseldorf Declaration" in the Tonhalle, with which they committed themselves to a continuous exchange of models for better coexistence, more integration and participation - and at the same time praised the "great success" of the conference as well as host Thomas Geisel.

They had previously presented many projects on these topics in the internal meetings and workshops at the Lindner Congress Hotel in a kind of learning workshop - for example Henriette Vamberg, Partner and Managing Director of the renowned Danish architecture firm Gehl Architects: "Don't plan the buildings first, plan the squares", she appealed in her lecture and presented concepts for places that can be used as meeting places in the middle of the cities.

Mayor Thomas Geisel emphasised: "I think it is important that affordable apartments are available in all parts of the city. This is not just a question of justice. I simply feel more comfortable in a district where there are also apartments that a policewoman and an educator can still afford.The second summit after Montreal in 2015 was very valuable for us," praised Armand Béouindé, Lord Mayor of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. "People flee here from the violent to the cities. This is a great challenge. At the summit we learned a lot about inclusion and living together."

"I am delighted that this conference has met with such a positive response that the delegates return to their cities with many good ideas. The network will continue to grow and intensify exchange. We already have several member cities interested in hosting the third Summit," said Magda Popeanu, Vice-Chairwoman of Montréal City Council, Canada, responsible for Culture and Diversity, on behalf of the Living Together Observatory.

At the beginning of the Düsseldorf Summit, Mayor Thomas Geisel welcomed the delegates in the City Hall and invited them to a city tour in a double-decker bus after they had registered in the city's Golden Book.The people of Düsseldorf are invited to inform themselves about the projects and impulses of the conference. An interactive exhibition with videos and sketches under the motto "Think tomorrow's city today" documents the discussions at the Living Together conference the previous day. Visitors will also be able to formulate their suggestions and wishes for the future of a big city. The exhibition can be seen from 1 to 7 September at the NRW-Forum and from 9 to 15 September at Café Europa, Marktplatz 6b.

Background:
The first Living Together conference was held in the Canadian capital Montréal in 2015. Mayors from all over the world gathered there to discuss the challenges of a constantly changing society. They founded the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together, an international network of cities that documents best practices to help improve the overall quality of life in cities worldwide through these exemplary projects. At the first Living Together conference, participants signed the Montréal Declaration to promote peaceful coexistence in cities. Düsseldorf has been a member of the Observatory since 2016 and this year is hosting the second International "Living Together" Conference on the topic of "Living together in the big city".

Prominent supporters can be found among the sponsors and partner organisations. Düsseldorf Airport and Messe Düsseldorf are the main sponsors of the conference and presented their contribution to the internationality of the city to the delegations. In addition, the Federal Foreign Office, the Strong Cities Network, Mayors for Peace, EUROCITIES and the UNESCO International Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Cities will be participating as ideal partners, as will Düsseldorf Marketing and Wirtschaftswoche as media partners. The "OECD Champion Mayors Initiative", a network of mayors led by the OECD, is also a partner of the conference.

Further information and photos of the event can also be found in our media portal at: www.duesseldorf.de/nc/medienportal.html. You will find a video on this topic on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/stadtduesseldorf  during the day.

Living Together Conference in Düsseldorf – who’s coming?

Date: July 2nd 2019 | Location: Düsseldorf

Delegations from 19 countries have agreed to take part in the upcoming conference on Living Together so far.  

Currently we are expecting 42 guests and delegations from Europe, Asia, America and Africa who will take part in the upcoming Living Together conference in Düsseldorf. As of right now 25 mayors and vice-mayors from 17 countries – for example Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, UK, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Benin, Bangladesh, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and Burkina Faso – have agreed on taking part in the summit.  

Partners and participants from all over the world will join Mayor Geisel and experts from Düsseldorf’s administration to discuss current issues that municipal communities are facing today. The goal will be to share best practices and create a vision for future urban development.

International Day of Living Together in Peace on May 16th

Date: May 16th 2019 | Location: Paris

Representatives from Düsseldorf at UNESCO in Paris

The United Nations are putting special matters into public focus by organizing „International Days“ such as the International Women’s Day or the World Health Day. Following this tradition the Second International Day of Living Together in Peace was held on May 16th this year. The International Day of Living Together in Peace was initiated by the U.N. General Assembly in 2017. The UNESCO oversees events during the International Day on Living Together in Peace and has a round table discussion in Paris which Düsseldorf joined.

The chief diversity officer of the state capital Düsseldorf, Jana Hansjürgen, met up with representatives of various cities including Montréal and Strasbourg and debated on how a peaceful coexistance of people of different religious and cultural backgrounds as well as different sexual orientations can and must be achieved in pluralistic municipal communities.

During the round table discussion in Paris, the International Mayors Conference on Living Together in Düsseldorf (August 30th - September 1st 2019) was also promoted. Mayors and other high ranked municipal representatives from all over the world are expected to come to Düsseldorf and talk about questions related to Living Together in their respecitve cities.

„Internationality and diversity shape the city of Düsseldorf: People from all parts of the world, different faiths and ethnic backgrounds, different sexual orientations call Düsseldorf their home“, says mayor Thomas Geisel. „Tolerance, respect, freedom of speech and solidarity are no lip service. During the refugee crisis which the citizens of Düsseldorf greeted with their open and welcoming nature this became especially visible.“

The city of Düsseldorf has been dedicated to living together peacefully for many years. Düsseldorf has close relationships with its sister cities and is an active member in a number of networks that aim to exchange best practices. Therefore Düsseldorf has been part of the international „Living Together/Vivre Ensemble“ network since 2015 which by now consists of 48 cities. Goal of the organisation is having regulare professional discussions on current trends and challenges affecting municipal areas. These exchanges happen via the website of the Observatory, which is filled with many best practice examples, as well as personal exchanges between the representatives and administrations of the member cities.

Civil engagement is a key element for peaceful coexistence. During the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st and the Diversity Day on May 28th – both organized by the city's chief diversity officer Jana Hansjürgen – many events were arranged sensitizing the public for the matters of diversity and living together peacefully.

  • video message Mayor Geisel's video message for the International Day of Living Together in Peace on May 16th in Paris.

Living Together Conference in Düsseldorf

Date: August 30th - September 1st 2019 | Location: City Hall Düsseldorf & Lindner Congress Hotel

Second International Summit of the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together for best practice exchange

After the sucess of the first conference of the Living Together council in Montréal 2015, the second iteration is held in Düsseldorf. Invited are Mayors of different cities which will get the unique opportunity to talk about socially influenced topics, current challenges and collectively take countermeasures.

International Representatives visiting Düsseldorf

Date: January 29th 2019 | Time: 07:00 - 08:30 pm | Location: City Hall Düsseldorf

New Year's Reception 2019

More than 50 international representatives of the Consular Corps attended the 20th New Year's Reception at the City Hall on Tuesday, 29 January 2019. Traditionally, Mayor Thomas Geisel welcomed them in the Jan Wellem Hall in the City Hall. Mayor Geisel looked back on the events of the past year, which moved Düsseldorf as an international city, and also revealed projects for this coming year: In the summer of 2019 Düsseldorf will be hosting the „International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together“. Mayors from cities all over the globe are coming together to share ideas and discuss current matters.

Mayor Geisel said: „With this kind of network we are showing that it is not only a federal duty to organize peaceful coexistance but cities all over the world are participating in this mission.“ Finally he explained: „For the state capital Düsseldorf and me personally the international alignment and exchange with cities and people from around the world is a key element of our municipal tasks.“

International cohesion through city partnerships

The year 2018 consisted of many encounters with Düsseldorf’s twin cities such as the 30th jubilee of the sister city partnership with Haifa, Reading and Chemnitz. Düsseldorf currently has eight partnerships with cities and regions and thus tries to promote international cohesion. Many people from both sides contribute to keeping the relations lively by participating in sports, culture and many more associated events. „The sister city partnerships are a real, cross-border, uniting citizens‘ movement“, emphasized Geisel. In the fall of 2019 the 30th anniversary of the sister city partnership between Düsseldorf and Warsaw will be celebrated with the „Warsaw Weekend“. Mayor Geisel will also participate in the traditional „Düsseldorf Days“ in Moscow this year.

Background International Düsseldorf

The state capital Düsseldorf is inhabited by more than 148.000 foreigners. Those foreigners come from over 170 states. Most of them, about 12.600 come from Turkey, followed by Greece (about 10.300) and Poland (about 9.200). Asia has played an important role in Düsseldorf for multiple generations: The city has around 6.000 citizens from Japan and more than 4.600 from China (as of November 2018). With around 450 japanese companies in the region and around 250 in Düsseldorf, the city is the one of the most important economic locations for Japan on the european continent.