- Does the road to changing the world go through city hall? was the title of Benjamin Barber’s keynote speech at ICORN’s General Assembly in Paris April 2016. Very sadly, the profound writer and political theorist passed away last April, but one could hardly think of a more worthy and striking candidate to honor Benjamin Barber’s legacy than Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando.
“Mayor Orlando is internationally renowned as a defender of migrant rights”, The Global Parliament of Mayors states in the motivation for the award: “He is at the port to meet incoming migrants every time there is a ship that arrives. He is not just seeking to promote Palermo as a city of refuge. He is working with the EU to promote more freedom of movement for migrants, offering his city as a blueprint. Mayor Orlando´s proposals are bold and brash. He wishes to abolish residence permits. He is tireless advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable including economic migrants. He understands that there is an economic imperative as well: Europe needs more, not less migrants. His feeling is that Europe´s 600m people could absorb newcomers with ease (….)”
The Global Parliament of Mayors is a governance body of, by and for mayors from all continents. For the convening in Stavanger mayors from among others Cape Town, the Hague, Kampala, Warsaw, Bristol, Atlanta, Mannheim, Kandahar, Hebron and Palermo are gathering together with urban experts, NGO representatives and (UN) organisations to bolster and further develop the organisation, and to discuss vital issues on the urban agenda; “Resilient Cities” (climate change), “ Inclusive Cities” (migration), “Safe Cities” (urban security) and “Empowering Cities” (governance).
Orlando is known for the manifesto, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN MOBILITY CHARTER OF PALERMO 2015 - From the migration as suffering to mobility as an inalienable human right, a pioneering human rights manifesto that calls for a fundamental change in the treatment of displaced people by allowing freedom of movement for all.
ICORN Director, Helge Lunde, is involved as independent expert in the strategy session on Inclusive Cities on Monday 25 September, and ICORN will hold an presentation titled Solidarity, creativity, hospitality: Cities as refuge for writers and artists at risk during a master class session on Tuesday 26 September.