THE Calvia town council is putting its faith in integration which it sees as a way of enriching the social and cultural life of the entire community, and as a result, it has organised its first Integration Forum, which will be held in the town hall today, starting at 5pm.
A council spokesman said that the Forum is just one step more in the council's policy of integration, which started last winter with the opening of an office to handle the affairs of foreign residents. Up to now, the office has handled more than 7'000 queries.
The Forum will be chaired by Mayor Carlos Delgado, accompanied by Balearic education and culture minister Francesc Fiol, government representative Ramon Socias and Calvia councillor for tourism and foreign residents Kate Mentink.
It will be attended by more than 100 people, members of associations and clubs which work with the foreign community in Calvia and have had very few opportunities to discuss common ideas and experiences.
The programme of the Forum consists of various speeches in English and Spanish, followed by a debate and exchange of ideas.
The first speaker will be Toni Pallicer, the Calvia ombudsman, who will speak on the history of the municipality.
He will be followed by Pere Salva, a lecturer at the Balearic University, on the subject of Immigration in Majorca, particularly Calvia, in the 20th century.
The third speaker will be Agusti Barceló, head of the foreigners' department in the government representative's office. His topic will be the current situation of immigrants in Majorca, and especially in Calvia.
He will be followed by Marlene Perea, chairwoman of the federation of immigrants associations, who will speak about the pros and cons of immigration in Majorca, and in Calvia in particular.
The last speaker will be John Lambourne, chairman of Ciudadanos Europeos, who will speak on Calvia as a pilot project of the European Union.
In the future, the Forium will be held every year, and will be complemented with the creation of smaller groups who will organise diverse joint activities.
Approximately 30 percent of the population of Calvia, which includes the resorts of Palma Nova, Magalluf, Santa Ponsa, Peguera and Illetes, is foreign and, according to the town council, this calls for diverse measures to achieve integration.
Apart from the Office for attending their needs, the council also runs free Spanish classes.
The council also celebrated Europe Day on May 9 and it was attended by 20'000 people. A team is already working on the organisation for the Day next year, in an effort to beat this participation.