Why an Anti-Rumour Strategy?

November 16, 2015

Myths, misunderstanding and false information contribute to a toxic narrative that can distort local realities, feed bias and hurt the most vulnerable. To fight discrimination and counter the high cost of exclusion, the City of Barcelona developed the BCN “Anti Rumour” campaign, an innovative, multi-pronged strategy that promotes the value of “convivencia” (living together in diversity and intercultural coexistence). Today this highly successful program has been replicated in over 15 cities across Europe, with strategies ranging from street theatre and pop-up workshops to media campaigns and workplace awareness.

Watch the webinar recording (above) to learn about the Barcelona Anti Rumour strategy, its travels across Europe and replication in the cities of Erlangen and Getxo. What are the essential ingredients of a winning campaign? How do we get the replication ball rolling?

• We begin in Barcelona (Spain), where BCN’s visionary intercultural policy deployed anti-rumour 4.1.10“agents” and innovative community strategies to capture the public imagination and reduce discrimination – then the Anti Rumour Strategy takes off across Europe.
• From Getxo (Spain), we learn about the ‘DNA’ of a successful campaign, from political commitment and key messages to its participatory methodologies and mainstreaming approach.
• In Erlangen (Germany), we hear about how local employer Siemens AG adapted the strategy for a workforce training programme that fights discrimination against refugees and new arrivals –and is now gaining attention among other major German companies.


  • Annasophia Heintze, Policy Coordinator, City of Erlangen (Erlangen, Germany)
  • Ekain Larrinaga Muguruza, Leader, Immigration and Interculturality Unit, Getxo City Council (Getxo, Spain)
  • Dani de Torres, Advisor, Intercultural Cities Programme, Council of Europe (Barcelona, Spain)

Speaker bios:

Annasophia Heintze, Policy Coordinator, City of Erlangen
Erlangen, Germany

Annasophia HeintzeAnnasophia Heintze is a policy consultant and social scientist providing analyses and developing tools for policy makers across Europe to better deal with major cultural and social challenges of our time. She has worked on the European, regional and local level, where she developed a broad understanding of the correlations and reciprocal dynamics (and sometimes the lack of them) first hand.

Currently, she is a fulltime policy advisor with the Mayor of the city of Erlangen, focusing on Environment & Energy, Health & Sports, Education & Culture and Social Issues, including Asylum seeker integration. In her previous position she advised the Shadow Minister for Integration at the Bavarian Parliament, Germany. Annasophia has worked with the Council of Europe, and with the Intercultural Cities programme. She has designed and implemented a number of award-winning diversity projects. She lectured International Relations and Migration Studies at the National Centre for Research on Europe (the University of Canterbury’s Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, New Zealand) and the Science Po Strasbourg and was invited academic speaker and political representative at numerous international conferences.

Ekain Larrinaga Muguruza, Leader, Immigration and Interculturality Unit, Getxo City Council, Getxo, Spain

Ekain Larrinaga MuguruzaSince 2004, Ekain has been in charge of the Immigration and Interculturality Unit of Getxo City Council (Basque Country, Spain). The city is a funding member in RECI (Spanish Intercultural Cities Network). He carries out activities relating to: intercultural governance in City Council, specific host programs for immigrants, awareness programs (remarkable Antirumours strategy), and mentoring and support programs aimed at strengthening immigrant organizations. He’s also part of the local team in the coordination of DELI (Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration), a project funded by the European Commission, developed by the European Council in collaboration with the Migration Policy Group.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Deusto (Basque Country, Spain) and Master’s degree in Migration, Refugee and Community Relations from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He is also qualified as intercultural mediator by the Intercultural and Social Mediation School of Madrid (EMSI). He has worked professionally, and as a volunteer, in NGO’s providing legal assistance to immigrants.

Dani de Torres, Advisor, Intercultural Cities Programme, Council of Europe
Barcelona, Spain

Dani de TorresDani de Torres is an expert on intercultural policies and advisor of the Intercultural Cities Programme of the Council of Europe. He also advises other international organizations and several cities. He is Director of the Spanish Network of Intercultural Cities and leads the “Antirumours Global” project, an innovative strategy to dismantle prejudices and stereotypes to prevent discrimination and racism. He is also co-founder of Imacity, an organization on cities global development focusing on diversity issues, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Dani has been policy adviser at Barcelona Mayor’s Cabinet, and from 2007 to 2011 was Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue at Barcelona municipality. During that period he led the definition process of the Barcelona Intercultural Plan, the city global strategy for managing diversity and also promoted some innovative policies like the Anti Rumour Strategy. Before his period at Barcelona City Council he was consultant specialising on European projects on social cohesion in cities.  He holds a degree on Economy and postgraduate studies on Intercultural Education and European and International Studies.

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