EMPIRIAE – Network Opening Meetings Have Kicked Off
Opening meetings have been organised under the aegis of EMPIRIAE – Experience Exchange Networks, a new project of the APC with a focus on sharing know-how related to successful development projects delivered by Polish cities and towns.

“Turn one victorious project into a multitude of successes,” was the motto followed by the Association of Polish Cities in establishing the EMPIRIAE networks, a proposition open to municipal “Local Development” Programme participants – and to other Polish cities and towns as well.

Experience Exchange Networks reference the core of what the Association of Polish Cities is. They are a platform designed to allow municipal representatives handling similar topics to contact each other, exchange knowledge and experience, learn from one another and develop new solutions associated with specific issues, key to the development of small and medium-sized cities and towns.

Over the past three weeks, opening organisational meetings have been held for three networks: DIGITAL CITIES AND TOWNS, ENTREPRENEURIAL CITIES AND TOWNS, and ACCESSIBLE AND FAIR CITIES AND TOWNS. The pivotal purpose was for the groups to get to know one another. “We wanted twenty individuals who had never set eyes on each other to become a group of friendly colleagues over twenty-four hours – as this is exactly how we want our EMPIRIAE to operate,” said Adam Mikołajczyk, network moderator team member.

Association of Polish Cities co-ordinators presented the concept and goals of Experience Exchange Networks at all aforesaid meetings. Representatives of cities and towns joined the effort of drafting rules of collaboration. Group work schedules and plans were designed. Lists of themes and matters to be explored by the individual EMPIRIAE were drawn. Municipal attendants described their needs in terms of thematic areas and methods of moving forward.

The remaining five networks will organise their kick-off meetings in May and June as well:

URBAN RESOURCES (local government finance / development funding)
CIVIC CITIES AND TOWNS (participation / consultations / co-operation)
URBAN HUMAN RESOURCES / STAFFING (Human Resources management)
Network for leaders (municipal mayors/presidents).

Before the end of June, the Association of Polish Cities will invite another participant group – cities and towns with OBSERVER status – to join the EMPIRIAE format. Their representatives will be given an option to join closed Facebook groups set up on the Association of Polish Cities profile, matching individual networks and their lead themes. OBSERVER municipalities will be i.a. the first to receive information concerning networking outcomes and evaluate them.