Bologna (population 389,000) is located in central Italy and is historically known as home to Europe’s oldest University and a large and engaged student population. This vibrant, lively city is home of the Bologna Declaration of 1999, the prestigious EU initiative that developed intense and better structured cooperation among European higher education institutions. Bologna is also a leading example in cutting-edge initiatives for social inclusion, which have highlighted the ties between economic progress, educational effectiveness, and social equity.
In recent years Bologna has gained notoriety for welcoming refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers. Pope Francis visited Bologna in October of 2017 to acknowledge the progressive work being done to welcome, provide protection for, and integrate migrants. In May of 2018, the Bloomberg Foundation announced Bologna as one of three cities worldwide to be granted the “Engaged Cities” award, which recognizes citizen power in solving problems.