COVID-19 vs. Intercultural Dialogue: What Impact? An interview of Professor Fethi Mansouri (UNESCO Chairholder, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia) by Ann-Belinda Preis (Chief of UNESCO Intercultural Dialogue).
A good question. See the entire interview, but for an excerpt:
ABP: How does lack of contact and social interaction impact the broader Intercultural Dialogue (ICD) agenda, which is built on connectivity, contact and exchange?
FM: This is perhaps where COVID-19 presents a significant challenge to the ICD agenda. Intercultural dialogue has, as one of its core premises, contact between people. And the reason why we have contact as a core premise is because there is an assumption that when people get to know one another, prejudice might be reduced, and that issues of discrimination might disappear. So COVID-19 and its emphasis on social distancing means that a lot of what we would like to achieve through intercultural dialogue, in particular in bringing people together, bringing communities together, bringing diverse communities together (and diversity here means diversity of ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, nationalities etc.)…
Intercultural dialogue is in itself an essential tool that we will need in the post-COVID-19 environment.
We will need to renegotiate a new global compact, a new social contract, and I think dialogue will have to play a key role in that. So it is being perhaps compromised right now but it has a big role to play in the post-COVID-19 world that will emerge.