EU/CoE program: SPARDA

The European Union and the Council of Europe have established a new joint program: Shaping Perceptions and Attitudes to Realise the Diversity Advantage (SPARDA). This will last 18 months, will be coordinated by Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, and have a budget of over 1 million. The objective is: “To promote intercultural dialogue on the basis of the guidelines and recommendations set out in the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue [CM(2008)30] at local, national and international level. The programme addresses the democratic governance of cultural diversity, the promotion of democratic participation and citizenship, the teaching and learning of intercultural competences, the development of spaces for intercultural dialogue and the role of intercultural dialogue in international relations.”

For further information, see the announcement on their SPARDA site.

Making Dialogue Effective

The Dialogue Society in London is holding a series of panel discussions examining the question of how to make intercultural dialogue work.

“Those working with intercultural and interreligious dialogue at the community or professional level face a range of challenges regarding its effectiveness. We are asked, or ask ourselves, such questions as:

     

  • Does what we do make or contribute to a tangible difference to society in any way?
  • Does our work, whether directly or otherwise, reach beyond the sympathetic to those whose attitudes and behaviour are an actual threat to peace and social cohesion?
  • Are the relationships that our work initiates across cultural or religious boundaries of a meaningful and lasting kind?
  • Is our work part of something broader that is capable of effecting change on a grand scale?
  •  

This series is intended to occasion focused and constructive discussion of such questions among a range of people concerned with relationships between different cultural, religious or social groups, in their professional lives or at the community level.

Findings and conclusions will be published. It is hoped that the series will be replicated at three independent UK branches of the Dialogue Society, allowing us to draw on a wider range of perspectives in collating findings.

Objectives

  • To encourage interprofessional dialogue, interaction and cooperation between people working on intercultural/ interreligious dialogue, peace and social cohesion.
  • To foster dialogue between people engaged with dialogue at the personal or community level, and those concerned with the same questions in a professional capacity.
  • To explore and clarify the questions of what effectiveness in dialogue is, and whether and how it can be measured.
  • To find a range of creative and practical answers to the question of how dialogue can be made effective by

       

    • identifying and promoting current best practice and
    • identifying and promoting promising future possibilities.
    • To share these answers among all participants of the series and more widely.”
    •  

  • Originally posted on the Dialogue Society website; see further information there.

     

    Dialogue award for Eco Peace

    “ECOPEACE Friends of the Earth Middle East, an organisation jointly established by environmentalists from Palestine, Jordan and Israel and member of Friends of the Earth International, will on Friday 3 December receive the 2010 Anna Lindh Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue Award, at a ceremony to be held in Brussels.

    Taking place this year on the theme of ‘Intercultural Dialogue for Ecological Sustainability’, the Dialogue Award is unique in the fact that it is bestowed and voted upon by members of the Anna Lindh Foundation’s region-wide Network of 3,000 civil society organisations working across the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean.

    The ceremony will be followed by a debate on the theme “Can Intercultural Dialogue Prepare Social Change to Address the Ecological Challenge.”

    ECOPEACE Friends of the Earth Middle East is a civil society organization, conducting trans-boundary research projects and promoting cross border dialogue for ecological sustainability in the region, a fair share of natural resources of the Jordan Valley, and a just peace.”

    For further details, see the original announcement on the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument [ENPI] site.

    Our Shared Europe

    “The Our Shared Europe project is the British Council’s response to one of the major cultural challenges facing our continent today – the growing mutual mistrust between Muslim communities and wider European society.

    Our Shared Europe seeks to find common ground, and build shared values, perspectives and behaviours that are based on mutual respect and trust. In particular, it is about how to acknowledge the contribution of Islamic communities and cultures – both in the past but also in the present – to the shaping of contemporary European civilisation and society. This means recognising the rich and diverse roots of our culture and society and using this recognition to build a more inclusive view of the continent that we all share.”

    For further information, see the British Council’s site for Our Shared Europe.

    Mediterranean Intercultural Dialogue

    “In a unique demonstration of commitment at the highest level to enhance regional cooperation aimed at strengthening bridges between peoples and communities around and across the Mediterranean by promoting intercultural dialogue, countries of this region will come together under the banner of the UN Alliance of Civilisations to discuss and agree on a Regional Strategy on Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation for the Mediterranean.

    Ministers, secretaries of states of foreign affairs and representatives from governments of around 40 countries, as well as representatives of international and regional organisations – such as UNESCO, the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Council of Europe, the European Union, the League of Arab States and the Anna Lindh Foundation – will meet in Valletta today [November 11, 2010] to agree on an Alliance of Civilisations Regional Strategy on Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation for the Mediterranean and on its action plan.”

    For more information, see the original article in the Malta Independent.

    We no longer talk

    “A publication We no longer talk, which undertook the project Intercultural Dialogue – Creative Laboratories, has been published. The project Intercultural Dialogue – Creative Laboratories initiated creative activities in multicultural communities, exploring issues of memory, destruction of cultural heritage and the environment, social and ethnic conflict, migration and community building. Over a two year period, the work was structured around creative laboratories, with spaces for interaction and dialogue between different cultural groups using artistic practice. The work is documented at the project’s web site. This project was a partnership between Laundry from the UK, the New Culture Foundation from Bulgaria and the Borderland Foundation from Poland. “

    See details at the Lab for Culture website.

    Rapprochement of Cultures

    2010 was declared to be the International  Year of Rapprochement of Cultures by the United Nations. The following themes were identified:

    1. promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity;
    2. building a framework for commonly shared values;
    3.strengthening quality education and the building of intercultural competences; and
    4. fostering dialogue for sustainable development.

    800 activities have been developed to support these goals.

    See the UNESCO website created for the Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures for further details.

    Peace and Dialogue Awards

    “The Rumi Forum gave its traditional awards of the RUMI Peace and Dialogue at the dinner held at Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. At the ceremony, extraordinary individuals and organizations who have greatly contributed their time, energy, leadership and dedication to the cause of dialogue, peace,  community service and understanding were awarded.”

    See details at the Rumi Foundation site.

    Call for partners – Azerbaijan April 2011

    “Youth Exchange Public Union would like to invite 24 young people from 10 European countries to Baku for 7 day-training about intercultural and inter-religious dialogue…The training is scheduled for 01-07 April 2011 and will be hosted in Baku Azerbaijan Republic. Financial support is under the European Commission’s “Youth in Action” programme granting scheme. If approved, all costs will be covered except for 30% of the international travel and visa costs. Organizations from all 27 EU member countries plus Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Turkey, YOUTH IN ACTION PROGRAMME countries, EECA countries are eligible to be partners. The working language of the Training Course is English.”

    The deadline is November 1, 2010. See original posting for full details.

    Wageningen University-Intercultural Dialogue in practice

    “At Wageningen UR [The Netherlands] the number of foreign students and foreign staff is ever increasing. The university is populated by a richly varied group of people from diverse cultures, which makes studying, working and living exciting but not always easy. It requires trust and respect to meet ‘the other’ and everyone’s recognition that he or she is ‘the other’ too. Dialogue is needed for a constructive process of studying, working and living in an intercultural environment and in order to benefit together from the challenges and chances diversity offers.

    For that reason, the Executive Board set up the Intercultural Dialogue Team at the beginning of 2008. The group has been tasked with providing advise – solicited or unsolicited – on intercultural issues in the context of ‘internationalisation at home’. Both staff and students participate in the team. Intercultural dialogue is defined as a process that promotes an open and respectful interaction between individuals and groups from different cultural backgrounds. The Team is busy developing plans to create the conditions for intercultural dialogue and suggest solutions for problems that may occur.

    The team is one of the instruments by which the Executive Board is seeking to emphasise the importance of cultural diversity in Wageningen. At the same time it provides a vehicle by which to highlight ‘good practices’ and recognise problems with cultural diversity in the workplace.
    It includes representatives from all walks of university life – including students, lecturers, policy-makers and facilitators and has formulated the several priorities:
    *Welcoming of foreign students and staff, cultural introduction to Europe and the Netherlands
    *Education in intercultural groups
    *Week of Intercultural Dialogue
    *Opening a hotline during the week of Intercultural Dialogue
    *Making an inventory of links between various campus initiatives”
    (For more information)