Venice Academy of Human Rights 2017

The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation’s Venice Academy of Human Rights is accepting applications for its summer program. Please have a look at the call for applications and the detailed program on their website.

Key Facts
Theme: Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities
Dates: Monday, 3 July – Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Application Deadline: 14 May 2017
Faculty: Branko Milanović (opening lecture), Olivier De Schutter (general course), Wilfried Altzinger, Andreas Føllesdal, Dzidek Kędzia, Miloon Kothari, Manfred Nowak, Kate Pickett, Heisoo Shin
Participants: Academics, practitioners, PhD/JSD and master students
Type of courses: Lectures, seminars, discussion sessions and panel presentations
Number of hours: 34 hours
Venue: EIUC, Monastery of San Nicolò, Venice – Lido, Italy

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities
Instead of “the end of history”, we have lived through a major financial crisis, including a debt crisis in Europe that is far from over, and we are currently witnessing threats to democratic governance both from outside and from within the democratic system. Whether these are only temporary setbacks in the global spread of liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism has to been seen. However, it is reason to pause and reconsider the prospects for economic and social justice against the background of rising inequalities in the world.

The Venice Academy of Human Rights 2017, in co-operation with PluriCourts – Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, looks at these developments from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines law, economics, politics and sociology. Lectures and seminars by the distinguished faculty discuss the question what role do human rights play in enabling and promoting social justice. Are human rights an effective tool for the promotion of economic and social equality? Do human rights impose limits to privatization of particular goods and services? How do human rights enable a just economic and social order? These are but some of the questions that participants of the Academy will discuss in an intense programme over ten days next summer.

Venice Academy of Human Rights
The Venice Academy of Human Rights is an international programme of excellence for human rights education, research and debate. It forms part of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC).

The Academy offers interdisciplinary thematic programmes open to academics, practitioners, doctoral and master students with an advanced knowledge of human rights. Participants attend morning lectures, participate in discussion sessions and workshops and can exchange views, ideas and arguments with leading international scholars and experts. This includes the opportunity for a number of participants to present and discuss their own “work in progress” such as drafts of articles, chapters of books or doctoral theses and receive comments from faculty members and peers.

At the end of the programme, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance issued by the Venice Academy of Human Rights.

CFP Intercultural Innovation Award 2017

Call for Applications: Intercultural Innovation Award 2017

The call for applications for the 2017 edition of the Intercultural Innovation Award is now open. Deadline for applications: 31 May 2017, 5:00 p.m. EST. The Intercultural Innovation Award is a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group that aims to select and support the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world. Download the brochure here.

Eligible to apply for the Intercultural Innovation Award are not-for-profit organizations managing projects focused on promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding, and who are willing to expand their range of action. Examples include projects in the fields of combating xenophobia, education for global citizenship, interfaith dialogue, migration and integration, prevention of violent extremism, as well as initiatives addressing the needs of specific groups in promoting intercultural understanding (e.g. faith-based, youth, women, media, etc.).

Innovative Ideas for Intercultural Dialogue

I’ve recently read about several interesting ways people are encouraging intercultural dialogues, and wanted to call them to attention here. Readers are invited to post additional stories as comments, or send them in via email so they can be considered as additional posts.

The video “Hijabi” by Mona Haydar has only just been posted, and is already sparking a lot of conversations as a result of the uncommon portrayals of Muslim women dancing to rap music. A story about the videotape, including an interview with Haydar, is available on Huffington Post. Previously, she and her husband put up a sign saying “Ask a Muslim” and answered questions from strangers in Cambridge, MA, as a way of diffusing tensions. Read a story about this on Fusion. Apparently they were influenced by a This American Life episode, “Talk to an Iraqi” in which Haider Newmani set up a booth in cities across the US encouraging strangers to come up and ask him questions.

There have been many other examples as well, such as Firas Alshater, who stood blindfolded in the center of Berlin with a sign saying “I am a Syrian refugee. I trust you. Do you trust me? Hug me.” He went on to post a series of videos about  under the title Zucker (sugar), describing Germany from the point of view of a refugee, with lots of humor.

Recently the Tate Modern in London organized an exhibit entitled Who are We? in order to encourage conversations about the “multiple crises of identity and belonging in Europe and the UK”.

All of these efforts to start intercultural dialogues serve as important beginnings in different contexts. What other projects do you know about? What have you done yourself?

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Migration Policy Institute 2 Job Ads: Senior Policy Analyst & Research Assistant

  1. Senior Policy Analyst – MPI Europe

The Migration Policy Institute Europe (MPI Europe) is a nonprofit, independent research institute based in Brussels, Belgium that aims to provide a better understanding of migration in Europe and thus promote evidence-based policymaking. MPI Europe provides authoritative research and practical policy design to governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders who seek more effective management of immigration, immigrant integration, and asylum systems as well as successful outcomes for newcomers, families of immigrant background, and receiving communities in Europe. MPI Europe works collaboratively with the International Programme of its sister organisation, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), based in Washington, DC.

MPI Europe seeks a highly motivated Policy Analyst/Senior Policy Analyst to join its dynamic Brussels team. The successful candidate will demonstrate exceptional writing, editing, and analytical skills and a thorough understanding of European policy frameworks and systems to manage immigration and asylum. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Closing date: 14 April 2017

2. Research Assistant, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to the study of national and international migration policies, seeks an exceptional individual to work in its National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy (NCIIP) in Washington, DC. The Research Assistant’s primary responsibilities will be to assist with qualitative and quantitative research and provide programmatic support in several areas of NCIIP’s work. These include, but are not limited to, the ability of adult English/basic education, workforce training, and postsecondary education systems to support the successful integration of first- and second-generation immigrants and refugees.

This position is available immediately. Applications are due by close of business on April 21, 2017.

[For details, follow the links provided]

Venice School of Human Rights/Academy of Human Rights 2017 (Italy)

Venice School of Human Rights
9-17 June 2017

European InterUniversity Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) Venice School of Human Rights was born in 2010 with the goal of studying today’s challenges in the field of human rights. It allows its participants coming from all over the world to list these challenges and examine their reasons and possible solutions they can deploy. The EIUC Venice School at the same time, combines theory and practice and its faculty involves both academics and practitioners. The Venice School intends to highlight that the respect for human rights is the responsibility of all, that «Human Rights are our responsibility».

Courses are scheduled to take place in Venice at the premises of EIUC over a period of 9 days. The venue of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation is the graceful Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò, situated on the lagoon side of the Lido of Venice. The Monastery was founded in the 11th century and transformed into a Renaissance cloister in the 16th century. After the suppression of the Benedictine order in 1770, the monastery was re-opened by Franciscan monks for educational purposes.

Venice Academy of Human Rights
3 – 12 July 2017

The Venice Academy of Human Rights is a centre of excellence for human rights education, research and debate. It hosts distinguished experts to promote critical and useful research,
innovation and exchange of current knowledge. The theme Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities discusses the prospects for economic and social justice against the background of rising inequalities in the
world. Are human rights an effective tool for the promotion of economic and social equality? Do human rights impose limits to privatization of particular goods and services? How do human rights enable a just economic and social order? These are but some of the questions that participants of the Academy will discuss in an intense programme over ten days this summer.

Branko Milanović, Visiting Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center City University of New York and a LIS Senior Scholar, is going to deliver the opening lecture of the Venice Academy of Human Rights.
Olivier De Schutter, Professor at the University of Louvain (UCL) and at SciencesPo (Paris), will deliver the general course.

Type of courses: Lectures, seminars, discussion sessions and panel presentations
Number of hours: 34 hours
Venue: Monastery of San Nicolò, Venice Lido, Italy

Kids and Culture Camp

Fostering Cultural Diversity at CampEagan, O. (28 February 2017). Fostering cultural curiosity at camp. The Hill.

“there’s nothing like real knowledge of an individual
to destroy a stereotype”

Owen Eagan, who as writing a story for The Hill, a Washington, DC newspaper, contacted me a few weeks ago, to ask about intercultural dialogue. While I have no specific knowledge of or experience with the camp he was writing about, I did agree to make a few generalizations about intercultural dialogue, a few of which are quoted in the attached article.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue





For an agricultural and ecological exception…

As a founding member of the Michel Serres Institute for Resources and Public Goods, I received a link to this manifesto and a request to sign. I am posting it here because food is at least as important as other cultural goods, if not more so, since it is essential to survival. Read if you have a few minutes, and sign if you are so moved.

Food ExceptionFor an agricultural and ecological exception

It is widely accepted that certain cultural goods, instead of being considered merely as merchandise, should be kept separate from trade on the free market, with the aim of protecting the traditions and the vitality of all cultures and, ultimately, of protecting our shared humanity. Should this not also be the case for food – that is, for the very goods and services which provide for the basic human need to eat? Because eating is an inherently human, vital and social act, it is important for all of mind, body and spirit. Wherever we might be, whilst living or eating or farming, we may often think along the lines of the philosopher Heraclitus who, questioned as to why he was fascinated by a simple bread oven, replied: ‘Because even here the gods are present’. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was drawn up following the end of the Second World War. The GATT is considered a prelude to both the formation of the World Trade Organisation and of globalisation along the lines of free trade, and allowed for the exclusion of certain cultural products, including films and important national monuments. It was originally intended that natural resources – the products of farming, forestry and fishing – should also be excluded, but the Havana Charter of 1948 which would have established this was in fact never ratified. The result is that the recognition of a ‘cultural exception’ (exception culturelle in French) does not extend to that of an ‘agricultural exception’. This “agricultural and ecological exception” could be achieved with a new charter, agreement or deal following the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions which was adopted by UNESCO on 20 October 2005.

Such an agreement should have three aims, dovetailing with the definition of food security drawn up by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), i.e. permitting access to sufficient and nutritious food, access to food which is safe, and access to the kind of food that people want. Just as with access to culture, it would not be sufficient to simply have a uniform range of food made available to all through the globalised economy. Many have picked up on the fact that in March 2012 Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, commented that today’s systems of food production are ‘making us sick’. Beyond matters of hygiene and overconsumption which can lead to obesity and diabetes, this sickness is moral (e.g. mistrust of industry and loss of diversity); social (indebtedness and decline in the quality of life of farmers); environmental (reduction of bio-cultural and genetic diversity); political (disengagement of the public sector); and economic (the apparent omnipotence of multinational companies and the system of free trade). In this context, it is easy to see how people do not have access to food that is culturally appropriate; and that corresponds to the global diversity of gastronomy, farming systems, traditions and religious considerations. Just as, for example, it is hard to imagine how everyone’s right to culture would be served by only having access to the same few TV series. We believe that just as the diversity of cultural expression needs to be protected, so does that of agricultural (bio)diversity. And this is why we, the undersigned, make the following calls:

1. To emphasize food democracy Big issues in food production should not be the exclusive realm of large firms, lobbyists, unions, technicians and engineers. They are also social and political matters that deserve more than ever to be treated as part of a democratic process. Within the democratised food system that we are calling for, each citizen would be a consequential actor who can judge, taste, evaluate and choose, with the result that public opinion would no longer just be something consulted at the end of the production chain. We, as members of a food democracy, would be on the side of farmers, and would support the principle of food sovereignty. Indeed we would be co-producers, in the sense that we would become more aware of the origin of food, the work of farmers, the conditions livestock are kept in, the way products are made, environmental constraints, commercial considerations, hygiene regulations, matters of nutrition, and ultimately more aware of the sum of cultural and chemosensory properties of food which are as essential to basic human nutritional needs as they are to our shared humanity.

2. To change the current agricultural order To mitigate the worsening conditions experienced by farmers, a top to bottom review of the models of innovation and organisation of farming practices will be necessary. Before the Green Revolution, farmers had to rely on their own experience, expertise and judgments in their farming practice. Now, the food and farming industries, through their R & D departments and laboratories, promote and even dictate innovations. These are then standardised as intellectual property – intellectual property that can even extend to living things – at the same time as farmers become increasingly dependent on innovations which are prejudicial to their own expertise. We want therefore to raise awareness of the bottom-up innovations that come from farmers; innovations which address day-to-day environmental, economic and cultural challenges. It is the mission of alternative agricultural movements and salons to raise awareness of and to help promote the kind of expertise that could change the current agricultural order.

3. An ecological transition in farming There has never been a better time to institute root and branch reforms of the agricultural sector. Social networks will allow farmers and citizens to widely and freely share expertise on the production of food. And, to take only a few examples, we can point to the ever-growing number of ecologically-conscious farming initiatives which are taking place today, such as organics, conservation grade farming, agroecology, agroforestry, permaculture, polyculture, diversification, and so on.

4. To rethink the question of price Contrary to what we might hear from certain quarters at the Salon de l’Agriculture, consumers of food and drink have motivations beyond the bottom line; and their interest in things other than price has been well served through alternative channels of food supply (cooperatives, box schemes, and local food associations, for example). A large-scale rethinking of the question of price would entail a bold new policy of supporting local food networks and investing in rural areas, as well as taking into account the geographic diversity of food crops, the varied cultural importance of different flavours, and gastronomic customs. It would follow therefrom that the exchange value of goods and services could build on their use value; better calibrating the supply of local resources and the demand they can meet. Proponents of free trade argue that the low cost of food supports the growth of democracy, but in fact the opposite is true! The low cost argument – illustrated, for example, by the recent news coverage of the problems relating to the intensive production of cheap pork in Brittany – implies that food has a negligible, almost null value; something shown in how its price, whilst potentially highly volatile, can always be driven lower.

5. To reposition small producers and farmers at the forefront of agricultural innovation Instead of just resisting, saying ‘no’, or imagining a retreat to traditional methods that have lost some of their relevance, we need to valorise and invent new methods of farming, growing, rearing animals, manufacturing food and selling it; activities which draw on experience and expertise but which are also open to experimentation, and which would be central parts of food democracy in the future. What weight does food democracy carry at the moment? Is it an embryonic idea, a minority pursuit, something rather insignificant in comparison to the vast power of the market? Well, if so, history shows us that minorities can brilliantly cultivate new sensibilities and forge new mind-sets, eventually allowing for revolution and great innovation.

6. To respond to health challenges We need to think of the agricultural exception as being in the public interest, a response to global health challenges; the health of citizens, societies and ecosystems. A co-evolution between society and nature is needed, and this would be the primary and immediate condition of a renewed model of civilization. We still need to imagine and put into practice what the agricultural exception could contribute along these lines. We see that there are obvious parallels between the right of access to food and the right of access to culture; this justifies our comparison of an agricultural exception with a cultural one. We hope this initiative by our collective will make it possible to establish an international convention on food democracy along the lines of the convention on culture.

It is with this object in mind that we are calling for an “agricultural exception” and with it, a New Deal for food and farmers.

Sign the manifesto.

Text by Olivier Assouly , Philosopher, specialist of the food François Collart Dutilleul, law professor at the University of Nantes Gilles Fumey, géographe, Professor (teaching and research), Sorbonne-university and ISCC-CNRS Ioan Negrutiu, biologiste, Director of the Institute Michel Serres at the ENS of Lyon Pierre Hivernat, Chief editor of Alimentation Générale Elisabeth Martin, Director of the Alimentation Générale’s events With the mentoring of Michel Serres from the Académie Française

Download the manifesto In french In english In romanian In Deutsch In Spanish



CFP Middle East Dialogue 2017 (Washington, DC)

Call for Proposals Now Open:
Middle East Dialogue 2017: A New Collective Vision
Friday, March 10, 2017
Held at the historic Whittemore House, Washington DC
Call for Proposals – 2017
Middle East Dialogue 2017 Preliminary program 

The Middle East Dialogue is for policy makers, scholars, business and social leaders, to discuss current issues. Its purpose is to promote multidisciplinary conversation about topics that include, but are not limited to education initiatives, social, economic and political reforms, nuclear proliferation, interfaith dialogue, women’s gains and challenges, peace initiatives, and potential areas of conflict. We welcome a spectrum of political and religious persuasions to discuss issues in a spirit of tolerance and free discourse.

The early conference registration fee for speakers is $200 and $250 for conference attendees, due by February 28th, unless previous arrangements have been made*. Late registration fee will be $300 payable and mailed to:
Policy Studies Organization
1527 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
* Arrangements can be made to waive the registration fee on a case by case basis. For more information, please contact Development and Programs Associate, Roza Kessaci. Continuous refreshments, breakfast, and lunch, will be available for all those in attendance. There is no fee for students and guests of the PSO and its sponsors.

The Forum is co-chaired by Prof. Mohammed M. Aman of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Editor-in-Chief of Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES),and Prof. Paul Rich, President of the Policy Studies Organization. It is sponsored by the Policy Studies Organization, The University of Wisconsin, MilwaukeeAmerican Public UniversityDOMES, the Next Century Foundation, and the Capital Communications Group. Other sponsors are invited and will be added.

Call for Proposals – MED2017
Final Program – MED2016

Dialogue across Differences: Public Conversations Project Workshop

Dialogue Across Differences: An Introduction to Reflective Structured Dialogue
September 16, 2016, Watertown, MA
May 16, 2017<, Cambridge, MA

25 years ago, Public Conversations Project created a unique approach to dialogue that promoted connection and curiosity between those who saw one another as the enemy. Our approach has transformed conflicts across the country and the world – but its principles are widely applicable for everyday conversation. An intentional communication process can help individuals, organizations and communities build trust, enhance resilience for addressing future challenging issues, and have constructive conversations with those they otherwise “wouldn’t be caught dead with.”

Learning Objectives:
• Learn basic theory and practice of Public Conversations’ relationship-centered approach to better communication and dialogue.
• Achieve shared, clear, and mutually understood purpose in a conversation.
• Design a framework for a constructive conversation that will encourage people to participate fully, listen actively, and enhance empathy.
• Stimulate self-discovery and curiosity about the “other” through questions that promote connection, curiosity and caring.

As a result of this workshop, you will be equipped to:
• Communicate with self-confidence about difficult or divisive topics.
• Break destructive communication habits like avoidance, silence, or reactive responses, enabling those in a conversation to feel truly listened to.
• Design conversations, dialogues, or meetings with clear purpose, full participation, and a structure for moving forward.
• Employ effective and satisfying communication exercises in a broad range of personal and professional settings.

Who might participate:
• Executives in the nonprofit, public, or private sectors interested in shifting the culture of communication in their workplace.
• Managers seeking to lead more constructive conversations with a divided, frustrated, or distracted team.
• Clergy looking to broach a challenging concept with their congregation or internal leadership.
• Consultants in strategic communications, strategic planning, or organizational development exploring new ways to improve client relations.
• Administrators seeking to encourage collaboration between departments.

This workshop is approved for 6 clock hours for national certified counselors, Massachusetts licensed mental health counselors, MA licensed marriage and family therapists, and New Hampshire pastoral psychotherapists. Credits are accepted by the NH Board of Mental Health Practice for all licensed NH mental health professionals. For more information, please see our workshop policies. Public Conversations Project is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.

For more information, please contact training[at]