Online dialogue: UK and Arab world

“We are looking for a motivated group of 13 young people from across the UK, to participate in an exciting new joint project between the British Youth Council and the British Council’s Global Changemakers Middle East and North Africa (MENA) programme, where we are giving you the chance to join other young people from the MENA region in a series of online digital dialogues exploring in depth common issues such as identity, education, health, climate change and more. 

If this sounds like something you are interested in why not apply!
Criteria
You must be…
● Aged between 17 and 25 and resident in the UK.
● Motivated and willing to learn and overcome new challenges.
● Able to commit for 6 months until June 2011.
● Have regular internet access
● Available for an hour a week to check the online Facebook group for updates and to answer any questions posted by other members of the community (this may be more during weeks of dialogue) and to read some resources to prepare you for the dialogue.
As a participant we will give you the opportunity to…
● Develop relationships & explore common issues with young people from the MENA region.
● Get training in facilitation skills and intercultural dialogue.
● Be supported to develop a community action project in partnership with young people from the MENA region.
● Possibly have the chance to attend a Global Changemakers meeting representing young people in the UK.”
For further information, and an application form, see the original posting.

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.

Bremen University Fellowships

“The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) invites applications to its Ph.D. and postdoctoral programs. BIGSSS is an inter-university institute of the University of Bremen and Jacobs
University and is funded by the German Excellence Initiative. The program provides close supervision of dissertation work within a demand-tailored education and research framework. Fellows are expected to choose Bremen as their place of residence. BIGSSS is part of an international network of highly acknowledged graduate programs. It supports its doctoral and postdoctoral fellows in achieving early scientific independence and provides funds for the conduct, presentation, and publishing of their research. The language of instruction is English, and non-German students are encouraged to apply.

Successful applicants for the Ph.D. and Preparatory Fellowships will pursue a topic in one or more of BIGSSS’ five Thematic Fields:
– Global Integration
– Integration and Diversity in the New Europe
– Social Integration and the Welfare State
– Attitude Formation, Value Change, and Intercultural Communication
– Life-Course and Lifespan Dynamics.

15 Ph.D. Stipends/Fellowships: BIGSSS seeks candidates with strong academic abilities and a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in political science, sociology, or psychology.

2 Preparatory Fellowships for BA Graduates: Additionally BIGSSS offers 2 stipends of € 850/month for particularly talented BA graduates. After fulfilling some course requirements and having their proposals accepted within the first year, candidates can switch into the regular three year program.

2 Postdoctoral Stipends/Fellowships: We seek candidates pursuing English-language publication projects based either on their dissertations (by making findings available to an international audience through a book or journal article) or new research. Postdoctoral stipends of € 1750/month may run for between 6
and 24 months.

Ph.D. fellowships will start September 1, 2011, Postdoctoral fellows may plan their stays to begin later. Non-German students are strongly encouraged to apply. BIGSSS strives to increase the share of women in
the university and hence also strongly encourages women to apply. Applicants with disabilities who are equally qualified will be favored.”

More information can be found at the Bremen University site.

Intercultural Dialogue and Television

“On November 24, 25 and 26, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, in collaboration with the Chile’s Consejo Nacional de Television (CNTV) and the Universal Forum of Cultures 2010 of Valparaiso, organized a series of panel discussions focusing on “Television and Intercultural Dialogue.”

The opening ceremony was presided by the Mayor of Valparaiso, Honorable Mr. Jorge Castro and CNTV’s President, Mr. Herman Chadwick. Participants from Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Spain, South Africa, USA, Canada, Korea and UNESCO presented educational television programs from their respective countries and organizations where the emphasis is the creative use of television as a platform for addressing complex intercultural topics. Successful TV programming examples, such as the ones produced by South Korea’s Educational Broadcasting System; Argentina’s Ministry of Education Canal Encuentro; Mexico’s TV Educativa; South Africa Public Broadcaster; and Chile’s Novasur, were presented and discussed by an active and engaged audience. The closing ceremony of the 3-day seminar included the presentation of the PLURAL + 2010 Foundation Universal Forum of Cultures Award for the video “Mr. President”, produced by Press Pass TV of Boston, USA.”

For more information, see the conference website.

German Turkish University established

“On 22 October 2010 [Germany’s] Federal President Christian Wulff and [Turkey’s] President Abdullah Gül jointly laid the foundation stone for the new University. The Turkish President had previously appointed Prof. Ziya Şanal its first President, thereby officially founding the University. During his visit to Ankara in January 2010, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had emphasized that the German-Turkish University was something in which he took a keen personal interest, adding: “We believe it is important the University embarks on teaching activities as soon as possible.”

Courses are due to begin at the University’s initially five faculties in autumn 2011. The planned faculties are: law, natural science, engineering, humanities and cultural studies, economics and social science. The University will offer Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees. These qualifications, as well as the curricula and associated quality assurance, are to be based on European education standards (the Bologna Process). German-Turkish courses aimed at fostering intercultural cooperation will be the University’s special hallmark. Students will also have the option of earning German degrees and learning the German language.

The German-Turkish University hopes to cooperate closely with Turkish and German companies. It aims to meet the growing need for well-trained specialists in Turkey, whose economy is experiencing dynamic growth.

The Turkish side will provide land, buildings and infrastructure and assume the recurring costs. The University hopes to cater for up to 5000 students in the medium term.

German contributions include, among other things, the secondment of senior and junior lecturers, the development of curricula and the provision of equipment and materials for the planned new language centre.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is providing major support to help make the German-Turkish University a reality. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is responsible for coordination among the participating German universities.”

For further information, see the original posting on the German Foreign Office site. This university is one result of the Ernst Reuter Initiative for Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding, between Turkey and Germany.

Erasmus Mundus grant to Hong Kong Polytechnic

“The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has received another strong boost to achieve further internationalization with the award of South East Asia’s first Erasmus Mundus (EM) Mobility Grant of nearly €1.4 million by the European Commission. The grant will support a large-scale scholarly exchange involving nine universities in Europe and South East Asia and greatly benefit faculty members and postgraduate students.

EM is a flagship European Commission programme promoting international education. The successful application for the EM Mobility Grant is the joint effort of a consortium partnership consisting of nine higher education institutions across Europe and South East Asian countries, with PolyU’s Faculty of Humanities as the initiating institution and the coordinator in South East Asia, and Université de Provence as the overall coordinator and coordinator in Europe.

The grant of nearly €1.4 million will be allocated to successful applicants of the nine consortium partners in a project titled “MULTI – Multilingualism and Multiculturalism: Linguistic approaches to Transition and Identity”. This project, which will span for about three years, aims to address the linguistic, cultural and technological aspects of multilingualism and to understand the impact of multilingualism in both European Union and South East Asia societies.

With the support of EM grant, more than 80 students at postgraduate level or above and faculty members from PolyU as well as other eight higher education institutions in Europe and South East Asia will be selected to participate in the scholarly exchanges at a host university funded by the European Commission.

PolyU is expected to send forth a total of 13 postgraduate level or above students and staff to undertake an exchange programme that will last for 1-12 months. The grant will cover their travel costs, monthly allowance, and tuition fees for participants to study at partner universities in Europe and South East Asia.

The nine universities in the consortium partnership include Université de Provence (France), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HK), City University London (UK), Università di Pisa (Italy), Universität des Saarlandes (Germany), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), National Taiwan University (Taiwan), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and University of Macau (Macau).”

For further details, see the original press release from PolyU.

Using Poetry to Build Intercultural Dialogue

“Peter Zsoldos, ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Egypt, discussed poetry, translation and its role in the future of intercultural dialogue at the third In Translation lecture this semester, calling for greater intercultural dialogue through creative means. At his lecture titled “Translation, Poetry and Diplomacy: New Horizons for Intercultural Dialogue,” Zsoldos, a diplomat, poet and translator, championed the idea that cultural diplomacy, dialogue and interaction can be used as proactive instruments to develop better and more nuanced relationships with countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. “To understand is to share an interest,” he said. “The aim is to find out what makes others tick.”

Zsoldos has a diplomatic career that spans more than 20 years, the last 10 of which have been spent in the Middle East serving the Slovak Republic’s foreign service in various capacities. In 2000, Zsoldos became the ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Gulf Cooperation Countries. For the past three years, he has lived in Cairo. As a student, he was interested in literature and religion, and wrote his doctoral thesis about Afro-Cuban religious systems, colloquial Spanish spoken in Cuba and Cuban literature in the 20th century. In the diplomatic corps, Zsoldos asserts that cultural diplomacy should be a tool to counter stereotypes, bias and prejudice.

“There is a saying: take two opposites and connect the dots and you have a line,” Zsoldos noted. “Intercultural dialogue can change long-held positions and attitudes. While changing attitudes is always a work in progress, it is diplomacy and artists that are the first to see and connect these dots.”

Zsoldos is the author of five books that have been translated into different languages, two of which are trilingual books (Arabic, English and Slovak) that he co-authored with renowned Emirati poet and translator Shihab Ghanem. Their first book Pearls and Dates: Poems from the United Arab Emirates won the Best Book of the Year prize at the 2003 International Book Fair in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Their second book, Contemporary Poems from the Arabian Peninsula, was published in June 2010. The books are a translation of Slovakian poetry into Arabic and vice versa. For Zsoldos, the idea stemmed from a desire to better publicize the great works of Arab poets and authors in the Slovak Republic. “I was looking for something that will bring a new viewpoint to Europe,” he said. “By expanding the body of literature, we are hoping to also expand the greater dialogue.”

Zsoldos has observed that in the post-September 11 era, many works that had not yet been translated from Arabic are now available in Slovak. “Recently, many major Arabic works have been translated into Slovak such as the Quran, the complete One Thousand and One Nights and some of the works of Naguib Mahfouz,” he noted. In the future, Zsoldos wants to continue to build cultural and diplomatic bridges as well as translate the works of Slovak and Arab authors and poets, a pastime he greatly enjoys. “It is a wonderful feeling,” he said. “There is a process of creation that takes hold. I feel as though I am taking off the clothes of the poem, until there is nothingness, and then redressing it in the words of another language.”

Originally published by the American University in Cairo.

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.

     

    One World Scholarships-Developing Countries

    “The One-World-Scholarship-Programme is directed at students from developing countries at Austrian Universities and is meant to contribute to the peaceful coexistence of people from different countries of origin by enhancing equal opportunities, dialogue, intercultural know-how and partnership. It has been established within the Austrian Cooperation for Education, and together with the other programmes it supports their concerns (struggle against poverty, resource conservation, peace-keeping etc.), the establishment and expansion of accordingly qualified personnel and the advancement of educational- and economic systems (capacity and institution development) with lasting effects.
    It is complementary to other scholarship programmes and laid out globally, it enhances the ability for independent, creative, critical and self-determined thinking and acting and shall strengthen the competence for innovative problem solving strategies. The OWS contributes to the socially required production of knowledge and awareness, it promotes a global perspective and the creation of the globally educated citizen. It attaches a high significance to regional, international and trans-cultural networks. The programme is co-financed (government, church and private funds and own resources of the recipients of the benefits) and significantly contributes to the economic, social and cultural development of the southern countries.”
    For further information, see the original posting at the Afro-Asiatisches Institut site.

    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.