Global Xchange

“Global Xchange is a six-month exchange program which gives young people from different countries a unique opportunity to live and volunteer together, to develop and share valuable skills and to make a practical contribution where it is needed in each local community.

In 2010, the first-ever multilateral Global Xchange connected youth and community activists from six countries: USA, France, UK, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Rwanda. The multilateral exchange was broken in two phases for the two age groups, focused on shorter-term professional development exchanges and longer volunteer placements.

First, community leaders from the six countries went to Durban, South Africa, January 17 to February 6, followed by an exchange in Belfast, Northern Ireland from March 7 to 27. Members of the adult exchange will be placed at local organizations to job shadow, exchange best practices, and explore cross-cultural approaches to serving at-risk youth. The US participants were selected from five Los Angeles nonprofits: Street Poets, Create Now, Reach LA, Homeboy Industries, and LA’s BEST. Stay tuned for videos and blog posts from the LA participants.

In the second phase, groups of 18-24 year-olds from each country will volunteer for three months in Durban and then for three months in Belfast between June and December.”

For further information, see their website.

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.

Book of Travels

“In partnership with the British Council Maslaha has built an online exhibition about the constant mix of conversations that have occurred between Islamic people, cultures, societies and Europe. Maslaha is a new web-based organisation closely linked to the Young Foundation in London which aims to provide a greater understanding of Islam and its practices for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In mid-June 2010, the online version has been launched at www.thebookoftravels.org.

To make things even more interesting, Maslaha also built a physical exhibition which was on display in mid-May 2010 at Bethnal Green Library in East London.

The theme of this exhibition is travel – both of individuals and also ideas across time and geographical boundaries. In particular, the project focuses on a 17th century Turkish traveller, Evliya Çelebi, who wrote extensively of his travels to Europe and North Africa in his book, Seyahatnâme: Book of Travels. This exhibition aims to capture the sense of curiousity that drives exploration, and the human desire to investigate and learn more about different cultures and experiences.

Read Book of Travels: How the Ottomans shaped London, Raheel Mohammed’s introduction to the exhibition at the BBC London website.”

For more information, go to the British Council’s description of the project.

Literature Seminar

“The “Our Shared Europe” literature seminar is the British Council’s first event specifically aimed at exploring Muslim European interaction through contemporary literature, as part of the wider project of the same name. Adopting the well-established concept and format of the “Walberberg Seminar on Contemporary Literature from the UK”, colleagues from the British Council Berlin office have organised this exciting three-days seminar entitled “Faultlines, Fictions and Futures”. Chaired by writer Ahdaf Soueif and gathering writers Inaam Kachachi, Jamal Mahjoub and Robin Yassin-Kassab, the seminar will explore the writers’ work, their people, their times and their hometowns, and give the opportunity to a wide range of participants coming from the UK, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey, France, Greece and Belgium, to interact and share ideas.”

For details and interviews with these authors, held Nov 12-14, 2010 in Berlin, see the original blog.

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.