Intercultural Cities and Quality of Life

Applied ICDSince 2008, the Council of Europe, through its flagship programme Intercultural Cities, has supported more than 120 local authorities in Europe and around the world, in designing and implementing inclusive policies and strategies for migrant and refugee integration according to the Intercultural approach. Based on the notion of “diversity advantage”, these strategies are founded on the assumption that diversity can be an asset for communities if managed in a positive and competent way; they mobilise leaders, policy officials, professionals, businesses and civil society towards re-shaping city policies and services to make them more effective and engage citizens in building an understanding of the societies’ diversity(ies) as a competitive advantage for all.

A new study by the Migration Policy Group enquires whether the Intercultural integration approach advocated by the Council of Europe, leads to a better quality of life in diverse cities. The results confirm a strong statistical link between local intercultural policies and local well-being.

Continue reading “Intercultural Cities and Quality of Life”

Culture in EU external relations

Preparatory Action on Culture in the EU External Relations

The Preparatory Action “Culture in EU External Relations” is an initiative funded by the European Union. It is implemented by the European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture, with the support of a Consortium of eight cultural institutes and organisations, which won an open call for tenders to this effect.

This Preparatory Action was initiated by the European Parliament following its Resolution on the cultural dimensions of the EU external action, which called for the development of a visible common EU strategy on culture in the EU external relations.

The preparatory action will run until mid-2014 and consists of the following stages:

Stage #1
a comprehensive mapping of existing resources, approaches and strategies regarding culture in external relations in Member States and in a number of EU partner countries;

Stage #2
a consultations process involving a wide variety of stakeholders from both the EU and third countries, which should contribute to identifying strategies and visions on the contribution of culture to the development of external relations as well as the positioning of different actors vis-à-vis this topic;

Stage #3
a final conference to be held mid-2014 to draw conclusions and recommendations for a strategic approach to mobilising the potential of culture in EU external relations.

In addition to the EU Member States, this preparatory action covers the following partner countries of the EU:

  • the Neighbouring countries of the EU:  Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine
  • the 10 strategic partners of the EU:  Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United States of America

The purpose of the action is to facilitate and support an on-going process of research, exchange of knowledge and public debate about the role of culture in the EU’s external relations.

Furthermore, the ambition is to engage the broader civil society in the discussion by inviting online debate on this blog and on our social media platforms. Everybody is invited to join the discussion!

The members of the consortium in charge of implementing this action are convinced that culture can play a decisive role in the development of external relations and are committed to bringing new knowledge and research to the attention of policy-makers on a national, European and international level.

List of members of the consortium:
The Goethe Institut, Brussels
BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels
The British Council, Brussels
The Danish Cultural Institute, Brussels
ECF European Cultural Foundation
IFA Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen
The Institut français, Paris
KEA European Affairs

Independent experts:
Prof. Yudhishthir Raj Isar (Team Leader/Scientific Manager)
Rod Fisher
Damien Helly

Associated partner:
EUNIC Global


2nd World Forum Intercultural Dialogue

The 2nd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue will be held from May 29 to June 1, 2013 in Baku, Azerbaijan in partnership with UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN World Tourism Organization, Council of Europe, CoE North-South Center and ISESCO. The opening ceremony and the lst East-West Ministerial Conference will take place on May 30, 2013.

The program of the upcoming forum implies several sessions and side events to be prepared and led by partner organizations, including the celebration of “Do one thing for Diversity and Inclusion,” Intercultural Innovation Award ceremony for Central Asia, Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, 1st Alumni Meeting of the “Emerging Leaders Network,” the workshops “Intercultural Dialogue through History Teaching: Best Practices and Challenges,” and “Urban policies for diversity in 21st century: the Intercultural Cities paradigm,” the sessions of “Tourism as a key driver of mutual understanding and tolerance among cultures,” “The New Era of Globalization: Hybridity of cultures in a changing world” and “Capitals of Culture: Trends and roles, intercultural dialogue through faith and science,” etc.

The 1st World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was held on April 7-9, 2011, also in Baku. More than 500 representatives from 102 countries and many international organizations, NGOs, media representatives, scholars, experts, etc. participated. Details about that event, and this Center’s participation in it, available here.


Euro-Med Seminar ICD


We are pleased to announce the Euro-Mediterranean seminar “Indicators for Intercultural Dialogue in Non-formal Education Activities”, organised in the framework of the partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the field of youth from 22-24 September 2011 in Mollina, Spain, during the 12th University on Youth and Development.

The participants of the seminar will be youth workers, trainers in non-formal education, educational experts and researchers, stakeholders, and youth policy experts from the Euro-Mediterranean region. All participants should:
Be interested and experienced in the topics of intercultural dialogue;
Be familiar with the intercultural dialogue aspects in non-formal education activities;
Be ready to contribute to the programme and reflections of the seminar;
Be able to work in English;
Be interested in the University on Youth and Development;
Be available for the full duration of the seminar.
Priority will be given to the participants/practitioners interested in contributing to the testing and evaluation phase of the project.

The detailed presentation of the project and of the seminar, as well as the application procedure can be found in Presentation call for pax seminar ICD indicators Sept 2011. Please note that the application form should be submitted on-line by 18 July 2011.

Viktoria Karpatska
Partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the field of youth
c/o: Council of Europe – Directorate of Youth and Sport
European Youth Centre Budapest
H-1024 Budapest, Zivatar u. 1-3. HUNGARY
E-mail:; Fax: +36 1 212 4076 |

See original post for further information.

Toolkit for Intercultural Dialogue

“The INGO Conference of the Council of Europe is elaborating a practical guide to conduct dialogues where they are most needed. The aim is to provide a hands-on concise, user-friendly Tool. Its approach will not be on the “high end culture”, but rather aims to help build social cohesion and the human rights based approach regarding diversity issues.

The accumulation of unresolved issues in matters of diversity and migration over the last two years have led to an intolerable level of Human Rights infringements in European countries. The Conference of INGOs has witnessed this regrettable evolution and has discussed it.

The Council of Europe NGO Forum of 23-25 March in Istanbul gave the opportunity to reactivate the intercultural dialogue theme. Over 70 NGO representatives, many from South Eastern Europe, participated. Civil society activists from Egypt and Tunisia met with INGO Conference leaders in a small but important side event of the Forum. Three Workshops looked into the new challenges of intercultural societies and a fourth team began its work on assembling the Toolkit for Conducting Intercultural Dialogue. This team consisted of a Barbados-born British, a Portuguese, a Russian, a Swedish-Italian, a Romanian and a Swiss Coordinator. The team began to work based on the Forum’s Workshop findings and the Feedback to a Questionnaire from the participants.

On 14 April the INGO Conference Standing Committee adopted the draft chapters of the Toolkit and gave the green light for the editing and writing and it continues to oversee this work. The INGO Conference Plenary meeting of 21 June unanimously approved the overall content and approach. The Dialogue Toolkit is scheduled for presentation and for initiating the test phase in mid-November.

Along with the Toolkit, the INGO Conference will develop a Dialogue Implementation Phase and is looking forward to working in partnership with interested and competent bodies.”

[Original post: Council of Europe Non-Governmental Organisations]

Intercultural Cities

Intercultural cities: governance and policies for diverse communities

Joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission

Intercultural Cities

The Intercultural cities programme emerged from the Council of Europe’s significant experience of projects that focus on issues concerned with the management of diversity. Considerable reflection has been undertaken in relation to the principles and practices of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.

Intercultural cities is a capacity-building and policy development field programme which has been implemented by the Council of Europe in partnership with the European Commission. It runs complementary to many other current projects and events (conferences, research, exchanges, and campaigns).  The programme’s long-term, comprehensive approach will contribute to the sustainability of the political impetus of one of the Council of Europe’s declared priorities concerning the practice of diversity in today’s world.


  • An intercultural city has people with different nationality, origin, language or religion / beliefs. Political leaders and most citizens regard diversity positively, as a resource.
  • The city actively combats discrimination and adapts its governance, institutions and services to the needs of a diverse population.
  • The city has a strategy and tools to deal with diversity and cultural conflict. It encourages greater mixing and interaction between diverse groups in the public spaces.

For further information, including comparison of different cities, see the original post.

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.