COVID-19 vs. Intercultural Dialogue: What Impact? An interview of Professor Fethi Mansouri (UNESCO Chairholder, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia) by Ann-Belinda Preis (Chief of UNESCO Intercultural Dialogue).
A good question. See the entire interview, but for an excerpt:
ABP: How does lack of contact and social interaction impact the broader Intercultural Dialogue (ICD) agenda, which is built on connectivity, contact and exchange?
FM: This is perhaps where COVID-19 presents a significant challenge to the ICD agenda. Intercultural dialogue has, as one of its core premises, contact between people. And the reason why we have contact as a core premise is because there is an assumption that when people get to know one another, prejudice might be reduced, and that issues of discrimination might disappear. So COVID-19 and its emphasis on social distancing means that a lot of what we would like to achieve through intercultural dialogue, in particular in bringing people together, bringing communities together, bringing diverse communities together (and diversity here means diversity of ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, nationalities etc.)…
Intercultural dialogue is in itself an essential tool that we will need in the post-COVID-19 environment.
We will need to renegotiate a new global compact, a new social contract, and I think dialogue will have to play a key role in that. So it is being perhaps compromised right now but it has a big role to play in the post-COVID-19 world that will emerge.
Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: 15 February 2020.
Under the authority of the Director-General, the Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences is responsible for providing leadership and strategic vision for the Social and Human Sciences Sector in line with the Organization’s current Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2021, its global priorities Africa and gender equality, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
To that effect, the Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences is responsible for the overall implementation of the Social and Human Sciences Major Programme, as approved by UNESCO’s governing bodies. This comprises management, planning and coordination of UNESCO’s strategy, programmes and plans of action for the Social and Human Sciences Sector, including transversal and interdisciplinary initiatives, as well as assistance in mobilizing extrabudgetary resources and establishing partnerships.
The Social and Human Sciences Sector’s mission is to strengthen social and human sciences programmes and policies – nationally, regionally and globally – and to promote international cooperation to address the critical challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The objective is to advance knowledge, standards and intellectual cooperation in order to address the complexity of social transformations, by promoting inclusive social development and intercultural dialogue in particular.
Associate Programme Specialist, Communication and Information, UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: 8 December 2019.
Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information (ADG/CI) and the direct supervision of the Chief, Executive Office (CI/EO), the incumbent is responsible for providing professional and technical support, research and analysis for the programme management, as well as coordination of the Communication and Information (CI) Sector. Working as part of the global CI team and as member of the Executive Office, the incumbent will assist the Chief, CI/EO in performing the major activities listed below.
To assist Chief, CI/EO in overall coordination activities of the Executive Office, the incumbent will:
- collect and analyze data, prepare and consolidate briefings in the thematic areas of media and information literacy, media development, universal access to information and documentary heritage;
- provide support to Chief CI/EO in facilitating joint action and good working relations between colleagues in the Field and Headquarters, UNESCO Centers, Institutes and networks, Central services, as well as partnerships with Member States, Intergovernmental Organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector;
- manage and produce correspondence, memos, briefings, speeches, articles, web content, inputs to the UNESCO annual report, etc.
Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest, UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: 6 January 2020.
The visual arts, and in particular photography, are increasingly being used by today’s youth as a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As such, they have the potential to play a significant role in raising awareness of the key issues facing our contemporary globalizing world. The annual Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads International Photo Contest offers an exciting opportunity for young people from all over the world to capture their understanding of the common heritage of the Silk Roads through the lens of their camera.
Organized within the framework of the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme, UNESCO Youth Programme and the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), the 2019 edition of the contest is open for entries from 19 September 2019 to 6 January 2020.
The Silk Roads are an expansive region composed of a network of maritime and land routes. Originating in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia the Silk Roads cross the Central Asian sub-continent, the Russian steppe, the Iranian and Anatolian plateaus, and the Arabian Peninsula. They also stretch through North Africa and Northeast Africa, from Tanzania to Morocco. Additionally, they pass through Eastern and Southern Europe, before reaching France and Spain. Please see the map here
The Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads Photo Contest is an opportunity for young people living or travelling within these regions to share their perceptions and further their understanding of the common cultural heritage and pluralistic identities emerging from the interactions and exchanges taking place along the Silk Roads. The contest encourages the use of photography to extend these cultural interactions and encounters in the contemporary world, to foster mutual understanding and promote peace amongst the diverse populations encompassed by the Silk Roads.
The photographs must accurately reflect the theme, “Reveal the Silk Roads”, through representations of Gastronomy and Food Production, Music and Dance, and Traditional Sports and Games.
The photography contest is open to everyone between 14 and 25 years old, regardless of his or her country of residence, except employees of UNESCO and the donor, China World Peace Foundation, and their family members (parents, children, siblings and spouses). There will be two categories: 14 to 17 years old, and 18 to 25 years old.
You can have a look at the 2018 winners gallery here. From this contest, the “Youth Eyes on the Silk Roads” travelling photo exhibition presenting the 57 best photos was set up. The photo album “Youth Lens on the Silk Roads” aims to reflect the diversity of youth’s perspectives and impressions on the shared heritage of the Silk Roads.
Translator, Division des conférences, des langues et des documents, UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: September 15, 2019.
UNESCO is looking for a translator of documents from English into French, and also either Spanish or Chinese into French.
“Traduire de l’anglais, ainsi que de l’espagnol ou du chinois, vers le français, pour révision ou en autorévision à niveau d’expérience suffisant, des documents officiels destinés aux organes directeurs et d’autres matériels, de caractère général ou spécialisé (éducation, sciences exactes et naturelles, sciences sociales et humaines, culture, communication, administration, finances, budget, comptabilité, etc.), en ayant recours aux outils de traduction assistée par ordinateur de l’UNESCO et en mettant à profit les derniers développements dans le domaine de l’intelligence artificielle (traduction automatique neuronale), le cas échéant.”
International Center for the Rapprochement of Cultures established as a cooperation between UNESCO and Kazakhstan.
According to The Times of Central Asia, “an agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on the establishment of the International Center for the Rapprochement of Cultures under the auspices of UNESCO was signed on June 25 in Paris. The agreement was signed by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Gulshara Abdykalikova. . .
The proposed structure is planned to be created under the auspices of UNESCO on the basis of the Center for the Rapprochement of Cultures under the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan. . .The objectives of the Center will be the promotion of research, the preparation of publications, the organization of conferences and educational activities on the history and practice of intercultural interaction in Central Asia and beyond.”
The International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) is a UNESCO initiative.
Programme Specialist (Social and Human Sciences), UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: 7 July 2019.
Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Sector (ADG/SHS), guidance from the Director for Policies and Programmes and Director for Partnerships and Outreach and direct supervision of the Chief of Research, Policy and Foresight Section, the incumbent is responsible for ensuring the development and delivery of a wide spectrum of programme and project management initiatives from funding proposals to design to reporting. S/he advises, manages and reports on regular and extra-budgetary programme design, guidelines, resources and progress and advocates organizational involvement and participation in mainstream social and human sciences activities and initiatives.
The incumbent in particular will:
* Undertake activities mainstreaming the knowledge, pluralistic approaches and methodologies developed through the UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories with a view to contributing to a better understanding of current social transformations and fostering dialogue on global issues;
* Develop activities reinforcing African humanities and in particular current efforts to mobilize historiography and related disciplines to renew perspectives, approaches, concepts, paradigms and categorizations on Africa and its diasporas;
* Develop activities showcasing the relevance of historical perspectives developed through the General History of Africa for emerging areas of research, e.g. on African Liberation Movements and on African futures;
* Promote youth awareness on the importance of the humanities in order to foster enhanced understanding of contemporary social challenges, inter alia by developing outreach materials and facilitating exchanges among young scholars.
Head of Learning and Development Unit, Bureau of Human Resources Management, UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: 3 May 2019.
The Head of the Learning and Development Unit plays a key role in the delivery of UNESCO’s human resource strategic objectives and UNESCO’s related Learning and Development Action Plan. The plan will be implemented over five years and aims to develop a skilled and competent UNESCO workforce at all levels of the Organization. The Head of Unit will be a senior learning and development professional with a track record of success. Require excellent knowledge of English and good knowledge of French as well as another UNESCO official language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish).
The new UNESCO Intercultural Dialogue eLearning Platform was described in a prior post. Now, my essay entitled Holding Local, Not Global, Intercultural Dialogues has just been posted to that ePlatform. Their invitation was to write about something in my own domain of expertise. Because my research has always focused on interaction, I wrote about the need to study intercultural dialogue at the interpersonal, local level rather than only the political, global level, as is more common. As an example, I used research about intercultural weddings, published in Wedding as Text: Communicating Cultural Identities Through Ritual, in 2002.
The E-Platform is open to other scholars with interests in intercultural dialogue. As they say, “The platform is an evolving global hub of resources and information to record, inspire, share and exchange innovative and impactful action on intercultural dialogue among diverse audiences.” So contact them directly if you would like to post information about your own or your organization’s activities and/or research.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
UNESCO has created an e-platform for intercultural dialogue. It is designed to be “a global collaborative hub” intended “to promote good practices from all over the world, that enable to build bridges between people from diverse backgrounds in order to create more inclusive societies through mutual understanding and respect for diversity.”
One major section presents short explanations of about 2 dozen relevant core concepts, from intercultural dialogue to cultural identity to intercultural citizenship. These will be particularly familiar to all those who have previously read Intercultural Competences: A conceptual and operational framework from 2013, which I drafted for UNESCO (with many contributions by others named in the notes), as they all come directly from that publication. The new e-platform describes that booklet as “A comprehensive reference publication on the basic terminology needed in order to develop intercultural competences and to permit intercultural dialogue, as well as outlining a series of minimally necessary steps to take in sharing this knowledge with the largest number of others, across the greatest selection of contexts, possible.”
Another major section provides a wide range of resources documenting best practices for a wide range of topics, from awareness raising to advocacy, from celebrating diversity to capacity building, and from research to policy advice. CID publications have been submitted to be added to the list. This section is open to contributions from anyone who is doing relevant work and wants it noted. (Just click on the “Login/Registration” button on the top right of any page.)
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue