The term xenophobia comes from the Greek words for foreigner/ stranger (xenos) and fear (phobia) and is pretty self-explanatory: it describes the condition where I fear anything that is foreign to me (and anything that is foreign to the likes of me). Xenophobia, analysed in its roots as the age-old “fear of the unknown”, naturally generates apprehension and anxiety in the human mind (or soul, depending on your beliefs), because fear is an all-too-powerful emotion. Evolutionarily speaking, fear has been a crucial survival tool for our ancestors, as it alerted them to the surrounding dangers by activating their fight or flight response. This is why xeno-phobia encourages social discrimination and prejudice towards a specific group labelled as “fear-inducing,” i.e., as a threat to our national identity, to our racial purity, to our law and order, etc. Spurred by powerful and primeval fear, initial discrimination and prejudice may well escalate to hatred and actual, physical violence; psychologically speaking, fear is, for the most of us, too overpowering to manage and reason with.
The question is who is in the position to label x, y, z social group as a threat.
The Center for Intercultural Dialogue publishes a series of short briefs describing Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue. Different people, working in different countries and disciplines, use different vocabulary to describe their interests, yet these terms overlap. Our goal is to provide some of the assumptions and history attached to each concept for those unfamiliar with it. As there are other concepts you would like to see included, send an email to the series editor, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz. If there are concepts you would like to prepare, provide a brief explanation of why you think the concept is central to the study of intercultural dialogue, and why you are the obvious person to write up that concept.
Interfaith Programming in Eastern and Central Europe
Sponsor: United States Department of State (DOS), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL)
CFDA Numbers: 19.345 – International Programs to Support Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Amount: Upper $950,000, Lower $650,000
DRL anticipates having approximately $950,000 available to support approximately one successful application submitted in response to this NOFO, subject to the availability of funding. DRL may issue one or more awards resulting from this NOFO to the applicant(s) whose application(s) conforming to this NOFO are the most responsive to the objectives set forth in this NOFO.
Applicant Type: Academic Institution, Commercial, Nonprofit, Small Business Citizenship or Residency: Unrestricted Activity location: Europe Deadline:18 December 2015
This competition is for projects that encourage tolerance and interfaith understanding between religious groups and among civil society. Projects should work to address the xenophobia that affects Jewish and Muslim populations in Eastern and Central Europe, even in places where their numbers are small. We have seen the persistence of anti-Semitism as part of the culture and folklore of the region, despite the size or even existence of a Jewish population. Programs should seek ways to strengthen broader civic ownership of anti-Semitism and other religious-based hatreds and support ways to challenge these intolerant narratives in ways to make the contemporary diversity of the region more visible. Programs should seek to build interfaith and interethnic coalitions and collaboration within Eastern and Central Europe as well as with Western Europe is encouraged. Ideas for successful program activities could include, but are not limited to: anti-xenophobic messaging through targeted, local language campaigns, especially in communities with large numbers of refugee/asylum seekers and are already under pressure for scarce resources; grassroots activities that work with populations to raise awareness of these issues, particularly with respect to intolerance perpetrated by football fans; transition communities and refugees to address xenophobia and resource issues to mitigate tensions; or programs that build coalitions among host/transit communities and the immigrant population.
Projects should have the potential to have an immediate impact leading to long-term sustainable reforms, and should have potential for continued funding beyond DRL resources. DRL prefers innovative and creative approaches rather than projects that simply duplicate or add to efforts by other entities. This does not exclude projects that clearly build off existing successful projects in a new and innovative way from consideration. DRL also strives to ensure its projects advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most vulnerable or at-risk populations.