Newsbulletin #2
July 2010

Editorial
Third Practice Exchange, 28-29th May
Annual Meeting, 8th June
Second General Assembly, 8th June
Intercultural Dialogue as an objective in the EU Culture Programme
EU Integration Forum, 24-25th June
UNESCO Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures
News from our members and networks




 

Editorial

It is the time of year to pause and appreciate. We have a number of activities and events on our 2010 record sheet - this Newsbulletin gives an overview of some of them.

We note progress with our mission “to be a legitimate and effective interlocutor between European institutions and civil society organisations committed to the values of intercultural dialogue”. In our second year as an established association we can state that our network has grown and strengthened, and our activities have gained contour.

Measuring societal impact is of course a different matter. But look at the NGO Solidar: On its 60th anniversary, it stated “our struggles have not changed much in these past 60 years; we are still fighting for social justice, equality, solidarity and participation throughout the world.”

We know that there will always be work to be done. Our vision of “an equitable European community that values its diverse people, seeks positive dialogue with others and enables each person to make their distinctive contribution to a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world” is of course a utopia. But the progress made by each generation always counts, even if the next faces new challenges. Utopias provide the empowering hope and conviction that some progress is made across generations.

The next newsbulletin will inform you of our plans for the second half of the year. Have a restorative summer in the meantime!

We welcome feedback to newsbulletin@intercultural-europe.org!

Sabine Frank, Secretary General



Third Practice Exchange for Intercultural Capacity-Building
Novel cooperation with Italian trade union confederation CGIL on Intercultural Dialogue at the work place
Rome, 28/29th May 2010

The work place as a primary place for intercultural engagement and the negotiation of rights and entitlements of immigrant workers – this was the topic discussed by over 70 participants made up of CGIL officials, CGIL members, and representatives of Italian civic organisations such as Caritas, ARCI, Compagnia del Teatro dell’Argine, etc. Particular attention was paid to how becoming a “multi-ethnic trade union confederation” has both affected CGIL’s classical trade union work and lead to new kinds of socio-cultural and training activities. Yet consensus emerged that intercultural dialogue at work is negatively conditioned by the Italian legal context, political climate and media discourse. Many saw nothing less at stake than Italian democracy itself: “We are told not to complain about a lack of democratic rights because we don’t have them in our countries of origin either. I retort that that is exactly why we came”, said a participant of Eritrean origins. The meeting concluded that trade unions need to form unconventional alliances such as with cultural organisations, in order to make Italian society intercultural with new principles of participation. The full meeting report will be available soon.

Our annual meeting on 8th June in Brussels

Intercultural Capacity Building…

A stock-take of the Platform for Intercultural Europe’s series of Practice Exchanges for Intercultural Capacity-Building was undertaken by members and non-members in this one-day meeting. It was a precious occasion for the participants of this civil society platform for “structured dialogue” with the EU to meet face to face. Participants confirmed that “We are on a good way” and left convinced that “This meeting will move things forward.” Yet clearly not all discussion needs could be met and we will have to ponder on creating “more opportunities for members to present how the work of the Platform feeds into their own operations.”

Read the report on the meeting by Francois Matarasso.

… and EU Advocacy

The Platform for Intercultural Europe’s political role was centre stage in the debate on its demand for a Council working group on intercultural dialogue under the Open Method of Coordination and the commentary from European Commission representative Alison Crabb.

Read our demand for an EU Council working group on intercultural dialogue and send your comments and contributions to dialogue@intercultural-europe.org by 31st August 2010.


Second General Members’ Assembly, 8th June in Brussels
Members’ sovereign moment …

Our second General Members’ Assembly approved our 2009 financial report, adopted our 2010 budget, and considered work done or still to be done this year. 29 voting members took part in this democratic exercise. Several prospective members looked in – to follow up and become a member, please go to our membership page and send us your application form.

… and new Steering Group

Following the adoption of statutory changes, the current Steering Group of the Platform for Intercultural Europe was confirmed for a three year term. Chris Torch, Tarafa Baghajati, Eli Borchgrevink, Guillermo Ruiz, Niels Righolt as well as Guido Orlandini and Mercedes Esteban will continue their voluntary commitment to guide our association in the further development of its mission. Isabelle Schwarz was co-opted by the new Steering Group. Congratulations! Look at the Steering Group profiles.

 

Intercultural Dialogue as an objective in the EU Culture Programme

Intercultural Dialogue is one of three specific objectives of the Culture (2007-2013) Programme of the European Union. How has this objective been translated into the practice of funded projects and organisations? This is the question which the Platform for Intercultural Europe and Culture Action Europe have investigated with a view to contributing to the European Commission’s review of the Programme and the preparation of its next phase beginning in 2014. Their research with programme beneficiaries has lead to the conclusions that definitions, selection criteria and evaluation measures under the programme need considerable improvement.

Read the summary of the study and the recommendations. Send us your comments and suggestions for the finalisation of our submission to the official programme review consultation to: dialogue@intercultural-europe.org by 31st August 2010. The full study report will be available soon.

 

EU Integration Forum, 24-25th June
Migrants and the Media

The third meeting of the EU Integration Forum focused on the relationship between migrants and the media. The Forum allows for consultative input of civil society to EU policy-making on the integration of immigrants. Both the challenges of training media professionals to communicate about migrants and of training migrants to communicate in the media were subject of discussion. The Platform for Intercultural Europe was actively represented by its Steering Group member Tarafa Baghajati, who has a track record of raising the media profile of people with migration background in Austria and beyond. With his speaking contributions, he was also able to build on our workshop on migrants and the media during our Vienna Practice Exchange in November 2009.

Read the background paper to the Forum.
Read the input paper elaborated in advance by the participating European Civil Society organisations.
We would like to take our work on the topic ‘migrants and media’ further. If you have special expertise in this field, please
Write to dialogue@intercultural-europe.org

 

UNESCO Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures

Focus is fine, but let’s remember occasionally that there is life beyond the EU: UNESCO is making 2010 the Year of the rapprochement of Cultures. Awareness raising events are scheduled across Member States. July’s calendar features a Round Table on the Rapprochement of culture in the framework of the Shanghai World Exhibition and a International conference on “Cultural Heritage & Diversity of the Nomads” in Mongolia. How have EU Member States been carrying forward the baton from the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008? Check it out.


News from our members and network

To become a member please go to our membership page and send us your application form.

 

December 18 and the European Platform for Migrant Workers’ Rights
Campaign for ratification of UN Migrant Workers’ Rights Convention by EU Member States

“Time for the 27 Member States of the EU to live up to its core values” is the thought behind the 6-month campaign of December 18, the International Resource Centre on the Human Rights of Migrants, and the European Platform for Migrant Workers’ Rights. 20 years after the adoption of this convention (1990) and seven years after its entry into force (2003, when 20 states had ratified it), no Western migrant-receiving state has ratified this Convention, although it does not create new rights for migrants but aims at equality of treatment such as same working conditions for migrants and nationals.

Find out about the Positions of Civil Society Actors, Government Agencies and policy Makers in the EU Member States. Find outabout the campaign launched on 2nd July in the European Parliament. Read the text of the UN Migrant Workers’ Convention.

 

Austrian Muslim Initiative and CEJI A Jewish Contribution to an inclusive Europe
Participation in OSCE Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination, Astana (Kazachstan) June 2010

Two members of the Platform for Intercultural Europe contributed to the civil society preparatory meeting of this high-level conference. Gidon van Emden of CEJI chaired a session. Tarafa Baghajati, chair of the Austrian Muslim Initiative, was able to influence decisively the adoption of recommendations to Member States regarding combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. The participation of constructive Muslim NGOs had been encouraged by the co-organising Office for Democratic Development and Human Rights (ODIHR) in order to address their traditional underrepresentation. Tarafa Baghajati points out the historical importance of the existence of such conferences. Despite the lack of an immediate effect on governments’ actions, Tarafa is convinced that the civil society recommendations provide useful ethical reference for the future.

Read the Consolidated Summary of Recommendations.

 

CEJI A Jewish Contribution to an inclusive Europe
Next Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination trainings for adult educators and community leaders

This ground breaking programme received the Gold Prize for Quality in Adult Education from the European Commission in 2008 and is acknowledged as a best practice by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The next session will be:
In German, February 6 – 11, 2011, in Rome, Italy
In French, March 13 – 18, 2011, in Derby, UK
In English, April 10 – 15, 2011, in Brussels, Belgium
The registration deadline is September 13th. Mobility grants can be applied for from the EU Comenius-Grundtvig Programme.
Look at the results of a recent evaluation of the programme. Further information and registration.

 

Provincial Authority of Caceres, Spain
Dialogue between European Roma and non-Roma Europeans through the arts

Music and Dance are what Roma are famous for. Yet theatre, cinema, visual arts, photographie and literature are also fields in which Roma live and produce culture. Thanks to an EU-funded project, the Spanish Provincial Authority of Caceres, has begun to network Romani artists throughout Europe, promote their art, connect them better with mainstream cultural institutions and improve the knowledge and understanding of Roma by non-Roma. Several tools make up the project, amongst them the website www.romaniart.eu and an International seminar on 23-25 February 2011 on the promotion of intercultural dialogue involving Roma and art. For more information, please contact Esperanza Barranco at tecnico.sp@romaniart.eu.

 

Taastrup Teatre (Denmark) and Teatro dell'Argine (Italy)
Theatre for Intercultural Dialogue and against Poverty and Social Exclusion: “Crossing Paths” project

Two theatres featured in our past Practice Exchanges for Intercultural capacity-building in organisations (Malmö June 2009, Rome May 2010): we looked at the Danish Taastrup Teatre and at the Italian Teatro dell'Argine. These two, together with other partners, are now engaged in the project “Crossing paths”. Groups of teenagers, from each partner country, will engage in theatre workshop on intercultural issues of poverty and social exclusion guided by a culturally diverse team of theatre directors and teachers The 18 project months will also serve to connect institutions and associations with different roots in education, arts or social affairs, but complementary aims. The link made through our Rome Practice Exchange between Teatro dell’Argine and the Italian Trade Union Confederation CGIL for one is there to be built on.
To join the project network and to find out more about events, open days and the culminating participation of the project in the Festival of School Theatre of ITC Teatro, visit http://www.argine.it or contact Micaela Casalboni at micaela@argine.it




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