Newsbulletin #2
July 2009

Editorial
Intercultural Capacity-Building in Organisations:
Host a Regional Practice Exchange!

The Contribution of the Arts to Intercultural Dialogue: Conclusions of our European Forum
Intercultural Dialogue in European Politics:
Organise a debate in your country!

EU Culture Forum, 29/30th Sept in Brussels:
Save the date!

Panorama on Intercultural Dialogue:
Contribute to the upcoming revision!

Analysing the EYID 2008
New Multilingualism Platform
Green Paper on Education and Migration
EU Integration Forum & Website
Membership & Members' News




 

Editorial

The readership of our newsbulletin now counts at least 850 people. 37 organisations and 11 individuals have decided to join our Platform since membership became an option at the beginning of May. So there is a community out there, which shares an interest in cultural diversity and interculturality, and there is an emerging network of people who want to commit to our work.

This newsbulletin sets out various ways for you to be involved and translate your commitment into action – small things here and there that will contribute to the greater good. From hosting one of our Regional Practice Exchanges; to organising political debates on interculturality in your country; to advising on criteria for publicly funded projects on intercultural dialogue - you have a variety of possibilities to make a difference!

Even though our Platform is not a service organisation, we are keen to ensure that there are benefits for you in being involved and that membership, in particular, is an attractive proposition. Do you need a little bit of education about the European Union’s role in intercultural dialogue politics? This newsbulletin tries to help you along with that. Are you curious about intercultural action at the grassroots’ level? This newsbulletin gives our members the opportunity to report on their upcoming activities.

In our members’ section we distinguish between European-level organisations and smaller, more locally based associations. This does not mean that we have different membership categories specific to them, but they allow us to be both a political platform and a practitioner’s network. Grass-roots experience and European political expertise can come together to help us to promote intercultural dialogue as was set out in our Rainbow Paper: “From Practice to Policy and back”.

Enjoy the read and have a good summer!

Sabine Frank, Secretary General

Intercultural Capacity-Building in Organisations: Regional Practice Exchanges
From our Malmö pilot (15/16th June) on to new ventures – become a host!

Our first Regional Practice Exchange brought together professionals from artistic and cultural organisations from across the Nordic Region. It was hosted by the Nordic Forum for Interculture and held at Spiritus Mundi. Guided by the goals we set out in the Rainbow Paper’s chapter on intercultural capacity-building in organisations, we looked in depth at:

  • ways of diversifying the recruitment to governance positions in cultural institutions (based on the example of the project Styrende Mangfold from Norway),

  • cultural institutions broadening the constituencies they work with and include in their workforce (based on the example of the Copenhagen City Museum),

  • theatres rethinking their audience relations to include the before and after of peoples’ theatre experience (based on the example of the Taastrup Theatre in Copenhagen),

  • opening established cultural spaces to a greater variety of cultural groups (based on the example of Union Scene in Drammen, Norway).

The participating professionals (who already constituted an informal network) made important new discoveries through their practice exchange and identified needs for action in several domains. In particular, they thought it useful to collect and compare existing rules and regulations concerning diversity policies, which have to be taken into account under the funding regimes of their various countries, regions and cities. The aim is to formulate a European-wide recommendation that all publically funded cultural organisations should reflect in staff and governance bodies the composition of the population they serve and that they all elaborate a diversity action plan which covers all aspects of their operations (programming, audience relations etc).

We are looking to holding at least two further Regional Practice Exchanges in the second half of 2009 (and further ones in 2010). Would you like to become a host? Share and acquire insights, enjoy the company of people thinking about the same issues, and help us take the important step of suggesting what policy-makers should do (rather than watch what they do with scepticism)!

Find out what is expected of host organisations and what they in turn can expect from the Platform.

The report on our Malmö Practice Exchange is currently being looked at by the participants. The final version will become available to everyone at the beginning of September. Watch our website!

The Contribution of the Arts to Intercultural Dialogue: European Forum (8th June)
Conclusions and follow-up work - advise us on criteria for publicly funded projects on intercultural dialogue!

Our event at the beginning of June was framed by two speeches (Chris Torch presenting views from the arts on their role in Intercultural Dialogue and Joanne Evans-Boiten looking at the arts, theatre in particular, from the perspective of work with asylum seekers) and two responses (by an academic and by a journalist). The centre piece of the day were discussion groups which revolved around the following themes:

  • Making marginalised groups visible, legitimising their presence and perspectives and improving wider social attitudes towards them

  • Highlighting similarities rather than differences between people by showing historic and current connections between different cultures and human experiences

  • Providing a different language where things can be understood by people who do not share a single language and where challenging ideas and experiences can be expressed safely

  • Providing safe meeting spaces with the possibility of encounter with other cultures without a commitment to further engagement

  • Providing a source of affirmation and confidence building (focusing on people’s creativity and achievements, providing enjoyment)

There was general agreement that participatory and community arts work is particularly important to ICD. In this field, artistic outcomes are most strongly connected to the building of personal and shared skills, integration and social capital. We also looked at the limitations of the arts in ICD and the risks of the misuse of culture.

Read the full report of the event.

With our work on the contribution of the arts to intercultural dialogue, we are looking to inform public arts programmes, which have intercultural dialogue as a declared aim. In the first instance, we are planning to make an input to the review of the EU Culture programme (which will formally get under way in 2010)– it counted 229 ICD-related projects since 2007, but no reliable information is available on how ICD has been understood in them or how ICD was promoted. At the root is a lack of criteria. This must change if we are to move beyond well-meaning rhetoric towards action that has an impact on society. If you have distinct views on what an arts or culture project needs to be about or what it should achieve in order to be able to be funded as an ICD project, share them with us! Write to: dialogue@intercultural-europe.org

Our member Chrissie Tiller is leading the way – she reflected further after our meeting on the most effective role of the arts in inter-cultural dialogue: “providing not the answers but a means of translating the conversation and facilitating the dialogue”. To read her article, go to: http://blog.cta-elegantsolutions.com

Our efforts in this domain also relate to work undertaken by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Agencies. IFACCA has just carried out a survey on ‘Achieving intercultural dialogue through the arts and culture?’ and will present its findings during their World Summit (theme: Meeting of Cultures: Creating Meaning through the Arts) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 22-25 September 2009.

For the survey go to: http://www.ifacca.org/announcements/2009/05/20/survey-intercultural-dialogue-extension-deadline/

For the World summit, go to: http://www.ifacca.org/announcements/2009/07/16/register-now-world-summit/


Intercultural Dialogue in EU Politics: The Structured Dialogue and the Open Method of Coordination
Organise a political debate on interculturality in your country!

The Structured Dialogue is a process invented by the European Commission to give form to its commitment to consult civil society on policy-making. Our Platform is one of three formally recognised interlocutors in this process. The Structured Dialogue is meant to go hand in hand with the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) - a form of voluntary and non-binding intergovernmental cooperation introduced by the EU Council on Culture in November 2007 as a working method. Will the recommendations of the three platforms be taken up and by whom? What strategy do they need to adopt to get a substantive reaction from any policy-makers?

Such questions were discussed at the last joint meeting of the three platforms on 10th June, in which several members of the Platform for Intercultural Europe participated. Commission representative Xavier Troussard (Head of the Cultural Policy and Intercultural Dialogue Unit of DG EAC) pointed out on this occasion that it was important for the Platforms not just to work with the EU-level expert working groups under the OMC, but also to extend the Structured Dialogue to the national level - because “the OMC is deliberately about national competences”. What can we do? Let’s use the strength of our emerging network and the leverage of our European status and organise a debate on our demands for intercultural policies in your countries. Take Italy, for example. We have four member organisations there and 18 signatories of our Rainbow Paper – enough know-how and resources between them to organise an event! National debates could involve officials from the National Coordinating Body for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the delegates in the OMC working groups and in the EU Cultural Affairs Council and other relevant politicians and civil servants. Whichever EU Member State you are based in, if you are interested in taking further the Structured Dialogue about intercultural issues in your country, write with your ideas to dialogue@intercultural-europe.org! Sweden and Spain (as the current and next holder of the EU Presidency) are of particular importance in this regard.

To find out more about the two other platforms under the Structured Dialogue, please go to: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/our-policy-development/doc1199_en.htm

To learn more about the OMC and its working groups, please go to: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/our-policy-development/doc1565_en.htm

Given the emphasis in our Rainbow Paper on the importance of education with regard to intercultural dialogue, we’d be interested in your opinion on a piece of work in progress by the OMC WG on “Synergies between Education and Culture”. This group of experts appointed by 26 EU countries has produced a draft report which attributes the arts and culture in education with the following contributions to intercultural dialogue: helping the construction of personal cultural identity, providing a sense of belonging to a shared culture and encouraging respect for cultural differences. Moreover, the paper acknowledges that the arts are important in the development of general skills in education, and that they help strengthen social cohesion. The groups’ subgroup on ‘heritage education’ recommends that European citizens acquire knowledge of their own cultural heritage in order to be receptive to the heritage of others. This is the extent to which this OMC WG currently touches on intercultural concerns. Are the connections made between the arts, education and intercultural dialogue strong enough? What other concerns do we want the representatives of our governments to consider in their collaboration?

To read the text please click here.

The draft paper is due to become an intermediate report by the end of July and a final report by December 2010. If you write to us with comments, we might be able to create some of the synergies which the Structured Dialogue and the OMC are supposed to deliver!

Please give your feedback to: dialogue@intercultural-europe.org

EU Culture Forum, 29/30th Sept in Brussels
Save the date!

Around 600 civil society organisations are expected to attend a high-level event conceived as a milestone in the dual process of Structured Dialogue and Open Method of Coordination. The European Commission is planning the Cultural Forum around the three objectives of the Agenda for Culture. Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue will hence be the subject of a third of the programme. The interests of our Platform look likely to be best covered in the session on “Access to culture, participation and youth”, where questions will be up for debate such as: “What does diversity mean to cultural institutions?” and “How can heritage and culture institutions reach out to attract new audiences?” but also the session on “Education and Training” (“How can arts education develop creativity and intercultural competences?”).

Structured Dialogue Platforms and OMC working group will be able to present their work in “Flash Info” sessions parallel to the main programme. We are also hoping to make our presence felt by coordinating the contributions which Platform members will make from the floor. Please plan to come and give us force. Registration is open at http://cultureforum.teamwork.fr (password: culture). Some travel subsidies will be made available by the European Commission. More information on http://ec.europa.eu/culture/index_en.htm). Once you have registered, let us know, so that we can plan a common action.

Panorama on Intercultural Dialogue
Upcoming revision of our resource collection – send your material, give your opinion!

Website statistics tell us that the resource collection on Intercultural Dialogue, which we launched at the beginning of May, is well used. Panorama was conceived as a complement to the Rainbow Paper; it is meant to help implement our recommendations and to ensure continuity of the work begun under the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. In order to remain true to this ambition, Panorama must be revised - we are in the process of planning for this year and beyond. We see Panorama as one of our tools in realising our mission of “representing the experience and insight of those who act to promote it” and to “helping the understanding of the concepts of intercultural dialogue and action”. Help us by sharing your user experience with us. What have you liked? What could be improved? Help us by sending in materials, which you think should be added! Please write to: marie.telschow@intercultural-europe.org

To refresh your experience of Panorama, please go to: http://panorama.intercultural-europe.org

Analysing the EYID 2008
Effectiveness depends on "robust follow-up"

Perhaps you are amongst the relatively few European who have been touched by a “flagship project” of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 (EYID) or who saw something of a national EYID project. The EYID National Coordination Bodies (NCBs) came together one last time on 25th June to hear the findings of an evaluation of the EYID, to reflect on the success of the EYID in the different countries and to consider any lasting effects. While the Commission DG Education and Culture put on a rich programme with speakers from other relevant EC directorates (integration policy and Roma inclusion), the number of participants was meagre: only 16 out of the 25 Member States had sent a representative and only 6 considered it worthwhile to present their conclusions on the EYID in their country (Austria, Greece, Malta, Hungary, Portugal and Romania).

Neil McDonald from ECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd was quick to point out that to measure the EYID against its own objectives had been the sole the remit of the study carried out by his organisation. The study passed no judgment on the relative success of individual countries. Conclusions on the number of people reached and on attitude changes during the EYID were particularly tentative, despite a wealth of quantitative data related to the year’s communications’ strategy. Besides 7 flagship projects (worth 2.4 million EUR in EU grants), 29 national projects (worth 3 million EUR in EU grants) and a 4 million EUR information campaign, the EYID counts 780 national events, 71 dedicated websites, 93 reports or research studies, 46 DVDs or CDs and 28 new networks or online communities.

There were significant variations in Member States’ additional funding for activities and in the consistency of the EYID with their national policies, especially the existence of framework policies or action plans. (The informal opinion prevalent at the meeting was that only in a handful of countries had the EYID led to progress on intercultural policies – in the sense of policy strategies being augments with an “ICD pillar” or of special departments being created in ministries.)

A “very strong coherence” had been achieved with initiatives of other international organisations, notably the Council of Europe and UEFA, and Intercultural Dialogue had obtained “high visibility in key EU programmes”. Yet cultural and artistic events dominated the EYID (which is not surprising, as somebody commented, given that the contact database of DG Education & Culture was used to spread the word about opportunities under the EYID, and that the national coordination also mostly was in the hands of culture ministries or related agencies), despite respectable advances in working across departmental boundaries within the European Commission (DG EAC acknowledged good collaboration with their counterparts from the fields of employment, social affairs, migrants and integration, and referred to the two Council conclusions adopted during the EYID – on intercultural competences and on culture and external relations – as “mainstreaming of their own”).

A reassuringly honest verdict was that the EYID has been “biased towards raising awareness of the importance of Intercultural Dialogue or in some cases simply cultural diversity in a general sense”, but that “dialogue as such was not achieved in some countries”. Another insight to keep in mind was that “Intercultural Dialogue takes place more in a large number of small projects than in a small number of large projects.”

The “grounds for cautious optimism”, which Neil McDonald saw in developments concerning teacher training and curriculum development, for example, all depend on “the maintenance of the momentum of the Year”. “It is important that the Year is followed up robustly by the Commission and Member States.” (a point with which the Commission officials present were happy to agree). “Structured Dialogue” (presumably with civil society), developing “civil society capacity in terms of organizations and networks addressing ICD and related issues” and the realisation of the “potential of ICD in fields other than arts and culture” feature as suggestions for such a follow-up. Well, as the Platform for Intercultural Europe, we couldn’t agree more! We see our raison d’être affirmed.

The final evaluation of the EYID by ECOTEC should become available on the Commission website soon: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/evalreports/index_en.htm

The brochure "Highlights of EYID 2008" can be requested by emailing: eac-culture@ec.europa.eu


New Multilingualism Platform: EU Call for Participation
No overlap with our Platform

Besides the three civil society platforms in the cultural field, the European Commission has recently proposed a multilingualism platform which is due to have its constitutive meeting in October. A call for participation is currently open.

This initiative builds on the Communication on “Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment” of September 2008 and the corresponding Council resolution of 21 November 2008 (for both documents, go to http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/key_docs/doc3413_en.htm).

Although the Information meeting on 2nd June referred to a “Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism for Intercultural Dialogue”, it soon became clear that this will not actually be the name of the platform and that it will deal with all aspects of language learning and teaching (including the promotion of minority languages), but not specifically with multilingualism as the engine of the integration of migrants. So this topic remains one that our Platform could take up in the longer run provided enough members show an interest.

For more info on the multilingualism platform, please go to http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/news/news3505_en.htm

Green Paper on Education and Migration

How can migrants be better integrated in our educational systems? How do our systems need to adjust to the fact that up to 50% of school populations, especially in urban areas, are made up of children whose parents were born in a different country? The European Commission tackled questions such as these in its Green Paper on "Migration & mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems" published on 3rd July 2008. The public consultation on this paper just closed and the publication of the results is imminent. A stakeholder conference is planned for 28th October.

The Green Paper addresses the urgent need to revise directive 77/486/CEE on the education of the children of migrant workers, which is still based on the notion of “guest workers”, who would return with their children to their countries of origin. The Green Paper’s proposals chime with the recommendations on education and intercultural dialogue in our Rainbow Paper. We look forward to further action!

Keep an eye on: http://ec.europa.eu/education/focus/focus842_en.htm



EU Integration Forum & Website
Inaugural meeting and launch on 20th April 2009

The European Integration Forum is intended to give representatives of civil society a voice on EU integration issues. It is an instrument to improve EU cooperation on integration policy, which was proposed by the European Commission in its 2005 communication on creating a “Framework for the Integration of Third-Country National in the EU”. Our Platform attended the first of what are to become bi-annual meetings hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee. The Forum is expected to feed into the forthcoming “Stockholm Programme” on EU cooperation mechanism on integration (which is to succeed the “Hague Programme”, 2005-2010) and into the next ministerial conference on integration under the Spanish EU Presidency in 2010. For details, go to: http://ec.europa.eu/ewsi/en/policy/legal.cfm

The second instrument recently launched is the European website on integration. It allows you to publicise your projects (good practice collection), to find out where responsibility for integration policy lies in your country and what your national policies are about (country information sheets), and links you to a wide range of relevant websites (including 96 related to intercultural dialogue and interreligious dialogue), consult a vast document library etc.

Take a look: European website on integration: http://ec.europa.eu/ewsi/



Membership

Our first General Members’ Assembly took place on 8th of June in Brussels. 22 voting members were present - we had the quorum to adopt our work plan, budget and membership fees. Our association is herewith put on a proper democratic footing.

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



News from our European-level Members

CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe
Evaluation of School Community Approach - Executive Summary now available online

The programme “A Classroom Of Difference” is at the centre of CEJI's school-focused activities. It is a training module and curriculum resource designed to equip school staff to meet the challenges of a multicultural school community. The evaluation of the programme was conducted for CEJI over the course of two years by the Paris-based Institute for Education and Social Policy. Five schools across the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy participated in a pilot project of the School Community Approach, funded by the Ford Foundation.
Read more…

ECF – European Cultural Foundation
Stranger Festival continues in 2009

The EYID ‘Flagship project’ StrangerFestival run by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) continues beyond 2008. StrangerFestival is an online and offline platform for videos made by young people on issues that matter to them. It also involves a competition, a festival and research. The ECF believes that connecting and empowering young Europeans from all walks of society and cultures paves the way for their openness towards ‘Strangers’ – it encourages intercultural dialogue among Europe’s future generation. The ECF is also convinced that StrangerFestival can play an important role in bridging the generational gap between policy-makers and young Europeans.

Read and watch more: http://www.strangerfestival.com

EFIL – European Federation of Intercultural Learning
EFIL Volunteer Summer Summit 30 July – 3 Aug, Turkey

For a 2nd year in a row, EFIL will organise its 4-day Volunteer Summer Summit in a town close to Istanbul. The event will bring together around 200 AFS volunteers in order to share best practices, to exchange tools & hints and to create a spirit of unity and belonging to an international community of shared values and intercultural understanding.
Read more…

Intercultural Dialogue Day on 24th Sept 2009: Intercultural Europe in 5 Senses

AFS volunteers from EFIL member organisations from across Europe and the Mediterranean will celebrate Intercultural Dialogue on 24th Sep 2009 by organising simultaneous events, debates, workshops, markets of ideas and many other creative activities in numerous local communities. The motto “Intercultural Europe in 5 Senses” promises a great festival of multicultural understanding!

The updated website will be launched soon, for more information, please contact Ilyana Panteleeva: ilyana.panteleeva@afs.org

ENAR- European Network Against Racism
Fact sheet on ethnic profiling available online now

ENAR has published a fact sheet on ethnic profiling, in cooperation with the Open Society Justice Initiative. It explains the concept and practice of ethnic profiling: the use by law enforcement officials of generalisations based on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin, rather than individual behaviour or objective evidence, as the basis for directing discretionary law enforcement actions.
Read more…

ERIO – European Roma Information Office
Network of experts on Roma culture

Experts on Roma culture (anthropologists, historians, ethnographers, experts on Romani language and artists) met to brainstorm in Brussels on July 16th at the invitation of Commission DG Education and Culture in cooperation with ERIO. The meeting aimed at the creation of a network of expert on Roma culture which could help improve perceptions of the Roma and help Roma to translate their knowledge and ideas into policies. The recommendations of the expert group will be presented at a larger meeting in November.
Read more… (Download "July 17th, 2009 - e-news ")

TEH - Trans Europe Halles
The LIFT Handbook – Sharing Experiences of a youth exchange network project – available online now

Within the network project ‘The Lift’ (2006-2008), young people who are active at different Trans Europe Halles centres were given the chance to go abroad and work at another Trans Europe Halles centre through the mobility scheme European Voluntary Service (EVS). A large number of Trans Europe Halles centres were involved in The Lift and the experiences from the project have now resulted in a handbook about networking through EVS. The aim of the handbook is to offer a tool for other organisations that would like to start similar projects in the future.
Read more…

News from our National & Local Members

Culture Centre Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Third edition of ‘Kultour’ - Call for Cooperation

The third edition of ‘Kultour’, the local intercultural festival of the city of Sint-Niklaas (Belgium), will take place in the spring 2010. The central topic ‘Love’ will be addressed in a series of cultural events: For four weeks the city of Sint-Niklaas will bubble with theatre, music, film, exhibitions, poetry, performances and shows. Representatives of ethnic minorities living in the city of Sint-Niklaas are fully involved in the planning of the events. The festival will open with a fashion show of ethnic wedding dresses from all over the world.

If you can help the organisers with the collection of ethnic bridal clothing, please contact: patricia.maes@sint-niklaas.be, +32(0)3 760 91 53.

ICLS – Intercultural Communication and Leadership School, Italy
A Contest for young leadership talent from minorities

The AtmosphEUROPA contest is organised by the ICLS of Rome and The Intercivil Society of London. This contest is for you if you are less than 30 years old, coming from a minority background and living in Europe and lead on climate protection, on good diversity in society, or on poverty reduction. It is supported by the President of the European Parliament.
Read more…

Les amis du monde entier, Belgium
Progress in the Belgian “sans-papiers” movement

After nearly one and a half years of weekly demonstrations, and hunger strikes of hundreds of “sans-papiers” (illegal immigrants), the Belgian government has opened a 3-month window of opportunity to 'regularise' immigrants: asylum seekers whose cases have been in process for a minimum of 3-4 years or foreigners who have lived on the Belgian territory for at least 5 years are eligible to apply. This is the second time that such a time bound amnesty is granted – the first came in 2000. The association Les amis du monde entier founded in 1998 by former “sans-papiers” supported the movement leading to this agreement and welcomes it; about 25 000 individuals might benefit.

Read the full agreement of the Belgian government here (pdf in French)

Contact: Les amis du monde entier, Zeka Sizo, les_amis_1@yahoo.fr

TRAMES Association, Italy
Dialogue on maritime heritage

Association TRAMES has extensive experience with European cooperation on the preservation and valorisation of lighthouses. Virginia Ravaioli will report on TRAMES’ participation in the EC PHAROS programme and its activities under the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 at the conference of the International Congress of Maritime Museums in Esbjerg, Denmark, 5-11 October 2009. TRAMES aims to promote intercultural dialogue by way of exchanging knowledge about European and non-European cultures. It sees the influence of changing audiences on the presentation of maritime histories.

For details about the conference: http://www.icmmonline.org

Contact: Virginia Ravaioli – info@italytrames.eu - www.italytrames.eu


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The Platform for Intercultural Europe was initiated by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF)
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