Newsbulletin #3
November 2009

Second Regional Practice Exchange on Intercultural Capacity-Building in Organisations
EU Culture Forum, 28-30th Sept.
Hope for follow up to the EYID
Exploring interest in Intercultural Dialogue
in the European Parliament

“Diversity spicing up creativity?"
European Integration Forum, 12-13th Nov
Belgian EU Presidency in second half of 2010
Consultation and Conference on the Green Paper
on Education and Migration
Membership & Members’ news



Something should be clear by now. The intercultural dialogue we mean is that between people of different ethnic identity – and we are aware that identity has many more facets than ethnicity. Ethnic minorities or people with a migration background are therefore our concern – and we don’t distinguish by their legal status. So what? Well, this draws a line between us and those interested in international cultural cooperation or in cultural diplomacy. It still does not make us a “single issue” NGO. We steer a course between equal rights and equal opportunities, exploring and advocating for what puts the oil between these two cogs and makes them work together: encounter, understanding, empathy and will for change. The different means which create these effects – community arts, educational or youth initiatives, social events etc – are necessarily local, but we believe that the necessity and possibilities of intercultural dialogue need to be the subject at European level too.

The European contextualises, frames and encourages the local work. The local work informs and challenges the European. The daily concerns and work realities of the two levels can seem light years apart. Yet sometimes it can become clear that the two are on the same plan after all. Take our Belgian member organisation “Les Amis du Monde Entier”. Their recent information day revealed their hard work to assist undocumented migrants to sustain the limbo of extended bureaucratic processes. Their involvement in our Platform symbolises the desire of the legalised migrants they represent to integrate and engage.

Our daily bread as a Platform secretariat is more to engage with the European institutional machine and play its highly specialised game. We bridge these two realities by accepting the reminder which Wim Wenders issued in his closing address at the recent EU Culture Forum: that the EU should not be Europe, but serve Europe; that the real Europe is out there and Europeans can only be persuaded with Europe itself (find his speech on: This Newsbulletin is therefore intended to illustrate how we work to make the EU serve Europe where Intercultural Dialogue is concerned. It should also show how we bring local realities to European attention.

Enjoy the read and give us feedback by writing to!

Sabine Frank, Secretary General

Second Regional Practice Exchange on Intercultural Capacity-Building in Organisations
Vienna, 20-21st Nov

The active participation of migrants or minorities in cultural production means their opportunity to shape society. This premise informs our second Regional Practice Exchange in Vienna, organised in collaboration with our member organisation IG Kultur Österreich, a network of 320 cultural associations. Participants from Austria and neighbouring countries will reflect on the self-organisation and self-representation of migrants and minorities in the cultural domain and assess the need for structural change. The outcomes will further inform the advocacy of the Platform for Intercultural Europe.
We will be reporting on this event in one of our next Newsbulletins.

Read the report on our first Practice Exchange in Malmö, Sweden

EU Culture Forum, 28-30th Sept
A “milestone in the implementation of the Agenda for Culture” with its Intercultural Dialogue objective?

More than 900 people came to Brussels for broad political debate. Prominent speakers reinforced welcome wisdom: Commissioner Jan Figel appealed to the audience to accept that creativity depends on respect for diversity. Composer Jordi Savall urged us to accept that “Culture without empathy for the other serves nothing.” Yet strategically, the greatest gain of the event was to help anchor the concerns of culture in neighbouring policy domain. This was achieved through high-level participation from other Commission Directorates-General. Some key MEPs were also involved.

From the Platform for Intercultural Europe’s point of view, however, the event brought home how Intercultural Dialogue gets almost wilfully diluted. A vast array of issues were thrown into the session on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural dialogue: The advantages of cultural diversity in Europe, the role of new media in relation to traditional forms of communication, the role of education, the mobility or artists and cultural operators, the unique role of the arts in learning through creative processes, creativity as the common denominator for talent, access to culture, participation, youth.

In our presentation during the parallel programme of “Flash Info” sessions, we therefore reiterated our demands and timely plea to reserve the term Intercultural Dialogue and its public support to activities, which contribute directly to creating new and better dynamics between people of different origins in our societies.

Take a look at our presentation

Watch the European Culture Forum video highlights

Read Chris Torch’s report on the Forum’s coverage of Intercultural Dialogue

The official evaluation of the event has closed, but informal blogs on the Forum are still accessible:

Hope for follow up to the EYID
Filling a hole in the Culture Council work plan

The Platform for Intercultural Europe is part of the bigger political picture of “structuring the dialogue” between civil society and EU institutions in the field of culture. The first opportunity to analyse this picture in front of the EU Cultural Affairs Committee, which is the working body of the EU Council of Culture Minister, came on 23 October. We presented our work and recommendations. Our demand for a Council working group on Intercultural Dialogue under the Open Method of Coordination was spontaneously welcomed by the Italian and Austrian delegations. At least eight more delegations would have to tune in before such a working group can be created. A review of existing OMC groups has to happen first, which gives us time to refine our suggestions for what might be achievable on ICD.

Look at the presentation we shared with the other two platforms

Exploring interest in Intercultural Dialogue in the European Parliament
A weak response

Several MEPs were invited to participate in the EU Culture Forum. We targeted them with personalised letters about our cause on the occasion. We caught some in person at the event. Yet an outright champion of Intercultural Dialogue did not emerge. Doris Pack Chairwoman of the EP Culture Committee pointed out that the EP had held series of events during the EYID and has made ICD part of its external relations. On the whole, however, ICD depended on civil society, she said. Hans-Gert Pöttering, former EP president, who spoke on the Forum’s panel on cultural diversity and ICD, did not leave the comfort zone of stating generalities such as “The basis of diversity must be tolerance” or
“Respect is the basis of unity in diversity”.

We reinforced our outreach to the European Parliament by taking part in a three-day NGO Fair (6-10th October) there, organised by the Civil Society Contact Group. Our “Rainbow Paper: Intercultural Dialogue – from Practice to Policy and Back” was eagerly picked up; our conversations took place with MEPs’ assistants and staff of the Parliament’s secretariats and services. EP lobby is an effort to keep up and reinforce.

Find out more about the fair

"Diversity spicing up creativity?"
6th Brussels Debate of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation

The topic was approached from many different angles at this event on 15th October. New Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič tried his hand. Experts on intercultural city policies, Phil Woods and Daniel de Torres contributed as well as Bola Olabisi, representing woman innovators. Sabine Frank explored the topic from the angle of the Platform for Intercultural Europe. She said that “creativity does not just need cultural diversity, but inter-culture” and that “creativity should also be put in the service of cultural diversity and interculture”. Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič started his speech with the statement that “Creativity should not just be looked at from the arts, but also from science and technology”. Right he might be, but in an EU that prizes creativity first and foremost where it spurs productivity and growth, a Commissioner of culture should be expected to provide a counterbalance: to speak up for a broader culture-based creativity which has a social and educational dimension.

Read the report on the debate

View the video clip of the debate

European Integration Forum, 12-13th Nov
Intercultural Dialogue a side kick, but a kick nonetheless

From our roots in the arts and culture we branch out into other policy domains. The Platform for Intercultural Europe took part as a member in the second EU Integration Forum on 12-13th November, hosted by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social committee. The EU Integration Forum is a mechanism for civil society consultation in the ten-year old EU integration policy – a policy, which will finally be given a legal base through the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. The mainstreaming of integration policy and an assessment of the European Integration Fund were the topics on the Agenda.

Some key messages emerged: First, it is impractical to make integration only a matter concerning “legally residing third country nationals”, as the remit of the EU policy is defined, but that undocumented migrants, naturalised immigrants, their children and grandchildren, as well as the receiving population must also be included. Second, integration into the labour market is the highest integration concern. However, as clear as this consensus is, it is a complex task which involves eradicating discrimination, rights education, intercultural awareness raising and competence building, and last but not least intercultural dialogue.

Belgian EU Presidency in second half of 2010
Will it champion Intercultural policies?

No matter that the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue has ended, Belgium is in the middle of a six-month campaign on interculturality (Sept 2009 – Feb 2010). Its “Assises de l’Interculturalité” entail a programme of debates and conferences at national, regional and local level, publicly funded projects, a media campaign, and a steering and ambassador group to ensure longer-term impact. Belgium’s declared aim is to be at the forefront of European countries in integration and migration policies. This should bode well for July to December 2010 when Belgium will steer the course of the EU’s specialist policy councils – the Culture Council’s work plan will be up for re-design just then and a decision on the creation of a Council Working group on Intercultural Dialogue will fall then (see also article on top: Filling a hole in the Culture Council work plan: slight hope for follow up to the EYID).

Consultation and Conference on the Green Paper on Education and Migration
Parent-teacher dialogue crucial to improving migrants’ education

Parent-teacher relations are often a nightmare when cultural and linguistic differences abound. Yet partnership between schools and parents is crucial and was therefore the second most important recommendation after language learning identified through public consultation on the European Commission’s Green Paper on Education and Migration.
140 policy-makers, experts and practitioners participated in the closing conference of the public consultation on "Migration and Mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems", organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 20th October.

We note that the bulk of the consultation outcomes is in harmony with our Rainbow Paper: enabling teachers to promote Intercultural Dialogue through intercultural competences, increased access to early childhood education and care, preventing and combating school segregation etc. The role of the EU is seen in supporting the exchange of best practice between member states, more research and coordination on the issue with other policy fields. The European Council conclusions will follow and the consultation results should determine priorities for the Open Method of Coordination in the field of Education and Training.

For more info on the conference and the results of the public consultation, please go to:


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

News from our European-level Members

ENAR – European Network Against Racism
Call to address social exclusion faced by ethnic minorities

On the occasion of the Swedish Presidency European Round Table on Poverty and Social Exclusion, 15-16 October, ENAR highlighted the specific social exclusion and poverty faced by ethnic minorities. The Roundtable focused on the EU Active Inclusion Strategy, which aims at including those who are the most detached from the labour market and are socially excluded. ENAR advocated in particular for data collection on the social exclusion of ethnic and religious minorities and the identification of barriers faced by ethnic minorities in accessing the labour market, such as language skills and legal status.

For further information contact Georgina Siklossy:

ERIO – European Roma Information Office
Call to act on the extreme poverty faced by the Roma minority in all EU Member States

On the occasion of the International Day of the Eradication of Poverty on 17th October, ERIO implored European decision-makers of all levels to take urgent measures regarding the extremely high unemployment rate which Roma suffer due to the current economic crisis, which risks their decline into even more exclusion, discrimination and segregation. ERIO advocates for an integrative approach that undertakes actions in all sectors of relevance for promoting social inclusion of Roma, and especially in education, labour, health and housing.

News from our National & Local Members

Art Aspects
Seminar: Arts, Migration and Intercultural Dialogue, Lanzarote, 17 – 29 May 2010

“Strategies of Non-Knowledge” is just one of two seminars that will take place from 17 to 29 May 2010, on the Island of Lanzarote. Funded by EC educational programmes, the main objective of the course is to encourage intercultural exchange on the European issue of migration, whilst attempting to approach solutions through creative and practical work. Designed for art teachers, artists, as well as those working in adult education, participants will be provided with valuable experiences to enable future development in these fields.

For more info and to register:

Borders crossing
Intercultural Theatre Secondary School Tour in the UK

Border Crossings in collaboration with Polygon Arts and Romany Theatre Company is currently touring in secondary schools in the UK with a theatre play focusing on a system of Gypsy symbols imparting knowledge of conditions on the road or showing the way. The play is followed by a workshop for pupils and teachers and is linked to the school-curriculum.

Border Crossings is dedicated to developing new audiences for intercultural theatre. All projects are complemented by participation and learning programmes, allowing community groups to participate in and contribute to the artistic process.

Roots and Routes
ARTnGO –New Routes to Intercultural Creativity

A new project, ARTnGO, launched in Lille in September 2009 with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, will give 350 young artists and professionals in the creative industries across ten European Countries an opportunity to develop their skills, and to share their artistic and entrepreneurial experiences. The overall aim of ARTnGo is the creation, circulation and transnational exchange of artistic events with young musicians, dancers and media makers in 10 European countries.

Contact: Sziget – Budapest, Mr Akos Dominus,

Vienna Jewish Film Festival
This year’s Film Festival, Vienna, 12-19 November

The 18th edition of the Vienna Jewish Film Festival deals with Jewish life and culture in different countries of the contemporary world. Highlights of this year’s festival are courageous productions by Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers who report about the situation in the Middle East and urge for the need and wish for peace.

Further Information:

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The Platform for Intercultural Europe has been funded
with support from the European Commission. This publication
reflects the views only of the Platform and the Commission
cannot be held responsible for any use which may be
made of the information contained therein.

The Platform for Intercultural Europe was initiated by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF)
and Culture Action Europe, the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage. The Platform is supported by the Network of European Foundations (NEF). NEF is a consortium involving the following partners: Compagnia di San Paolo, European Cultural Foundation, Evens Foundation, Fondation Bernheim, Freudenberg Stiftung, Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

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