Multiculturalism has failed. Time for Interculturalism.

Katarina Church and the minaret of the Stockho...

So its 2011, the supposed “Clash of Civilisation” hasn’t happened, but it still could. Multiculturalism and Political Correctness once hailed as being the only way to deal with “people different to us” is failing. The issues created when “others” moved into an area are still there. Nothing is improving and in some places cultural tensions are increasing.

There are a few reasons why multiculturalism is failing.

The fear of the “Other” still exists. We say say we aren’t racist, we may say we respect them. But neither of those statements cover up for the indirect racism or the misrepresentations we make of people from other cultures who may even live on the same street.

There is no interaction. Multiculturalism and Political Correctness have left people afraid to say things to each other out of fear of offending someone. Since when do we worry about this? If we do not mean to offend, people will know this! We no more understand people from other cultures as we did when they came to our countries as we are afraid to interact with them.

So I think German Chancellor Angela Merkel is correct. Multiculturalism has failed. Its time for a new approach. Can things be better with interculturalism?

Since getting involved with the Anna Lindh Foundation and the concept of “Intercultural Dialogue” I am more and more convinced that this is the way forward. We need not just to accept people from other cultures, we need to interact with, and I mean really interact with them. Not just going to joint events, but going to events aimed mainly at one group.

It is only this way that we will socialise with people from other cultures and move outside our comfort zone. This is the only way we can learn how to truly be accepting. Through the Anna Lindh Foundation I have learned this and the more events I attend the more I think this is true. The recent Anna Lindh Exchange Forum meeting confirmed this for me. The more we are willing to interact with people from other places and cultures the more we learn about them and they about us. It will mean we have to worry less about Political Correctness as there will be a level of understanding that will be beyond the need for this.

So its time time we stopped being understanding each other on a deeper level by being intercultural and not paying lip service as being multicultural.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Anna Lindh Exchange Forum

This week the Anna Lindh Exchange will take place in Tunis, Tunisia between the 23rd and 26th June. This will be a region-wide meeting of civil society players acting for democracy and freedoms with an intercultural perspective.

Gathering between 150 and 200 participants from all over the Euro-Med region who work in the fields of Artistic creation, Media and Social Networks, Civil society development and Resources for Citizenship, the event will be a great opportunity for participants to learn from each other, exchange experiences, best practices and project ideas as well as to build partnerships.

I shall be attending the Exchange and I will be part of the team covering the event through twitter, facebook and blogs. As part of that I have posted a blog post on the conference up on the official blog just on the background!

Do check out the website tunisforum.org for all the ways to follow the Forum. On twitter follow the #tunisforum tag! Or follow the list I created on twitter which will be updated over the course of the exchange. On Facebook like the Anna Lindh Foundation Page and the Believe in Dialogue Page to get updates there! There will be some live coverage and videos on the website so do keep an eye on it!

Im really looking forward to it now!

The Awakening Euromed Consciousness

Satellite caption of the Mediterranean Sea.
Image via Wikipedia

As protests inspired by Tunisia move across the Middle East, with protests in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen, its hard to imagine that a few years ago these protests would not have been tolerated, let alone successful as we have seen in Tunisia.

Since getting involved in the Anna Lindh Foundation I have met many people from these countries bordering the Mediterranean. Some of these people, while proud of their countries and their heritage, were not happy with their Governments. Whether it be lack of Women’s Rights or controls on internet access, these people wanted more. They wanted freedom and they wanted a say in how their lives were run.

This is what is amazing about these protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen. The people have seen what can be done. They have seen that change can be brought about with revolution.

This is a hard lesson for the ruling elites in these countries who are quite used to not being challenged. They are now facing the challenge that will cement their memory in the national consciousness of these countries. Either a memory of a Government that will not listen to its people and put down the protests, or of a Government willing to change, it meet the protester’s demands, either in part or full.

In the title I made use of the phrase “Euromed Consciousness”. I used this because while these countries share a common Arab and Muslim Heritage, it is through their contacts across the Mediterranean that these people have realised that more is possible. That freedom is available. These people do not want to leave their countries. They want them to be modern societies with the rights, freedoms and technology available to those across that small sea.

Whether or not the European mindset have contributed to these protests, these protests prove the effectiveness of modern technology in organising people against their governments. Facebook, twitter, mobile phones and the internet in general has galvanised people and have ensured mass turn outs in Liberty Square in Cairo and other cities across Egypt, Tunisia and the Middle East.

As these protests become successful, expect more to happen in other sates where the Government have left their people behind.

ALF statement on Terror Attack in Alexandria

The Anna Lindh Foundation have issued the following declaration in response to the terror attack a Christian Church in Alexandria, Egypt.

The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, which has its international headquarters in Alexandria (Egypt), expresses its deep sadness and pain about the terror attack which affected this city on the night of 31st December. The President of the Foundation, André Azoulay, and all of his team, wish to express their solidarity with the victims, their families and the Egyptian people.

In response to this act of violence, the Anna Lindh Foundation will intensify its efforts in favour of dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region by involving and engaging in this mission all those who share the need to eradicate the culture of hatred, and to build societies based on mutual respect between people of different origins, traditions and beliefs. Committed against a Coptic church in Alexandria, the attack aimed to provoke sectarian tension between the different religious communities that have lived together in peace in Egypt for centuries. This crime, carried out against civilians who were practising their faith together, demands the mobilisation of all those who promote the right to practise freely religious beliefs. The Anna Lindh Foundation condemns any pretention to exploit religions and take religions hostage for the sake of fuelling violent behaviour and terrorism, whilst they carry a message of peace and fraternity for the immense majority of believers.

The Anna Lindh Foundation has had the opportunity to consistently observe in Alexandria how the coexistence between Muslims and Christians, which is part of the daily life in Egypt, is a major asset for peaceful relations between the different religious communities that exist in Middle Eastern societies, from where they originated. In view of the brutal attack that the Alexandrian people suffered, the Anna Lindh Foundation feels closer than ever to the Egyptian people and its institutions, and sets out to preserve the diverse heritage which is essential to building a Euro-Mediterranean space of peace and freedom.

Now more then ever the work of the Anna Lindh Foundation is important across the Mediterranean.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Rethinking Dialogue: International Policy Debate

British Council
Image via Wikipedia

I got this in the email account today and could be of interest to UK Readers.

It is our pleasure to announce ‘Rethinking Dialogue’, an international event aimed at reassessing approaches to building cross-cultural relations within the UK and across societies in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Tuesday, 7th December 2010 (Registration from 9.30)

One Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London

www.rethinkingdialogue.org

‘Rethinking Dialogue’ begins with the UK launch of the Anna Lindh Report 2010, a pioneering study based on the very first Gallup Public Opinion Poll on the evolution of perceptions and values between people in Europe and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region.

The panel debate, which will be chaired by the BBC’s Bridget Kendall, will feature leading commentators on international affairs, including André Azoulay, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation and Counselor to the King of Morocco, and Martin Davidson CMG, Chief Executive of the British Council.

Places for the event are limited, so please register as soon as possible by writing to the British Council’s Louise Phillips at: rsvp(dot)events(at)britishcouncil(dot)org

The ‘Rethinking Dialogue’ event is organised by the British Council and the Anna Lindh Foundation, in association with Gallup Europe, the European Commission and the Foreign Press Association in London.

It looks like an interesting event.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sea of Words Literary Contest

I received this today which may be of interest to some readers.

The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) have the pleasure to announce the launch of the Third Edition of the Sea of Words Literary Competition.

We encourage the production of short stories that portray the different realities of the Euro-Mediterranean region from the point of view of the young people who live there, through the organisation of a Euro-Med short story competition.

This year, the theme is justice, equality and inclusion in the Mediterranean and in Europe in line with the objectives of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

Applicants must be under 30 years of age and residents in one of the forty three countries of the Union for the Mediterranean, and write in one of the languages of the countries of the Union for the Mediterranean.

The short-stories should be submitted by e-mail before midnight (Spain Local Time) 15 September 2010.

For more information, please visit the competition website. For further queries, please write to: concurso@iemed.org

Join Now and Become the Next Winner of the Sea of Words Competition.

Thank you for your involvement.

Kind regards,

European Institute of the Mediterranean

Anna Lindh Foundation

Enhanced by Zemanta

Anna Lindh Forum: What I made of it

President Nasheed receives the Anna Lindh Priz...
Image by Presidency Maldives via Flickr

So its been over a week since I arrived home from the Anna Lindh Forum and I have spent most of the time since I came home cathcing up with college and work. It dose not feel like I got home over a week ago!

I really enjoyed the experience of the Forum. I learned lots and made lots of connections. I got to know the other members of the Irish Network of Anna Lindh, of which I am now a member! So expect blog posts about the Irish Network.

I did have some criticisms about how the forum operated. Especially in the Agora sessions, but I was delighted in the closing ceremony to hear so many recommendations from the various sessions.

The Forum did change my outlook on art and music bringing people together, well the music bit anyway! (See the video from the concert)

The Forum in my mind was a success. It was great to work with the web and press team of the Anna Lindh Foundation in running the blog and there was a great sense of solidarity.

I learned loads from the other particpants and those who presented at the Forum. Hopefully contacts made at the Forum will lead to more projects, more changes, and more inprovements for people and society across the Euromed!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Its All Gone Quiet….

Little things seem nothing, but they give peac...
Image by Martha★ via Flickr

So I arrive in Barcelona and the blogging goes quiet…. Whats the deal you ask?

Well Anna Lindh Foundation have set up a group blog where a bunch of us are blogging our experiences at the Forum. There are some cracking blog posts over there so do check it out.

Tonight I met with some of the members of the Irish Network of Anna Lindh and I hope to get to know them better back in Ireland and get working with them a bit as well as with the Foundation.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

ALF Forum Opening Session Liveblog

Liveblog here

Transcript below

  • 11:41 AM: Stephen Spillane good evening from the plenary hall in the CCIB in Barcelona at #forum2010
  • 11:41 AM: alvaromillan Ya en el Forum, todo listo para empezar el #forum2010 de la Fundación Anna Lindh aquí en Barcelona http://twitpic.com/16kbrh
  • 11:41 AM: adshill RT @annalindh: If you are at ALF Forum and you are interested in live bloging from here, please come at 19.00 to the press room (room 118) #forum2010
  • 11:41 AM: alvaromillan
  • 11:41 AM: AnnaLindh If you are at ALF Forum and you are interested in live bloging from here, please come at 19.00 to the press room (room 118) #forum2010
  • 11:47 AM: etharkamal Almost time for the inauguration… Butterflies #forum2010
  • 11:50 AM: Stephen Spillane live blog for #forum2010 availible here is.gd Its unofficial! taking in all the tweets! feel free to comment on it @AnnaLindh
  • 11:53 AM: creainnova GBM prepara EXA Forum2010: url4.eu
  • 11:58 AM: Stephen Spillane sitting waiting to hear from lots of important people like the EC Commissioner Fule #forum2010
  • 12:00 PM: Stephen Spillane I dont think my battery will last the full ceremony. But I will leave it running, so do comment and tweet. I will try and set one up for each day!!
  • 12:28 PM: midhal at #forum2010 waiting for the official start
  • 12:28 PM: Stephen Spillane ok, the important people are here, still waiting for the start….
  • 12:29 PM: Stephen Spillane Lots of photos of Stefan Fule, the European Commissioner responsible for enlargement
  • 12:31 PM: Stephen Spillane wahey!! we are off! 🙂
  • 12:31 PM: Stephen Spillane Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs starts us off
  • 12:31 PM: Stephen Spillane lots of thanks
  • 12:32 PM: midhal official opening of ALF #forum2010
  • 12:39 PM: alvaromillan Habla Miguel Ángel Moratinos en la inauguración del Anna Lindh #forum2010 , cn Sampaio, Stefan Füle o Montilla twitpic.com
  • 12:39 PM: alvaromillan
  • 12:40 PM: midhal about 1000 participants at ALF forum. Working towards peace, cooperation – president of ALF #forum2010
  • 12:43 PM: AnnaLindh Inauguration of ALF Forum: It is up to us to build a new future in the Mediterranen, Morantinos #forum2010
  • 12:44 PM: AnnaLindh It needs to be a collective action, that’s why I’m so happy to see all this people in this room, Morantinos #forum2010
  • 12:46 PM: AnnaLindh Azoulay: you got here something that didn’t happened before, the civil society of 43 countries all together #forum2010
  • 12:46 PM: midhal about 1000 participants at ALF forum. Working towards peace, cooperation – Spanish foreign affairs minister #forum2010
  • 12:46 PM: adshill #forum2010 has begun! Andre Azoulay has just begun opening the event. 900 representatives from 39 countries! twitpic.com
  • 12:46 PM: adshill
  • 12:46 PM: AnnaLindh Azoulay started his intervention #forum2010
  • 12:47 PM: Stephen Spillane battery dying… soo long
  • 12:48 PM: AnnaLindh So tomorrow, you will see from the two shore on the Mediterranean, something that was unbelivable before, Azoulay #forum2010
  • 12:49 PM: AnnaLindh This evening, we tell you, the moment of the clash of civilization in over, Azoulay #forum2010
  • 12:51 PM: AnnaLindh This evening, here in this room, we tell you: the moment of the theory of the clash of civilization is over, Azoulay #forum2010
  • 12:51 PM: midhal human reality of the union tomorrow… President ALF #forum2010
  • 12:52 PM: carmelva key speakers’ at #forum2010 msg: peace is not eutopia, it’s easy, it’s a decision away -political will & collective action.
  • 12:53 PM: AnnaLindh Minister, President, please remember that this 1000 people are here to tell you that this dream is now possible, Azoulay #forum2010
  • 12:55 PM: AnnaLindh It is a Forum of responible committment, Azoulay #forum2010
  • 1:01 PM: AnnaLindh The civil society here, gives this big responsibility to you, President, the UfM is not a luxury, Azoulay #forum2010
  • 1:02 PM: AnnaLindh Amb Florensa, General Director of IEMed, at #forum2010
  • 1:05 PM: AnnaLindh Senen Florensa, General Director of IEMED, Head of the ALF Spanish Network now speaking at #forum201
  • 1:08 PM: midhal EC commissioner Fule takes the floor #forum2010 — social cultural and human dimension of the euro med union
  • 1:09 PM: AnnaLindh The Mediterranean is the space of cultures connected by a common destiny, Commissioner Füle at #forum2010
  • 1:10 PM: midhal Inter Cultural dialogue must promote cultural diversity as an opportunity Fule #forum2010
  • 1:13 PM: adshill Dialogue and political will is necessary for resolving conflict in the region #forum2010
  • 1:13 PM: AnnaLindh The National Networks kept the ALF staedy where everybody was asking were EuroMed was going, Commisioner Füle at #forum2010
  • 1:13 PM: carmelva the eu rep targets tension & ignorance between europe & muslim world. At least israel isn’t the only problem here #forum2010
  • 1:14 PM: AnnaLindh Salwa Siniora, Head of the ALF Lebanese Network, now speaking at #forum2010
  • 1:17 PM: AnnaLindh The objective is reshaping the present to a more embracing future, Siniora at #forum2010
  • 1:19 PM: AnnaLindh We are here renewing our commitment to live together in diversity, both equal in dignity, Siniora at #forum2010
  • 1:20 PM: AnnaLindh Ethar El Katatney, winner of the Journalist Award, now speaking at #forum2010
  • 1:21 PM: AnnaLindh We are here renewing our commitment to live, together in diversity, and equal in dignity, Siniora at #forum2010
  • 1:23 PM: midhal despite all our difference – we are so similar- questions the concept us and them – our humanity unites us #forum2010 Ethar
  • 1:23 PM: AnnaLindh The incresed communication of the new media didn’t increase our tolerance to each other, Ethar at #forum2010
  • 1:24 PM: AnnaLindh Together we are stronger that we could ever be apart, Ethar at #forum2010
  • 1:24 PM: midhal we are so connected – but we still need dialogue and d to talk and listen to each other -Ether – #forum2010
  • 1:25 PM: AnnaLindh Jorge Sampaio, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, now speaking at the opening of #forum2010
  • 1:25 PM: carmelva ethar el katatney, saudi arabian winner of journalism award -impressing. Vailed ,speaks of common humanity & beuty of diverse #forum2010
  • 1:26 PM: AnnaLindh RT @carmelva: ethar el katatney, saudi arabian winner of journalism award -impressing. Vailed ,speaks of common humanity & beuty of div …
  • 1:29 PM: adshill “Our diversity gives birth to amazing things, we need to look listen and talk to eachother. Like this we can change the world” #forum2010
  • 1:31 PM: carmelva rt @annalindh: the increased communition of the new media didn’t increase our tolerance towards each other -ethar el katatney #forum2010
  • 1:33 PM: AnnaLindh We need your cooperation, we need your inputs, and we need your firendship, Sampaio at #forum2010
  • 1:34 PM: AnnaLindh Jordi Hereu, Mayor of Barcelona, now speaking at #forum2010
  • 1:36 PM: AnnaLindh This is wonderful afternoon for the city of Barcelona, you can count on the support of the cities of the Mediterranean, Hereu at #forum2010
  • 1:37 PM: midhal Mayor of Barcelona – welcomes px’s to the city #forum2010
  • 1:38 PM: AnnaLindh The world has come to build Barcelona, and it knows what dialogue is, and what it happens when there is no dialogue, Hereu at #forum2010
  • 1:38 PM: midhal diversity is and excellent opportunity #forum2010
  • 1:38 PM: carmelva barcelona’s mayor speaks in catalan. This is the first language i must use the simultanious translation . #forum2010
  • 1:39 PM: AnnaLindh Jose Montilla, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, now seaking at #forum2010
  • 1:39 PM: AnnaLindh Jose Montilla, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, now speaking at #forum2010
  • 1:41 PM: AnnaLindh We catalan people are proud that Barcelona is the simbol of the values of the declaration in 1995, Montilla at #forum2010
  • 1:43 PM: AnnaLindh The official inaguration ended, now opening of the intercultural fair in room 113-114 #forum2010
  • 1:44 PM: carmelva the amazing woman i just twitted about is @etharkamal. Thanks @lisang #forum2010
  • 2:26 PM: adshill @carmelva Hey!! Hopefully see you in person soon, but the hashtag is actually #forum2010 as its been promoted like this for a while! 🙂
  • 2:28 PM: Stephen Spillane the tweeting seems to have come to a close, so I will close this for the night. I will start a new one in time for plenary one in the morning. In the mean time check out annalindh.wordpress.com for more details.

Hello from Barcelona!!!

Political Map of the Mediterranean Basin
Image via Wikipedia

Good afternoon from a warm Barcelona. I have reached my destination (unlike my luggage) and I am ensconced in my hotel room waiting for things to start across the road at the CCIB.

I may have neglected to inform you why I’m actually here. Well apart from blogging over on Conference Blog (shhh its not live yet! 😉 ) I will be giving my thoughts on the blogger trainer i did last year.

From the Programme

Intercultural Dialogue 2.0.
Xavier Baro (ALF Bloggers Network)
Room (127) – 5 March at 18:00
The session will focus on the presentation of the new Intercultural Dialogue Tool Kit developed by the ALF for training bloggers. The main aim of the Tool Kit is to engage social media as innovative tool to promote Intercultural dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The workshop will
introduce the manual, have a short practical phase and
present some results of the first training course. Other four
bloggers who participated in the pilot training course will
attend the workshop and give a vision from their side:
Carmel Vaisman (Israel), Ahmed Youssry (Egypt), Stephen
Spillane (Ireland), Majd Beltaji (Palestine).

It should be fun.

Its now time to head for the Opening Ceremony which will be happening in half an hour!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]