Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport,
Youth and Environment
GR-C(2006)6 7 March 20061
Overview on Council of Europe action in interreligious and intercultural dialogue
Information document prepared by Directorate General IV
Bringing Intercultural Dialogue into Focus 2
Mainstreaming Intercultural Dialogue 3
The Repertory of Activities 2005-2006 4
Appendix 1: Repertory of Intercultural Dialogue Activities (October 2005 to February 2006) 5
Appendix 2: Planned Activities (March to December 2006) 11
Appendix 3 18
At their 956th meeting on 15 February 2006, the Ministers’ Deputies “instructed the Secretariat to prepare an overview of work under way within the Council of Europe in the area of interreligious and intercultural dialogue for examination by their Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment (GR-C) at its meeting on 7 March 2006, and subsequently by their Follow-up Committee on the Third Summit (CM-SUIVI3) at its meeting on 14 March 2006.”2
The instruction stands in the context of the controversy surrounding the caricatures of Prophet Mohammad, initially published in a Danish daily newspaper in September 2005, which in January and February 2006 led to violent unrest in parts of the Muslim world.3 The Committee of Ministers regarded it as necessary and timely to document and evaluate the various initiatives taken by the Council of Europe in the area of intercultural dialogue.
Bringing Intercultural Dialogue into Focus
Intercultural education, communication and understanding have been themes of international co-operation for some time now. However, the notions of a “dialogue among civilizations”4 and “intercultural dialogue” began to appear only recently on the political agenda of international organisations.5 Both concepts are clearly a response to the growing challenges of globalisation, massive migration flows and culturally (and sometimes religiously) induced conflicts within and between societies.
Within the Council of Europe framework, the conferences of European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs on their new role and responsibilities in initiating intercultural dialogue (Opatija/Croatia, 21-22 October 2003) and of European Education Ministers on “Intercultural education: managing diversity, strengthening democracy” (Athens, 11-12 November 2003) as well as the opening conference for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention of European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs (Wroclaw/Poland, 8-9 December 2004) promoted the integration of the concept into the policy of the Organisation.
The Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, May 2005) explicitly endorsed intercultural dialogue – together with political and interreligious dialogue – as a means of ensuring that the diversity of European cultures becomes a source of mutual enrichment, and committed itself to a new dialogue between Europe and its neighbouring regions – the southern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia. 6
The European Ministers responsible for Youth on “Human dignity and social cohesion: youth policy responses to violence” (Budapest, 23–24 September 2005), as well as the Kiev initiative resulting
from the 5th Ministerial Colloquy of the STAGE Project “Culture and Cultural Policies for Development”
(15-16 September 2005) continued and expanded the discussion of intercultural dialogue.
The following conference of European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs (Faro/Portugal,
27-28 October 2005) was a particularly important milestone in this process. Here, the Ministers adopted the “Faro Declaration” containing the Council of Europe strategy for developing intercultural dialogue.7 The document, which the Committee of Ministers welcomed at the 118th meeting in November 2005,8 places the strategy for the promotion of intercultural dialogue in the context of the overall remit of the Council of Europe to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, to strengthen social cohesion, peace and stability. The Declaration thus clears the ground for the “mainstreaming” of intercultural dialogue in all working areas of the Council of Europe.
The Faro Conference was also the occasion for the signing of three important agreements, which will shape the co-operation between the Council of Europe and other partners. The “Open Faro Platform” sets out a flexible mechanism for interaction with international partners in order to ensure an efficient and co-ordinated approach. The bilateral agreements which the Secretary General signed with the “Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures” and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) will enable the Council of Europe to work more intensively with countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
Mainstreaming Intercultural Dialogue
Since the Warsaw summit, and particularly following the adoption of the Faro Strategy, significant steps have been taken, on the one hand to broaden the approach to intercultural dialogue, and on the other to co-ordinate and converge the individual activities into a coherent policy.
All governments holding the Chair of the Committee of Ministers in the recent past have provided important support for activities promoting intercultural dialogue. The Secretariat wishes to express its gratitude particularly to the governments of Norway, Poland, Portugal and Romania.
The Committee of Ministers’ Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment
(GR-C), under the direction of CM-SUIVI3, is guiding the process and on various occasions has driven developments through exchanges of views with representatives of external partner organisations.9
The appointment of the General Director of DG IV as the “Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue” of the Council of Europe in late 2005 is another important step in this process.
Virtually all component parts of the Council of Europe now contribute to intercultural dialogue. One can distinguish six different levels of activity:
(1) Legal instruments that set certain standards for the interaction between majority and minority cultures, such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities or the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;
(2) Statutory activities like the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, or the reports of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), monitoring the quality of intercultural interaction;
(3) Long-term action programmes, e.g. those focussing on teacher training for intercultural learning and history teaching, inter-community relations (in the framework of the CDMG), the programme for the development of monitoring and communication tools of national programmes for Roma in South East Europe, or specific programmes run by the North-South Centre, the European Centre for Modern Languages and the two European Youth Centres of the Council of Europe;
(4) Distinct high-visibility initiatives like the Ministerial conference in Faro (2005), the 3rd Intercultural Forum (Bucharest, March 2006) or the forthcoming colloquy on intercultural and interreligious dialogue (Nizhniy Novgorod, 2006);
(5) Individual activities that are part of other programmes of activities but have a clear relevance for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, such as the “European Language Portfolio”;
(6) Ad hoc activities like meetings with representatives of non-European international organisations, which often lead the way to more structured programmes.
A few months after the approval of the Faro Strategy, the year 2006 must still be regarded as a transition phase on the way to a fully coherent policy and action. The Council of Europe’s “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue”, to be developed under the leadership of the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue in 2006 and expected to be published in 2007, will be an important step in the process of intellectual clarification and the “mainstreaming” of intercultural dialogue.
As the following repertory of activities shows, eight priority themes and approaches already emerge as the main components of the Council of Europe’s present action:
· The protection of human, political, social and cultural rights as a prerequisite of dialogue and understanding;
· The negative sanctioning of stereotyping and hate-inducing action;
· The fine-tuning of policies in order to respond to the need for a democratic management of cultural diversity;
· Collective efforts to arrive at shared interpretations of historical and political facts ;
· The promotion of interreligious dialogue and appropriate sharing of knowledge on religious facts;
· The promotion of cultural openness and other skills necessary to understand the contribution of “the other” to the building of our European identity;
· Measures to multiply the opportunities for direct encounters with, and exposure to, different cultures;
· Training activities for teachers, multipliers and young people.
The Repertory of Activities 2005-2006
The term “intercultural dialogue” is still only loosely defined.10 The distinction between activities that promote intercultural dialogue, and those that are “merely international”, may therefore often seem arbitrary and a matter of convention and semantics. However, the “Faro Declaration” does provide an operational definition of intercultural dialogue, its components and programmatic bases.
This report looks at all areas of Council of Europe activities that are covered by the “Faro Declaration”. However, in the absence of in-depth expert evaluation it cannot possibly do justice to the manifold effects that the various legal instruments and statutory activities have on the promotion of intercultural dialogue. Therefore, it concentrates rather on distinct activities that are part of dedicated action programmes or other programmes of activities, and possess a certain degree of visibility. Meetings of steering committees and preparatory meetings, although they may be important in the run-up to more visible activities, are not included.
For practical reasons the report also concentrates on activities that have either been realised since the adoption of the “Faro Declaration”, i.e. since October 2005 (Appendix 1), or are planned until the end of 2006 (Appendix 2).
The Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe both deal with certain aspects of intercultural dialogue in the framework of their own priorities and work programmes. A short overview is attached (Appendix 3).
It should be mentioned in this context that, as a follow-up measure to the Third Summit, the Secretary General has the intention to submit to the Committee of Ministers an annual report on the implementation of the Strategy for developing intercultural dialogue. These reports will cover all relevant policy areas and include recommendations for future action. The present document can therefore be seen as a first step, anticipating a more substantial, complete report to be produced at a later stage.
Repertory of Intercultural Dialogue Activities (October 2005 to February 2006)
Activities of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General
Both the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General play a major role in the promotion of intercultural dialogue.
The Secretary General attended various meetings that were relevant in this context. On 10 October 2005, he had an exchange of views with Mr Mongi Bousnina, Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) who visited the Council of Europe to discuss a possible framework for co-operation between the two organisations. There is now a programme for joint activities in areas such as heritage, history and language education and the EUROMED programme in the youth field.
On 27 October 2005, the Secretary General opened, together with the Minister of Culture of Portugal and representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Conference of European Ministers of Culture in Faro/Portugal. The conference adopted the “Faro Declaration” and took a number of important steps towards the implementation of the Warsaw Plan of Action in relation to intercultural dialogue.
On 7 November 2005, the Secretary General took part in a Ministerial Conference on the Child which was organised jointly by UNICEF, OIC and ISESCO in Rabat/Morocco as part of the follow-up to the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Children. The conference was a very useful opportunity to meet a number of senior representatives of UNICEF, OIC and ISESCO.
On 21 November 2005, the Secretary General received a courtesy visit by Father Hegumen Filaret, Priest of the Russian Orthodox Church in Strasbourg. Father Filaret delivered a letter from His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, expressing the wish for more involvement of his Church in interreligious dialogue within the Council of Europe.
The Deputy Secretary General attended the ceremony of the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe in Lisbon/Portugal on 21 November 2005. Pop star and charity campaigner Bob Geldof and Ethiopian women’s rights activist Bogaletch Gebre were the winners of the 2005 North-South Prize. The prize is awarded to two candidates who demonstrate strong commitment to and outstanding achievements in promoting human rights.
Activities of the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue
Based on the Warsaw Action Plan, and taking into account the “Faro Declaration”, the Secretary General has given the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue the following tasks:
· Organising the dialogue with neighbouring regions by developing working relations with the partner organisations of the “Faro Open Platform” and with other partners for intercultural dialogue, including civil society organisations;
· Monitoring (i.e. to follow and keep abreast of) intercultural activities in all sectors of the Council of Europe, in order to ensure that the results are presented as a coherent and comprehensive strategy;
· Recommending future action of the Council of Europe, in order to encourage activities promoting intercultural dialogue in all policy fields covered by the Council and to strengthen its profile;
· Coordinating transversal projects promoting intercultural dialogue, such as the production of the “White Paper on intercultural dialogue”;
· Collecting information on any other initiatives and activities in the framework of the Council of Europe, which may be of indirect relevance to the Co-ordinator’s terms of reference.
Following the adoption of the “Faro Strategy” at the end of 2005, the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue took steps to develop the programme of co-operation with UNESCO (in the framework of the newly created “Open Faro Platform”), ALECSO, and the “Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures”. The GR-C has been actively involved in these contacts.
Directorate General of Political Affairs
The Directorate of External and Multilateral Relations of DGAP regularly organises high-level meetings with the United Nations and its regional and specialised units; the tripartite meetings with the UN and OSCE; bilateral meetings with representatives of other international and regional organisations including the OSCE, OIC, the Arab League and the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Pact. DGAP also has meetings with high officials from non-member countries of the Council of Europe, particularly from the Mediterranean region and Asia.
The “Confidence-building Measures Programme” (CBM), created as a result of the 1993 Vienna Summit of the Council of Europe and managed by DGAP, aims at providing support to pilot-projects implemented by civil society partners of which the primary objective is the promotion of relations between different communities. Some CBM projects concerned interreligious dialogue. During the period under review, some 50 such projects were financed, covering fields such as human and minority rights, media, education, culture, youth, social cohesion, local and regional democracy and transborder co-operation. Geographical priorities of these DGAP civil society actions were South-East Europe, North and South Caucasus and Cyprus.
The Council of Europe and the international NGOs enjoying participatory status recently organised a forum on “Integration of Migrants in Europe: What role for NGOs?” (Messina/Italy, November 2005). “Culture, religion, education: successfully drawing cultures together” was one of the main themes.
The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe organised a number of dialogue and training events, among them:
· A “Workshop on migration: Financial transfers and co-development (Lisbon, 7-8 October 2005) in
co-operation with DG III;
· The “6th University on Youth and Development Global Youth Work Training Course” (Mollina/Spain,
13-19 October 2005)
· A symposium on “The role of European NGOs in the integration of migrants” in the Mediterranean Region Messina/Italy, 11-12 November 2005) in partnership with the Liaison Committee of INGOs of the CoE
Directorate General I – Legal Affairs
States Parties to the “European Charter for Regional or Minority languages” undertake to protect and promote the diversity and wealth of Europe’s cultural heritage and to promote the mutual understanding between all the linguistic groups of the country. In his most recent biennial report to the Parliamentary Assembly (October 2005), the Secretary General underlined that linguistic diversity is regressing everywhere in Europe, with only a few encouraging exceptions.
In addition to on-the-spot visits of experts (Cyprus in October 2005, Slovenia in December 2005, the UK between December 2005 and February 2006), DG I organised in Georgia an information seminar on the Charter (Tbilisi, 19 October 2005).
Directorate General II – Human Rights
In the framework of its programme of action on relations with civil society, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) organised a national Round Table in Warsaw on 8 November 2005 in order to discuss the findings of its third monitoring report on Poland released in June 2005. The issues debated included racism and xenophobia in public discourse and the public sphere, and combating racism and racial discrimination against Roma. In February 2006, ECRI published its third monitoring reports on Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Spain, examining phenomena of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in these countries and containing specific recommendations for dealing with the problems identified.
Following the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy (Kyiv, March 2005), the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) formed a Group of Specialists on freedom of expression and information in times of crisis. The terms of reference of the group also cover items relevant to intercultural dialogue.
Following the 5th European Ministerial Conference on Equality between Women and Men (Skopje, 2003), the Steering Committee on Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) set up a group of specialists. The group prepared a report on “The role of women and men in intercultural and interreligious dialogue for the prevention of conflict, for peace building and for democratisation”, which was published at the end of 2005. As a follow-up to this work, a recommendation on the role of women and men for conflict prevention and resolution and for peace building is currently being prepared.
Directorate General III – Social Cohesion
The Roma and Travellers Division of DG III translated into Croatian the report of the Council of Europe Seminar "Cultural identities of Roma, Gypsies, Travellers and related groups in Europe (Strasbourg, 15-16 September 2003). This meeting report – which exists already in English, Romani and soon in French – presents various aspects of Roma traditions and culture "Rromanipe(n)", analyses the differences and common points of the various groups (Roma, Kalé, Sinti, Beash, Ashkali, Egyptians, Travellers, Yenish, etc.), addresses prejudices and stereotypes from the majority society, and opens the debate about the standardisation or codication of the Romani language, as well as the official recognition of these groups at national and international levels. The Croatian version of this report has been introduced as an appendix in a publication called "Rromanipe(n): o kulturnom identitetu Roma" published by the European Commission and CARE.
DG III Roma and Travellers Division also translated into Romani the Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention adopted by the European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs in Opatija, Croatia, on 22 October 2003.
The text of this recommendation in English, French and Romani, as well as Roma and culture-related documents are available on the Roma and Travellers Division website:
The Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (DG I), DG III and the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) organised a public hearing on Romani (6 October 2005). The ERTF produced a position paper concerning Romani possible action by the Council of Europe, which was one of the first concrete activities since the signature of the partnership agreement between the ERTF and the Council of Europe.11
DG III also translated into Romani the “Opatija Declaration” on intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention, adopted by the European Ministers responsible for cultural affairs in 2003.
Directorate General IV – Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport
Directorate of School, Out-of-School and Higher Education
Several activities were realised as part of the “Management of cultural and religious diversity through education” programme. These included:
· An expert meeting on evaluation and assessment of the first stage of implementation of the cross-sectoral project in the Russian Federation (2-4 December 2005);
· A seminar on psycho-pedagogical assistance to teachers working in sensitive regions (24-25 November 2005), resulting in expert recommendations and a strategy for the management of cultural and religious diversity in education in the Russian Federation (which will shortly be presented to the Russian Ministry for consideration);
· Two seminars on the management of cultural and religious diversity through education/training and re-training of teachers for working in intercultural environments (Moscow, November and December 2005), which dealt with issues of modernisation of teacher training in the Russian Federation, at both federal and regional level;
· A seminar dealing with “Training of managers and civil servants for working in an intercultural environment” (10-11 October 2005) in the Russian Federation, giving particular emphasis to an assessment of the needs for specialised training opportunities in the area of intercultural competencies. A similar seminar on the “Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity in the Russian Far North” took place recently (February 2006).
In the area of language policy, one must mention the “Autobiography of key intercultural experiences”.
The project was promoted during the annual “European Language Portfolio” (ELP) seminar (Moscow,
29 September to 1 October 2005). The “Autobiography” is an extension of the ELP (itself launched in 2001 and used on a large scale), helping learners to reflect on not only their language learning but also their intercultural experiences; to assess their progress regularly; and to present their linguistic and intercultural profile to others.
In the area of teacher training, the History Education Division organised a seminar on “The use of interactive methods in teaching history in secondary and upper-secondary schools as part of intercultural dialogue” (Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina, 24-25 October 2005). It brought together twenty history educators and was aimed at discussing interactive methods and analysing history teaching concepts that could strengthen the reconciliation process at national, regional and European levels.
In November 2005, the same unit organised workshops on “The use of sources in teaching and learning history” in Nicosia/Cyprus. These brought together 120 history educators from all communities in Cyprus to discuss how different historical sources could be used when teaching history in schools; to examine interactive methods; and to analyse how to train such pupils’ skills as tolerance, open-mindedness and respect for others. The workshops were organised in co-operation with the “Association for Historical Dialogue and Research”.
As part of the “Education of Roma children in Europe” project, DG IV organised a meeting of authors of teaching material and history teachers in order to validate the pedagogical fact sheets in the field of Roma history (1-2 December 2005). These fact sheets, which implement several of the priorities set out in Recommendation (2000)4, help the training of educational staff, provide information and help to raise awareness, both among Roma and other interested users. The project is particularly targeted at teachers of culturally diversified classes, but the modules dealing with Roma history, language and culture can be used everywhere.
The Education Directorate organised a training programme for education professionals (teachers and teacher trainers) on “Multiculture, Plurilingualism and Democracy” (Malmö/Sweden, 11-16 December 2005). Addressed at head teachers, teachers and teacher trainers, the seminar provided participants with opportunities to look at different approaches to integration, multi-culture and linguistic diversity; to find concrete strategies and tools for training in intercultural communication and competence; and to discuss how best to create school environments which promote pupils’ opportunities to develop an identity of their own and allow them to freely express themselves. The event was co-organised by Uppsala University.
The Division for Citizenship and Human Rights Education continued its involvement with the “European Year of Citizenship Through Education” (EYCE). In this context, the following activities should be highlighted:
· A seminar on the “management of cultural and religious diversity through education/training” and re-training of teachers for working in intercultural environments (Moscow, 18-20 November 2005)
· A European colloquium on Citizenship through Education (Paris, 24-25 November 2005)
· A conference on “Human rights education - why is it important?” and the promotion of the Polish edition of “Compass” manual on human rights (Warsaw, 12 December 2005) in co-operation with DGAP.
Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage
The “Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society” was adopted on 13 October 2005 by the Committee of Ministers, and opened for signature on 27 October 2005 during the Conference of Ministers of Culture in Faro (Portugal). In its preamble, the document states that member states signatory to the Convention are “convinced of the soundness of the principle of heritage policies and educational initiatives which treat all cultural heritages equitably and so promote dialogue among cultures and religions”.12
The “Compendium Cultural Policy Online Information and Monitoring System”,13 co-ordinated by the Cultural Policies Division, entered a new phase in its development in late 2005 when issues of intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention were integrated into the database structure. For a number of countries, “Compendium” provides information on the main governmental bodies responsible for promoting intercultural dialogue; key documents and legislation; activities of public cultural institutions; the role of the media; activities of local authorities; national approaches to intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and cultural policies; examples of good practice; methodology papers; and links to ECRI and external web sites.
The STAGE project (“Support for Transition in the Arts in Greater Europe”), involving Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, encouraged an open, democratic and transparent approach to policy-making and cultural management, with a new modern relation between public authorities, the cultural sector and the civil society. It stimulated intercultural and interreligious dialogue between these three countries in a wider European framework, thus enhancing mutual understanding and democratic stability in the region. The project led to the development of new partnerships and mechanisms of cultural co-operation. It was phased out at the end of 2005 and will be followed up on a wider basis by the “Kyiv Initiative”.
As part of the “Regional Programme for the Cultural and Natural Heritage in South Caucasus”, DG IV has run a series of meetings promoting “Institutional Capacity Building and Management of Historic Cities” over recent months. The programme advocated the appropriate legal reforms for national institutions and municipalities entrusted with the management of historic towns in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The inter-ministerial working groups have made progress based on pilot projects, carried out principally in Armenia.
Under the “Regional Programme on Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage in South East Europe” (RPSEE), co-ordinated by the Technical Co-operation and Field Action Unit, a number of activities promoted intercultural dialogue within the region (both inter-institutional and inter-professional) and more intensive exchange between the region and the rest of Europe. The unit also continued working for the restoration of sites damaged in the March 2004 riots in Kosovo, carried out on the basis of the required dialogue between the representatives of the institutions concerned (UNMIK/PISG/Orthodox Church/Serbian Ministry).
The “Partial Agreement on the European Support Fund for the Co-Production and Distribution of Creative Cinematographic and Audio-Visual Works” (EURIMAGES) supports films capable of reflecting the multiple facets of European society and its common roots, and lends financial support to the cinematographic industry. In the framework of the sixth edition of the event “Heritage of Cinemas of Europe” (November 2005), which carried the title “Citizenship Education through European eyes”, the EURIMAGES-supported film “Va, vis et deviens” by Radu Mihaileanu received the Council of Europe Prize for Democratic Citizenship Education. In February 2006, the EURIMAGES-supported film "Grbavica" (a European co-production between Austria, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) by the Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic received the “Golden Bear” as the best film at the Berlin Film Festival. Both fims carried a strong intercultural message.
In October 2005, the Directorate published a “popularised” version of the “Opatija Declaration”, adopted in 2003 by the European Ministers responsible for cultural affairs and referring to their new role and responsibilities in initiating intercultural dialogue. The booklet is aimed at schools and the wider public, with a view to familiarise all those involved in intercultural dialogue and conflict-prevention at all levels with the Declaration. It is currently translated into a number of languages other than the official languages of the Council of Europe.
The publication “Culinary Cultures of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue”, produced within the framework of the 50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention, celebrates the notion of identity, diversity and dialogue from an everyday-cultural perspective and includes studies on the role of food culture for intercultural dialogue (exchange, tolerance, respect, understanding and involvement with “otherness”). It contains 40 contributions from member states. The book has already won several international awards.
Directorate of Youth and Sport
In recent months, the activities of the two European Youth Centres were increasingly focussing on the preparation of the European “All Different All Equal” European Youth Campaign for Diversity, Human Rights and Participation.
Particularly relevant was the symposium ''’ALL DIFFERENT - ALL EQUAL’: new challenges faced by young people in relation to racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and intolerance, ten years after the European youth campaign” (Strasbourg, 26-30 October 2005), which identified the main discrimination issues affecting young people in Europe today (racism, anti-Semitism, romaphobia/anti-gypsyism, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and the discrimination against people with disabilities – which the symposium coined as “abilism”. The participants also discussed the modern factors that influence the perception of these issues, namely terrorism, globalisation, nationalism and fascism. The symposium agreed on practical proposals concerning the preparation, organisation and programme of the “all different-all equal” campaign.
Commissioner for Human Rights
The Commissioner for Human Rights organised a Round Table on “Dialogue, Tolerance and Education: the concerted action of the Council of Europe and the Religious Communities” (Kazan/Russian Federation, 22-23 February 2006). The event concluded the series of annual seminars on the role played by the main European monotheist religions in the transmission and promotion of human rights, which the Commissioner had initiated in 1999. It was attended by about 60 experts from various backgrounds (representing churches, religious communities and members states; politicians and academics, including the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue of the Council of Europe). The two main topics of the seminar were the possible creation of a European religious education institute, teaching “religious fact”; and the possibility of establishing a Religious Advisory Board to the Council of Europe. The seminar closed with the adoption of conclusions, suggesting an examination of the possibility of establishing such institutions.
Planned Activities (March to December 2006)
Activities of the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue and other transversal activities
The Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit in Warsaw, the “Faro Declaration” and the 2006 Programme of Activities will ensure that intercultural dialogue remains a high priority for all components of the Council of Europe.
All three governments holding the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers during the year of 2006 (Romania, the Russian Federation and San Marino) have placed intercultural dialogue very high on the agenda of their Presidency programmes. Many of the activities described below are initiated, actively encouraged, planned and/or materially supported by these three member states.
The Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue of the Council of Europe, the Director General of DG IV, will take several initiatives during the year to expand and intensify co-operation with other international organisations at operational level in the field of intercultural dialogue, or with projects such as the “Alliance of Civilizations” initiative of the UN Secretary General, co-sponsored by the Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey. It is also expected that the “Open Faro Platform” will be joined by other organisations, including the “Anna Lindh Foundation” and ALECSO. The aim of all these contacts is the coordination of practical bilateral or multilateral programmes in a variety of areas, directly benefiting the citizens of Europe and the neighbouring regions.
The Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue is expected to start preparations for a “White Paper of the Council of Europe on Intercultural Dialogue”, which will be submitted to the Committee of Ministers in the second half of 2007 prior to the beginning of the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue” due to be proclaimed by the European Union (2008). The White Paper will formulate the long-term policy lines of the Organisation in this particular area, but it will also serve as a major reference document for action of the member states and at regional and local level.
Directorate General of Political Affairs
In January 2006, the Conference of INGOs adopted its multi-year framework programme 2006-2008. “Intercultural dialogue” and “North-south partnership” will be cross-sectoral themes for most of the ten thematic groupings. The Conference of INGOs is keen on intensifying this co-operation in order to contribute to the implementation of the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit.
Under the “Confidence-building Measures” Programme, providing assistance to pilot-projects implemented by civil society partners, some 40 such projects will continue to receive support. The programme will however be phased out in 2006.
The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe is planning a number of activities with relation to intercultural dialogue. Together with the youth programme of the Centre, which is developed in co-operation with DG IV especially in the framework of the “Partnership Agreement on Euro-Med Training”, one should mention:
· A conference on “Objectives 2010: the Mediterranean, a privileged area for the free circulation of people, ideas and audiovisual works” (Palermo, 29-30 April 2006) as part of the project “Reinforcement of strategies and mechanisms for intercultural dialogue”. The event looks at the fundamental role of the media in the construction of a Mediterranean space of knowledge, mutual understanding and dialogue. The press and TV networks belonging to the “Permanent Conference of the Audiovisual Mediterranean Operators” (COPEAM) are linked to the dialogue;
· A seminar on “The role of women as agents of democratic change in Southern Mediterranean countries” (Lisbon, 2-3 June 2006) as part of the project “Trans-Mediterranean platform on human rights, democratic governance and development”. The seminar looks at ways to improve political participation, bring about changes to the laws on personal status, foster the integration of women into processes of development;
· A conference on “Islam and Europe” (Lisbon, 16-17 June 2006) as part of the project “Reinforcement of strategies and mechanisms for intercultural dialogue”. The event will analyse the historical and current development of the dialogue between the Muslim countries of the southern Mediterranean (Maghreb and Mashrek) and Europe, and is expected to strengthen the motivation of Northern and Southern quadrilogue members to intensify dialogue.
Directorate General I – Legal Affairs
The Directorate General for Legal Affairs will continue to support the ratification or implementation of the “European Charter for Regional or Minority languages” by organising information seminars and technical working meetings. An on-the-spot visit to Hungary is scheduled for May 2006, and meetings will be organised in Serbia and Montenegro in spring 2006.
The Secretariat is currently envisaging to enhance its co-operation with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, in particular in the context of awareness-raising activities among various target groups (including minority language speakers, NGOs, local and regional authorities) to promote dialogue and tolerance.
Directorate General II – Human Rights
It is foreseen that ECRI will publish in May 2006 its third monitoring reports on Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg and the Russian Federation, examining phenomena of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in these countries and containing specific recommendations for dealing with the problems identified.
ECRI will organise a national Round Table in Madrid on 19 April 2006 in order to discuss the findings of its report on Spain released on 21 February 2006. A national Round Table will be organised in Copenhagen in June 2006 in order to discuss the findings of ECRI's report on Denmark which is expected to be published in May 2006. The national Round Tables planned for the second half of 2006 will take place in Croatia (September or October 2006) and in Italy (November 2006).
In November 2006, ECRI will organise in Strasbourg an ad hoc seminar on "The limits to freedom of expression”.
The Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC) is expected to debate proposals regarding the setting-up of a network to exchange information and to co-ordinate existing initiatives on media contributions to inter-cultural and interreligious dialogue, possibly linking the network to a wider forum for the regular review, in consultation with media professionals and other interested parties, of the question of the rights and responsibilities of the media and the working conditions of journalists in times of crisis. Another proposal to be discussed concerns a Council of Europe media award for outstanding contributions to conflict prevention or conflict resolution, understanding and dialogue.
Directorate General III – Social Cohesion
The “Social Cohesion Forum 2006”, on the topic of “Rethinking social policy in response to cultural, ethnic and religious diversity”, organised by DG III in co-operation with DG IV (Strasbourg, 9-10 November 2006) will look at the links between social policies and the cultural change in European societies as a result of migration. Topics include the relation between the welfare state, access to social rights and cultural diversity, and the impact of certain policy measures in the areas of the labour market, health, housing and family. The discussion will also refer to the inadequate representation of the diversity of interests in certain contexts, and corresponding deficits of the political process. The European Commission is co-financing the activity.
A new project on Roma in South East Europe will be carried out jointly by the European Commission and
DG III during 2006 and 2007. It focuses on training sessions on participative monitoring and evaluation for members of inter-ministerial commissions in charge of national programmes for Roma and/or Action Plans (Roma Decade, OSCE, etc.) and will launch a two-year awareness-raising campaign against Anti-Gypsyism in the countries concerned. The campaign is supposed to target “society at large” by addressing multipliers such as journalists, teachers in primary and secondary education, members and organizers of civil society organisations, or members of local and regional parliaments. The message will be two-fold:
· A cultural message: Roma culture is not a mystery; it can be understood and valued. Roma culture has a lot to teach non-Roma.
· A socio-political message: Roma have rights and aspirations like everybody else. Our society will gain by better respecting these rights and aspirations.
The awareness-raising campaign is expected to start in March 2006 and run until December 2007.
Follow-up events related to Roma culture are envisaged in 2006, including:
· A seminar on the Romani language with DG I and ERTF;
· A follow-up meeting on the “Cultural Identity of Roma”;
· Contribution from DG III and ERTF to various DG IV projects, such as the "Roma Cultural Route", the Project "Education of Roma Children" and the project concerning the harmonisation of teaching materials in the Romani language.
The feasibility of a Romani film festival to be organised in Strasbourg during the second half of 2006 is currently discussed between the Permanent Representation of Finland, DG III, DG IV, EURIMAGES and the European Roma and Travellers Forum.
Directorate General IV – Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport
Directorate of School, Out-of-School and Higher Education
The Higher Education and Research Division is planning a conference on the “Cultural Heritage and Academic values of the European University and the Attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area” (30 March – 1 April 2006). It will involve a number of participants from outside Europe. The conference is one of three addressing the relationship between the European Higher Education Area and other parts of the world. The conference is co-organised by the Holy See, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES.
The Council of Europe will also participate in the 2006 meeting of the ENIC and NARIC Networks, which constitute the main European forum for the development of policies concerning the recognition of higher education qualifications. Through the network of UNESCO regional committees, the ENIC Network interacts with other world regions. The agenda of the 2006 network meeting will comprise items on co-operation with other regions, particularly with the Mediterranean Region.
The European Centre for Modern Languages ECML in Graz/Austria (DG IV) continues its second medium-term programme “Languages for Social Cohesion – Language Education in a multilingual and multicultural Europe” with events throughout the year on the following themes:
· “Linguistic diversity and literacy in a global perspective”: To foster an intercultural dialogue and exchange of experience and developments between European and African countries; to examine the educational and cultural aspects of the management of mother-tongue literacy in African countries and migrant/minority language literacy in European societies;
· “Intercultural communication training in teacher education”: Training teacher educators to incorporate the theory and practice of intercultural communication in their teaching;
· “Language Educator Awareness”: Enriching language teacher education by including the skills needed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity;
· “Intercultural competence for professional mobility”: Developing strategies favouring intercultural sensitivity and mediation competencies in the field of language learning;
· “To get to know each other leads to better mutual understanding”: Interactive learning/teaching of intercultural competence.
Each project will give rise to a publication or CD-Rom containing practical material for use in language education.
The Division for the European Dimension of Education is planning the publication of a “Reference framework for educational policies in favour of Roma” as part of the “Education of Roma children in Europe” project. This publication contains a series of examples of measures aimed specifically at Roma, which may be considered as recommendations to the member states of the Council of Europe intended to promote and further the implementation of Recommendation (2000)4 at national level. It is aimed primarily at political decision-makers (education ministries, local authorities, politicians), but also at education professionals, civil society (associations, non-governmental organisations), Roma communities and all interested citizens.
Addressed at Roma/gypsy children of preschool age who have not attended nursery school and are neither ready nor mature enough to enter, and keep up with, the first level of primary school, is another publication, a “teaching kit” which DG IV plans to publish in September 2006. The role of the kit is to make a teaching tool available to children, thus offsetting partly the lack of books in Roma families; to work on the child’s imagination, receptiveness and cultural sensitivity; to provide scope for the child’s “intellectual” development; to prepare the child for starting school in the future and to instil a sense of citizenship. Roma parents will learn alongside their children, and will consequently be motivated to send them to school earlier.
In October 2006, the same unit is set to publish a “Guide of Roma school mediators”. In order to have a more comprehensive view on the situation of Roma mediators and assistants across Europe, a questionnaire had been sent in March 2005 to the educational authorities of member states and various Roma organisations and other NGOs working on Roma education. The results showed the need for further progress in the training provision for Roma mediators/assistants. The Guide will be a professional tool for the mediator; it will be structured in three main parts: job profile, practical recommendations and training modules. The use of people from the Roma community to act as school mediators/assistants, and help Roma children to obtain high-quality schooling on the basis of school/community dialogue and partnership, as advocated by Recommendation (2004)4, is now widely accepted.
The Division will also run a training programme for education professionals (teachers and teacher trainers) as part of the “Pestalozzi” Programme (Toledo/Spain, 8-12 May 2006). It intends to identify strategies and tools for training in intercultural communication and to examine the response of schools to integration, multi-culture and religious diversity. Participating head teachers, primary and secondary school teachers, teacher trainers and educational authorities will exchange experiences and obtain new practical skills in the teaching of religions in multicultural schools. Organising body is the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. In June 2006, the Division will run a similar programme for teachers and head teachers of vocational schools (Donaueschingen/Germany, 19-23 June 2006) in close co-operation with the regional Landesakademie für Fortbildung und Personalentwicklung an Schulen.
In June 2006, the Division for the European Dimension of Education (DG IV) is set to publish a guide on ''Religious diversity and intercultural education: a guide for schools” with the purpose to aid teachers and other education practitioners to address religious diversity based on respect for human rights and focus on the development of intercultural competence in the case of pupils with widely differing social, cultural and religious backgrounds. It includes examples of intercultural learning activities. The project has received strong financial support from the Ministry of Education of Norway.
The Division will also organise a seminar on “New approaches in teaching about conflicts in school history” (Moscow, April 2006). The seminar will look at teaching about conflicts in schools in the Russian Federation; analyse possibilities for using new methods and approaches; and to discuss ways to provide pupils with conflict resolution skills. Another seminar on “How to integrate mechanisms of intercultural dialogue when teaching history in a multicultural context” (St. Petersburg, June 2006) will look at the question how mechanisms of intercultural dialogue could be integrated when teaching history in a multicultural context; analyse methods which could be efficiently used when teaching about cultural diversity; and discuss the text of guidelines for teachers and teacher trainers on how to teach history in multicultural context for reconciliation and tolerance. Both events will be organised within the Joint Programme between the European Commission and the Council of Europe for the Russian Federation (Russia VIII).
As a follow-up to the series of workshops organised in Cyprus in 2005, the Division will organise - again in co-operation with the “Association for Historical Dialogue and Research” - a number of workshops on “The use of different historical sources in teaching cultural and social history of Cyprus” (June 2006). For the first time, the workshops will bring together about 100 history educators from all communities in Cyprus, to discuss topics on social and cultural history of Cyprus; to analyse how these topics could be integrated in teaching and learning process in schools across Cyprus and to look at ways to strengthen the reconciliation process through the curriculum. Mixed teams of trainers, representing different Cypriot communities, will animate the workshops.
As part of the project on “Intercultural dialogue and the image of the other in history teaching”, DG IV will also organise a two-part seminar on “Diversity of Images, common destiny: learning history in a multicultural society”. Its first part will look at “European world, Muslim world; encounters and interactions” (Strasbourg, September 2006); it is organised in co-operation with ALECSO, the “Anna Lindh Foundation”, UNESCO and possibly other organisations. Its aim is to take stock of encounters and interactions between the European world and the Muslim world, as they developed over centuries. The second (restricted) part is entitled “Diversity of origins and respect of memories: learning history of diversity and diversity of histories”. It aims at identifying the stakes and challenges posed to history teaching by the increasing multicultural dimension of our societies, particularly those linked to the diversity of religious, geographical or ethnic origins, ways of life, or memories related to certain events held by specific social groups. Both seminar parts will also be a preparation for a European symposium on these themes in 2007.
In the framework of the programme of co-operation activities between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation in the Chechen Republic, DG IV will also organise in November 2006 teacher training workshops on "How to respect a balance in teaching local, national and world history". The workshops will bring together 30 history educators from Chechnya as well as European trainers. The aim is to discuss methods and approaches in teaching sensitive issues, in particular, from recent history; and to analyse how to use multi-perspectivity in order to overcome contradictions in presentation of the same historical topics at regional and national levels.
The Final Conference on the interdisciplinary project “Intercultural dialogue though education: history teaching, languages policies, teaching about historical and cultural basis of world religions” is foreseen to take place in November 2006 in Moscow. The Conference will analyse the results of the project and will examine interdisciplinary approaches to help the teaching about cultural diversity. The event is expected to adopt the guidelines for teachers and teacher trainers on teaching history in a multicultural context for reconciliation and tolerance. The Conference will be organised within the Joint Programme between the European Commission and the Council of Europe for the Russian Federation (Russia VIII).
The Targeted co-operation and Assistance co-ordination Unit is planning a string of activities in the South Caucasus region, in co-operation with the European Union:
· an expert meeting on management of cultural and religious diversity through education in the Russian Federation (Meeting of Project Leaders - Cross Sectoral) (6 April 2006);
· the Second and Third Conference on management of cultural and religious diversity through education (South Caucasus), in May and November 2006;
· seminars on development of policy guidelines for management of cultural and religious diversity through education (June and September 2006);
· a seminar on “Education policy and Reform of teacher training system” (Second Seminar on intercultural and interfaith dialogue through education, 1 August 2006);
· an activity on democratic citizenship, intercultural and interfaith dialogue through education (15 September 2006) under the Joint Programme “Russia VIII”.
The Division for Citizenship and Human Rights Education is planning a “Transatlantic conference on Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC)” (Strasbourg, 6-8 December 2006) to explore the possibilities for deepening co-operation between Europe and the US in EDC. It is foreseen to invite about 160 participants from Europe, US and other regions (e.g. Mediterranean and South America), as well as international organisations and institutions. The conference will serve as a practical showcase for concepts, approaches and methods in the field of citizenship education. This event will also provide a forum for debate, with strong potential for mutual learning; for opening up new avenues; and for building synergies between partners in other regions. The US partner (“Center for Civic Education”) is strongly involved in education programmes internationally, including Europe.
Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage
An outstanding event of the annual work programme will be the 3rd Intercultural Forum, which in 2006 is focussing on the theme of “Promoting intercultural dialogue between generations” (Bucharest, 17-18 March 2006). The Forum, organised by DG IV within the framework of the Romanian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, will develop four main themes:
· educating young people for intercultural understanding;
· understanding the new cultural territories of young people;
· understanding the role of memory and identities in intercultural dialogue;
· developing intercultural understanding in young people in their daily life.
A session will be devoted to dialogue in practice, involving examples provided by young Romanian participants. The Forum will bring together 60-70 specialists from Council of Europe member states, international organisations and international non-governmental bodies. The “Japan Foundation” provides a financial contribution towards the organisation of this Forum.
In co-operation with the Russian chair of the Committee of Ministers, DG IV will organise a colloquy on “Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue” in Nizhniy Novgorod (September/October 2006). Proposed topics are the co-operation between civilisations; interreligious solidarity as an asset in the face of extremism; social or religious activities as part of civil society; diversity of cultures: challenges to unity or potential for sustainable development. The Colloquy could bring together a large number of specialists from the Russian Federation and Council of Europe member states, as well as national and international non-governmental organisations.
As a follow-up to the STAGE project and subject to approval by the Committee of Ministers, the “Kyiv Initiative” will gradually be developed in 2006. It aims at contributing, through cultural and heritage action and policies, to the development of democracy and dialogue in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. It is based on an integrated approach for sustainable cultural, economic and social development through cultural and heritage policies of territorial development, with a view to promoting dialogue, participation and respect for cultural diversity. Preparations will start through the setting up the institutional frameworks in each country as well as detailed action plans for the duration of the project (2006-2009).
Starting in 2006, the “Creating Cultural Capital” (CCC) Project assists in setting up Cultural Development Agencies, which promote local culture in international markets. Their key tasks are intercultural: skill development, development of export strategies and entrepreneurship, information exchange, development of data banks of cultural information. The activity will generate broad European intercultural exchange.
The “Regional Programme on Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage in South East Europe” (RPSEE) will continue with a number of activities promoting intercultural dialogue:
· The Belgrade Seminar (autumn 2006) on “The enhancement of cultural and natural heritage – a factor of sustainable development”. Like the previous seminar it will take a transversal approach involving the various policy sectors concerned by the seminar themes;
· Coordination meetings in Sarajevo and Karpathos will prepare a second participation at the Salone dei Beni e delle Attivita’ culturali (Venice, December 2006);
· Work on the restoration of sites damaged in the March 2004 riots in Kosovo carried out in continued dialogue between the representatives of the various institutions involved (UNMIK/PISG /Orthodox Church/Serbian institutions), working together for the common European heritage. This activity is also carried out jointly with the European Commission;
· Pilot projects in South-East Europe bringing together different ministries (culture, tourism, environment, urban planning) working together on the rehabilitation of the heritage. Albania and Montenegro have confirmed their participation in a joint project to be carried out in 2006 in the Skadar Lake region, which will focus on the participation of minorities present on these borders.
Directorate of Youth and Sport
Between June 2006 and September 2007, the Directorate of Youth and Sport (DG IV) will co-ordinate the new “All Different All Equal” European Youth Campaign for Diversity, Human Rights and Participation, which is part of the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit of the Council of Europe. During this campaign, national committees, national and international youth NGOs, and the Council of Europe will organise a string of highly visible, awareness-raising and capacity-building events at local, national and international level. The campaign will be an important opportunity to establish or renew co-operation with other civil society partners, private bodies and international organisations (for details see below).
Among the activities programmed until the end of 2006, the following should be mentioned:
· A long-term Training Course (LTTC) for leaders of youth organisations to support intercultural projects in the South Caucasus: projects developed within this scheme cover a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from the setting-up of a “House of Minorities” in one of the capitals, to translation of pedagogical material into Lesghian language; from a seminar between young refugees and local youth in Abkhazia to the promotion of cultural dialogue in the South of Georgia (visits scheduled for March 2006);
· A training course on religious diversity and human rights, for multipliers and youth leaders involved in inter-faith work on key issues related to religious diversity and human rights, including potentially controversial issues such as compatibility between human rights and religion, the role of secularism, etc. The multipliers trained through the course should become involved in related activities of the youth campaign (November 2006, subject to budgetary clearance);
· Study sessions on the fight against Islamophobia, one (March 2006) organised in co-operation with the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe and the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Students Organisations, the other (in June 2006) to be run in co-operation with ALECSO;
· A study session on the theme of “Young women’s role and contribution to interfaith dialogue in Europe”, organised in co-operation with the European Young Women’s Christian Association (April 2006), with the aim of producing a background policy document on the need for young women to take an active role in promoting interfaith dialogue as means to fostering peace and reconciliation;
· A study session “Generation Europe: all different – all equal”, organised in co-operation with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (October 2006), with the aim of raising awareness of Human Rights issues and providing know-how for projects at grassroots level;
· A training course for trainers in diversity and anti-racism (October 2006), aiming at training trainers active in the youth campaign on matters related to cultural diversity, minorities, anti-racism and intercultural learning;
· An Arab-euro training course for trainers in human rights education with young people (October 2006), to develop the competence of Arabic-speaking trainers in working with human rights education at national and regional level and to enable them to act as trainers or multipliers for human rights education using “Compass”.14 The course is run within the “Partnership on Youth” with the European Commission and in co-operation with the Swedish Institute in Alexandria;
· A regional workshop for trainers in human rights education with young people from the Middle East Region (March 2006), to develop the competence of trainers in working with human rights education at national and regional level and to enable them to act as trainers or multipliers for human rights education using “Compass” and other educational tools in the Middle East region. It is run within the “Partnership on Youth” with the European Commission and in co-operation with the “Princess Basthma Youth Resource Centre” and the “National Centre for Human Rights” in Amman/Jordan;
· A study session on “Human rights education as an approach to work on Roma youth issues”, in co-operation with the Forum of European Roma Young People (May 2006), which will bring together 35 Roma youth leaders and activists;
· The “Diversity Youth Forum” (October 2006), part of the “all equal all different” youth campaign, bringing together young people representing the diversity of minorities and majorities across Europe, and representatives of national campaign committees. Key issues will be diversity, human rights and participation from the point of view of young people;
· A seminar on “Russia-Europe/Europe-Russie; Overcoming stereotypes and prejudices: the role of youth NGOs” (November 2006), included in the framework agreement between the Youth sector of the Council of Europe and the Youth Department of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.
Activities of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is currently giving particular attention to the following subjects:
Reports are under preparation on blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech, on European Muslim communities confronted with extremism, on the image of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the media and on the situation of Turkish migrant workers in Europe.
Consideration is being given to follow-up to previous reports on religion and democracy (1999) and on education and religion (2005), with a report on relations between the state, religion and individuals.
In reaction to the cartoons affair, a current affairs debate on freedom of expression faced by religious and philosophical sensitivity is being proposed for the Standing Committee in Paris on 17 March 2006. This may lead to further hearings later in the year.
Activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
In February 2006, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe installed a reflection group to explore possible ways and means to manage cultural and religious diversity and promoting the interreligious and inter-cultural dialogue by local authorities, and to prepare a meeting on these themes later in the year. The reflection process relates to ways to establish trust between local authorities and groups concerned; the conditions conducive to dialogue, advice, exchange of information; targeted assistance to projects; organisation of intercultural and interreligious activities; the training of local interreligious councils; consultative structures; language training for migrants; and the involvement of local media. Points of reference for the Congress are its Recommendation 170 and the Resolution 2002 (2005) on “intercultural and inter-faith dialogue: initiatives and responsibilities of local authorities”.
In September 2006, the Congress will also continue its engagement for the development of “Cultural Routes” in South-East Europe, a project that is developed in co-operation particularly with the National Union of Prefectural Local Authorities of Greece (ENAE).
The Congress is preparing a colloquy on “Management of cultural and religious diversity and the promotion of inter-cultural and interreligious dialogue by local authorities”. It is proposed to hold this colloquy on 16-17 November 2006 in Montchanin/France (subject to confirmation by the Culture and Education Committee).
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 Document CM/Del/DEC(2006)956.
Note 3 Cf. the statement of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 6 February 2006, press release 062(2006).
Note 4 Decision of the UN General Assembly in 1998 to proclaim 2001 the UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.
Note 5 The terms begins to appear in Committee of Ministers documents in 2002.
Note 6 “Warsaw Declaration”, Document CM(2005)79 final. In the “Action Programme”, the Heads of State and Government pledged to “systematically encourage intercultural and inter-faith dialogue, based on universal human rights, as a means of promoting awareness, understanding, reconciliation and tolerance, as well as preventing conflicts and ensuring integration and the cohesion of society”; Document CM(2005)80 final.
Note 7 Document CM(2005)164.
Note 8 Communiqué of the 115th Session of the Committee of Ministers, document CM(2005)160 final
Note 9 The GR-C held an exchange of views with the Director of the UNESCO Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue on 19 January 2006. An exchange of views with the Director General of ALECSO is scheduled for the meeting on 7 March 2006, another with the Executive Director of the “Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures” on 4 May 2006.
Note 10 At their conference in Opatija/Croatia in October 2003, the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs adopted a “Declaration on intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention” that contains the following definition: “Intercultural dialogue: this term covers the tools used to promote and protect the concept of cultural democracy, and encompasses the tangible and intangible elements likely to foster all forms of cultural diversity, manifesting themselves in multiple identities, whether individual or collective, in changes and in new forms of cultural expression. Intercultural dialogue must extend to every possible element of culture, without exception, whether these be cultural in the strict sense or have a political, economic, social, philosophical or religious dimension. In this context, interfaith and interreligious dialogue must be viewed in terms of its cultural and social implications vis-à-vis the public sphere…” Document CM(2004)18, Appendix 1.
Note 11 The Forum urges institutions to use the word "Romani" instead of "Roma languages".
Note 12 Council of Europe Treaty Series – No. 199. To date (), eight member states have signed the Framework Convention.
Note 14 The Arabic version of this toolkit was published in 2005 by the Council of Europe in order to support the work of its non-governmental youth partners in Europe and in Arabic-speaking countries, particularly in relation to intercultural learning, intercultural dialogue and Euro-Med youth cooperation.