Intersectoral Platform on Contributing to the Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures and a Culture of Peace

This Platform builds on UNESCO’s long-standing efforts to strengthen dialogue among civilizations and cultures. Based on its many years of experience with far-reaching dialogue initiatives such as the ‘Routes of Dialogue’ and the ‘General Histories’ projects, the Organization has systematically fine-tuned its approach to dialogue and has adapted methodologies and focus to take into account shifts in the international context.

The Platform group members have developed an action plan, involving activities and contributions from all Sectors. As this is a new intersectoral structure, the group defined strategies for four key objectives. These have realistically attainable results to be achieved by the end of the 2008-2009 biennium, while maintaining clear links and transitions to UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy. The four objectives are: the promotion and exploitation of the Regional Histories; the development of inter-cultural skills; engaging new voices in interfaith dialogue and other spiritual traditions; the media and dialogue.

One Platform initiative involves a transversal reading of different Histories from the general Histories pro-ject through the prism of intercultural dialogue. Another initiative is to undertake a survey of the state of the art regarding existing intercultural skills necessary for "living together". This exercise also comprises an investigation of less-known intercultural skills, such as traditional practices, that constitute competencies for intercultural dialogue in various cultures; It will also focus on the issue of gender-based violence in schools and its educational and psychological consequences.

Dialogue is essential for effective sharing of water resources. Preparations for journalists training to be conducted at the World Water Forum in 2009 are underway, mobilizing the Science and Communication and Information Sectors. A partnership opportunity has now emerged with the University of Miami, which this year produced a critical documentary called "One Water," that could be made available as a training tool and for screening at the conference.

The Platform’s action plan complements the recently-initiated collaboration with the Alliance of Civilizations. A Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and AOC signed in January 2008 outlines specific areas for the development of joint projects and activities for which the mobilization of financial resources will also strengthen the Platform and its implementation.

Contact: Ann-Belinda Preis, Senior Programme Specialist, Bureau of Strategic Planning Dialogue