are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
How individuals perceive others is often determined by cultural
backgrounds, socio-political, ideological and religious frameworks.
Such perceptions, one of the other, often come to be culturally
embedded, laden with misleading content and images reaching beyond
standardised mental pictures of individuals. Often they result
in misunderstandings of ethnic, racial, religious and national
groupings, causing social resentments. Such misunderstandings
can generate misconceptions at four levels which percolate across
national frontiers: Western perceptions of Arabic lifestyles;
Arabic perceptions of Western lifestyles; Western reactions to
Arabic perceptions of Western lifestyles; Arabic reactions to
Western perceptions of Arabic lifestyles.
This conference aimed at an understanding of the dynamics causing social misconceptions of Arabic 'alterity' and seeked to set models for social transformations based on understanding differences without discrimination or prejudice. In collaboration with the Arab Sociological Association in Tunis and the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme of UNESCO, EUMENESS planned this conference to set up a structure for policy recommendations to promote early education teaching-tools in combating social prejudices between the North and South shores of the Mediterranean.
The proceedings of this conference inspired Volume 11, No.1 of the
"Journal of Mediterranean Studies: History,
Culture and Society in the Mediterranean World." which addressed
problems of stereotypes and their effects in the context of the Mediterranean
as a means to comprehend the wider problematic of "getting along"
and coexistence in the region. It is published by the Mediterranean Institute,
University of Malta.
Who is the Other? by Corinne Vella, The Sunday Times, December 7, 1997
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