UNESCO Regional Forum “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding”
On 19 and 20 November 2013, the Regional Forum “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding” took place in Moscow. It was dedicated to the International Day for Tolerance 2013. The purpose of the Forum was to organize a multilateral dialogue with the involvement of mass media promoting mutual understanding in multicultural societies through social inclusion policies.
The event was jointly organized by Etnosfera Centre for Cross-Cultural Education and UNESCO Chair on International Education and Integration of Migrant Children in School of the Moscow Institute of Open Education (MIOO), with the support of the UNESCO Moscow Office. The international experts from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia and Italy, the representatives of nineteen Russia’s regions took part in the Forum. Among the participants were teachers and heads of educational institutions, senior school and college students. These were the days during which the results of the 8th international contest of educational projects “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding” were summarized. The project was dedicated to integration of migrants and ethnic minorities and has been implemented by Etnosfera, MIOO, the Moscow Department of Education, the Federal Migration Service of Russia, and the Office of UNHCR.
On 19 November, Griboedov Gymnasium 1529 (Moscow) hosted the round table on Social Inclusion of Migrant Children through Education and Social Adaptation. The participants of the round table raised a wide range of issues related to the notion of inclusive education and its interpretation in different situations. They discussed the existing challenges in developing and introducing educational programmes for cultural and language adaptation and social integration of migrant children in general – children with special needs. Moreover, the Moscow expert in preschool educational institutions shared with the participants the Moscow experience of inclusive education focusing on integration of children who belong to different nationalities. The participants learnt more during their visit to some divisions of the Gymnasium for visually and hearing impaired children. The experts from Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the representatives of the International Organization for Migration and the Centre for Migration Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences highlighted the international practice of social integration in their reports and speeches.
On 20 November 2013 the Forum participants and guests continued learning about Moscow experience of inclusive education during their visits to School 282 and School 90, which implement programmes on adaptation and integration of children from families of international migrants. In the second half of the day one more round table was organized in Education Centre 1409 where journalists – representatives of specialized and non specialized mass media – were invited. The discussion was focused on the role of mass media in policy development and monitoring that contributes to social integration of all groups of the society, especially women, young people, disabled, and migrants. The international expert form Kazakhstan (one of the founders of the “Mir” Interstate Television and Radio Company) made a presentation where he analyzed the role of mass media in building cross-cultural dialogue and combating xenophobia. He also stressed their importance in exchanging best practices and resolving cross-ethnical conflicts. At the end of the day all winners of the 8th Contest “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding” received their awards.
The Forum participants agreed on the importance to provide comprehensive support to public authorities in implementing the policy of social integration and establishing the inclusive society for all. Such approach will contribute to the observance of human rights and principles of equality and equity that are particularly vital at the time of global mobility and active cross-cultural interaction.
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