UNESCO Regional Forum “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding”
A Regional Forum “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding” will take place in Moscow, Russian Federation on 19-20 November 2013. To be held three days after the International Day for Tolerance that it will celebrate, the Forum aims at creating a Regional Platform for a Multi-Stakeholder Policy Research Dialogue, which includes the medias on the promotion of mutual understanding in multicultural societies through social inclusion policies.
Even if the need for social inclusion and social integration has always been part of society building, the rapid pace of social change, economic transformation, migration and other major dislocations of populations make the issue more urgent than ever today. Creating an inclusive society for all has become recognized as a moral and legal obligation – one that must reflect the commitments to upholding fundamental human rights and principles of equality and equity. Building inclusive societies is indeed needed. It is a long-term commitment from the international community and particularly from UNESCO, which has made it one of the priority themes of its Management of Social Transformations (MOST) program for 2012-2013.
There are also strong instrumental reasons for promoting social inclusion and integration in the Community of Independent States (CIS) and Eastern European countries, facing a large inflow of migrants. Deep disparities, based on unequal distribution of wealth and/or differences in people’s backgrounds, may reduce social mobility and ultimately create a negative impact on growth, productivity and well-being of society as a whole. Promoting social inclusion and integration will create a society that is safer, more stable and more just for women and men alike, which is an essential condition for sustainable economic growth and development.
Organized by the UNESCO Office in Moscow, in collaboration with the “Etnosfera” Centre for cross cultural education and the UNESCO Chair at the Moscow Institute of Open Education, and with the support and the participation of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Moscow-City Department of Education and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the Regional Forum “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding” will be entirely devoted to the building of inclusive societies, in particular for foreign migrants and non-native ethnical groups, with a specific focus on young girls and women.
It will be articulate around two major roundtables: the first one will address the theme of “Social Inclusion of the Children of Migrants”, while the second one will explore the role of journalists and mass-media in social inclusion.
The roundtable on migrants’ children will gather representatives of governmental institutions, journalists; academic community and civil society, amongst whom policy makers; educational bodies and institutions; UNESCO Chairs and Associated Schools; experts and scientists from CIS and Eastern Europe countries; but also representatives from International and Intergovernmental Organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, World Bank and the European Council. The main objective will be to discuss the current social inclusion policies and educational programmes for inclusion of migrants’ children, the regulatory framework and international practice for social inclusion through education, and also the scientific and methodological support which could be offer by researchers to policy makers in these fields.
The roundtable for journalists, both specialists and non-specialists of the subject, will be an opportunity to discuss the role of the mass-media in developing and monitoring policies that promote social inclusion of all groups in society, especially women, young women and men, persons living with disabilities and migrants. It will also be an opportunity to analyze the best ways of informing the public on the social inclusion as a way to promote intercultural dialogue and share the best experiences and challenges.
In addition, an exhibition of manuals and methodological materials on intercultural dialogue, and several related events will be arranged during the Forum to mark the 2013 International Day for Tolerance, amongst which the official award ceremony of an International Contest” of educational projects on the integration of migrants and ethnic groups entitled “Dialogue as a Way to Understanding”. The objective of this competition was to exchange innovative experiences and practices between Moscow and other regions in the Russian Federation as well as with other countries, in the areas of cultural, linguistic, social and psychological adaptation and integration of migrants. Among the participants were numerous teachers and senior students, as well as educational institutions and NGOs from the Russian Federation and CIS countries working on the issues.
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