Policies for Stable and Cohesive Society
Monday, 08 December 2014
On 07 May 2008 in Strasbourg was held the 118th Ministerial Session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe ending with the launch of "White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue".
The document is the result of a hard work and an extensive and lengthy consultation with member states, civil society organisations, religious communities, migrant communities, local and regional authorities, etc.
The main message of the White Paper is that intercultural dialogue is impossible without a clear reference to universal values - democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The White Paper is a "work in progress" - a new step on the road towards a new social and cultural model adapted to a fastchanging Europe and equally fast-changing world.
Seven years later, the questions marked in the White Paper are still valid and their answers are more evident than ever: "Managing Europe's increasing cultural diversity - rooted in the history of our continent and enhanced by globalisation - in a democratic manner has become a priority in recent years. How shall we respond to diversity? What is our vision of the society of the future? Is it a society of segregated communities, marked at best by the coexistence of majorities and minorities with differentiated rights and responsibilities, loosely bound together by mutual ignorance and stereotypes? Or is it a vibrant and open society without discrimination, benefiting us all, marked by the inclusion of all residents in full respect of their human rights? The Council of Europe believes that respect for, and promotion of, cultural diversity on the basis of the values on which the Organisation is built are essential conditions for the development of societies based on solidarity."
Along with the comments on the universal values "human rights", "democracy", "the rule of law", the Council of Europe and the participants in the debate presented their point of view regarding other key terms in the "conversation" on intercultural dialogue. Those are related with dignity, mutual respect, gender equality, religious dimensions. The document provides for five approaches for advancing intercultural dialogue in the education field, including informal education, family environment, spaces for communication and the international relations. In conclusion, the White Paper proposes recommendations for future actions and shared responsibility of governments and citizens for achievement of cohesive societies.
The full text of the document can be accessed here.
This publication is made within the scope of the project "Unlock the Treasures". Its aim is to provide information for transnational, national, municipal or civic initiatives and practices that have led to better understanding of the idea of intercultural dialogue and the right of cultural expression and belonging regarded as fundamental human rights.
This publication is produced with the financial support of the EU and Republic of Turkey. Association "Platform AGORA" is responsible for the content of this document and can in no way be interpreted as the opinion of the EU or the Republic of Turkey.