|Exploring Intercultural Dialogue - The European Year for Intercultural dialogue|
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The European Year for Intercultural Dialogue
2008 was the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue. The Year aimed to promote Intercultural Dialogue and to raise general awareness of the importance of developing an ‘active European citizenship’. The key messages were targeted at young people but also the disadvantaged. Civil Society is in general encouraged to mobilise and get involved. Each country had a national coordinating body, and the civil society sector was coordinated through the Rainbow Platform (now the Platform for Intercultural Europe). The budget for the year was 10 million, which focused on 7 flagship projects, the co-financing of a number of national projects, an information and awareness raising campaign and finally evaluation. Note that European Years generally promote an issue in the public eye; support relevant public organisations and NGOs in their work; and provide limited resources for some trans-national work at European level. Recent Years have concentrated more on raising the profile of the issue concerned, less on funding projects through dedicated budgets; they have rather sought to make their issue a funding priority in existing programmes. Dedicated budgets for recent European Years have been around €12 million between the Year itself and the preceding (preparatory) year.
The Civil Society Platform on Intercultural Dialogue - the Platform for Intercultural Europe - is an initiative that was originally set up to bring together organisations from different civil society policy sectors to ‘share effective Intercultural Dialogue practices and to engage with the political process under the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 and beyond’. The Platform was launched jointly by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and the Culture Action Europe / the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage at the end of 2006, and brought together over 200 European and national civil society organisations from a wide range of sectors (youth, culture, social affairs, life long learning, human rights etc). Culture Action Europe is coordinating the Platform. To know more about the Platform activities: www.intercultural-europe.org