2010: Highlights and activities

Public contribution to the consultation on the European Commission's EU 2020 strategy

On 15 January 2010, the ICLS submitted to the European Commission its comments on the strategy working document entitled EU 2020, intending to positively contribute to collective thinking and finding solutions for some of the main challenges facing Europe. The basic EC text can be seen on http://ec.europa.eu/eu2020/ Our submitted, and constructively critical, comments read: Click here

Continuing participation in structured dialogue with the European Commission

The ICLS continued its engagement in the Active European Citizenship Group (AECG), following up on its lead role in the work done within the Working Group on the Follow Up of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

Contribution to the European Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, 2010

The ICLS through its own means and within its own competence has since its beginnings been working for social inclusion and cooperation between all population groups living in shared spaces within the Union. The following activities under the highlights of the year 2010 are contributions in themselves to the EY CPSE 2010.

Micro Cosmo Interculturale, East London (Tower Hamlets)

The ICLS was one of the 12 original winners (and the only one from the EU) of the Youth Solidarity Fund of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, selected from 530 applicants from 99 countries around the world. The UN contribution enabled the ICLS to carry out the Micro Cosmos Intercultural (MCI) pilot project in East London in April 2010.

The objectives of the MCI project were twofold: 1. Developing a local intercultural leadership pool of 15 - 20 young people (17 were selected and participated) from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds who will contribute to better-informed decision-making on, and implementation of good governance of local diversity. 2. Running this activity as a pilot project for an international implementation of the Micro Cosmos of Civilization (MCC) programme as endorsed President Sampaio, High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

With the excellent partnership of the Tower Hamlets-based PRAXIS Community Projects (Praxis) and with the support of a number of London-based organizations and the British Council, the ICLS intercultural seminar with 17 young adult participants was successfully held in London, between 25 and 29 April 2010. The results of the MCI East London project were reported back to the Third Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Rio de Janeiro, on 28-29 May 2010. Following the seminar, the alumni formed the ICLS London Network of Trust (LNT) and with the logistical support of Praxis, they started to carry out different community projects. The most important follow up project to the MCI was the London POP, or London Public Opinion Party, that was held on 10 July 2010 in Tower Hamlets, London and in which the LNT members played an important role (see below).

The London POP (Public Opinion Party): Follow up to the ICLS parallel event at the Copenhagen Climate Conference of December 2009

The ICLS, at its own parallel event of the Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15), with strong support from the European Environment Agency and Jo Leinen, Member of the European Parliament (EP), Head of the EP Delegation to COP15 and Chairman of the EP Environment Committee (watch video on YouTube), launched the call for "Partnership for a Good Climate in Society and Nature" (text here).

On 10 July 2010, our partner in the MCI project, Praxis organized in a park next to the Museum of Childhood the New Voices Festival, celebrating the diversity of Tower Hamlets. That was the framework of the London POP. LNT members in tee-shirts saying London Public Opinion Party and the ICLS logo on the front, "London POP is the POP of the world" on the back, circulated in sweltering heath among the 6500 guests of the Festival, distributing leaflets, having one on one conversations with local residents. Finally, hiding from the heat, a sitting-in-the-grass conversation was held under the trees about the subject of the London POP between local residents and ICLS alumni and staff.

International dissemination of the ICLS methodology and partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

President Sampaio's office invited the ICLS to submit a major project proposal to be incorporated in the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) Regional Strategy on Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation for the Mediterranean, with a timeframe stretching till 2015. The ICLS submitted to the Alliance its proposal entitled Mediterranean Network of Trust project (MCC - Med). The project is focusing on 6 European Union cities of diversity and Jerusalem with the double aim of setting up or expanding local Networks of Trust and linking them together in a Mediterranean Network of Trust.

The proposal was well received and President Sampaio in his letter acknowledged the ICLS as an important partner for the Mediterranean Regional Strategy of the Alliance.

United Nations Summer School at Aveiro University, Portugal

In preparation for this partnership, the ICLS was invited by the Alliance to hold sessions and discuss current and future ICLS work at the 1st UNAOC Summer School at the University of Aveiro, 15-21 August 2010. More than 100 young leaders attended the Summer School, from 44 countries of the world. Among them, participants came from 12 EU countries (British, Bulgarian, Dutch, French, Greek, Irish, Italian, Maltese, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian and Spanish). Two alumni from the ICLS London Network of Trust held their own sessions, too.

UN Mediterranean Regional Strategy

The success of the ICLS at Aveiro also triggered an invitation to the Malta Conference on 9 November 2010 where government representatives formally adopted the UNAOC Regional Strategy for the Mediterranean and its Action Plan. The ICLS President was the last speaker in the closing plenary before President Sampaio and the Maltese host closed the conference.

Cooperation with the European Parliament

The ICLS, on the basis of our Mediterranean initiatives, has been regularly attending sessions of the interdisciplinary Working Group on the Middle East of the European Parliament, chaired by former EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering.

The EP Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) invited the ICLS to hold a session at the Third Training Seminar for Young Political Leaders from Israel, Palestine and the EU on 18 November 2010 at the EP in Brussels. The ICLS representative, presenting a new way of looking at the possible resolution of the Middle East conflict, was the only speaker who did not come from one of the European Institutions. Next to the Palestinian and Israeli young leaders, Italian, German, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Slovenian and Belgian participants were also present at the seminar and since then with some of them new possibilities of cooperation have been evolving.