2011 Highlights

The 2011 work programme of the ICLS indicated seven areas of activities:

  1. Launching the Mediterranean Network of Trust programme;
  2. In European cities of diversity, continuing activities with ICLS alumni and other partners;
  3. Connecting and cooperating with young leaders from European countries;
  4. Taking an active part in the EACG Working Group on Consultation with European citizens
  5. ‘Valorisation’ and dissemination of results of ICLS work;
  6. Participation by the ICLS in the Platform for Intercultural Europe;
  7. Consultations on exploring possibilities of training on civic diplomacy skills in Europe.

Among the many activities carried out under the above headings, the following aspects can be highlighted:

In Colle Val d’Elsa, Siena area, Seminar in the framework of the Mediterranean Network of Trust: An intercultural seminar was organized by the ICLS in cooperation with, and with the financial support of INTERCULTURA, a CSO specializing in placing youngsters with families abroad. The seminar involved 20 young people from the Province of Siena, and using the ICLS methodology helped them reflect on the intercultural dialogue principles, in an area where the recent building of a Mosque has created considerable tension and media attention.

In Brussels, European Parliament, in December, Seminar for Young Leaders from Israel, Palestine and the EU: ICLS representatives held the first session of the 4 day long seminar with 23 participants who came to Brussels at the invitation of the President of the EP. Both from the young Palestinian and Israeli leaders and organisers positive feedback and high interest was expressed in the ICLS and its use in the Middle East as part of the Mediterranean Network of Trust.

In Bradford, in July, Valorisation/ dissemination of results: a UK Government sponsored project called ‚Near Neighbours’ will be carrying out activities  based on the ICLS methodology in four selected ‘difficult’ areas of diversity in England, where a three year work programme has been initiated. The ICLS methodology will be utilised to train a cadre of young intercultural leaders in these cities. An ICLS board member is the company secretary of the Near Neighbours initiative. It is an example of multiplication of our work by third actors.

Evaluation report commissioned by the ICLS to assess, through questioning / interviewing alumni and organisers, the 10 year impact of the ICLS in Bradford where our work started. The final report is expected by April 2012 and planned to be presented at a hearing in the House of Lords in June 2012.

In Brussels, at the European Commission, in March and June, EC Working Group on Consultation: The ICLS presented a working paper to the Working Group on citizens political participation, and for a better understanding of European citizens’ street protests (indignados, Wütburger) and whether tools of direct democracy could help bridging the gap between citizens and their institutions.

In Brussels, in June, in the framework of the Platform for Intercultural Europe’s annual Forum, the ICLS methodology was presented to representatives of a European network of organizations, members of PIE, who have  a common focus on social cohesion, promoting culture and intercultural dialogue. This was done through practical exercises and role-playing, and represents a further step towards the dissemination of the ICLS methodology to a wider audience of practitioners.

See the report of the Forum on the Platform’s website here

Consultations continued throughout the year on refining the ICLS methodology to adapt it to new and diverse audiences, further developing the concept of civic diplomacy.