BMW Group and United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Announce Finalists for the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award

Since 2011, UNAOC and the BMW Group have engaged in a historic partnership geared towards creating a new model for collaboration between societies and people with different cultural backgrounds. To that end, the two organizations established the Intercultural Innovation Award whose mandate is to select the highly innovative grassroots and sustainable projects of non-profit organisations that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding, while making vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies.

This year’s project finalists come from all over the world, representing countries across six continents. The many different regions they come from underline the importance of the Intercultural Innovation Award and its commitment to the worldwide promotion of intercultural diversity and understanding.

The eleven finalists will present their projects within the framework of the 6th Global Forum of the UNAOC in Bali, Indonesia in the presence of heads of state, ministers, the media and civil society organisations. The official award ceremony will take place on 28 August and will be chaired by President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Bill McAndrews, Head of Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“We often focus our attention on conflicts and suffering, which is necessary. But we also need space for hope and enthusiasm. The Intercultural Innovation Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate those who believe that a more cohesive and inclusive world is not only possible, but also indispensable” Al-Nasser said. “For that purpose, we are deeply committed to our partnership with the BMW Group”, he added.

“The BMW Group regards intercultural competence as being an absolutely essential factor. As a company with associates from around the globe, intercultural understanding is a vital part of our daily work at the BMW Group,” said Bill McAndrews. “This is why we are very pleased to partner with UNAOC in the Intercultural Innovation Award and to support organizations that innovate in the field of intercultural dialogue and cooperation.”

During one year, the selected projects can reap the benefit of expertise and resources from the BMW Group and the UNAOC. The aim is to increase the long-term effect and sustainability of the projects and help them expand and replicate in other contexts. In addition to receiving a financial reward, the finalists will have the opportunity to participate in training activities and workshops covering the most diverse subjects such as further development, financial sustainability and marketing. The workshops are carried out by experienced trainers and employees of the BMW Group.

In addition, all finalists will be admitted to the “Intercultural Leaders” group, an exclusive online platform for the exchange of competence and knowledge among leaders committed to fostering intercultural understanding and respect.

This year, due to a tie, there are 11 project finalists instead of ten. This year’s finalists include:

Africa e Mediterraneo – ComiX4= Comics for Equality (Italy)
Using comics, Africa e Mediterraneo  fosters intercultural awareness and understanding in a creative way. The comics tell the stories of immigrants and the experiences made by immigrated comic-strip artists.

All Together Now – Everyday Racism (Australia)
Everyday Racism is an App for smartphones raising intercultural awareness and understanding. Users of the App adopt the role of persons who are faced with prejudices and racial discrimination in their daily routine. As the game develops, users gain a better understanding of the situation in which culturally disadvantaged groups find themselves.

Arcenciel – A Circus School in the Service of Intercultural Dialogue (Lebanon)
Within the framework of a circus workshop, Arcenciel encourages the exchange, dialogue and cooperation among youths from different cultural backgrounds in the Lebanon and helps socially deprived and marginalised young people gain a foothold in society.

Association for Cultural Child and Youth Education in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt – Equal for Equal (Germany)
Equal for Equal is a project focusing on the equality of women the world over and encourages women to tell their personal stories on the subject of discrimination. The stories are published on an online platform, enabling mutual exchange.

Department of Culture and Leisure, Municipality of Simrishamn – More Than One Story (Sweden)
More Than One Story is an innovative card came which brings together people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures. The game helps to weaken prejudices and has proved to increase mutual understanding.

Fundación CONSTRUIR – Intercultural Dialogue and Plural Justice: Strengthening Indigenous Justice (Bolivia)
With its project,  Fundación CONSTRUIR organisation is committed to sustainably strengthening the rights of indigenous people in Bolivia by contributing towards building a multicultural vision of the law, both in state authorities and indigenous authorities.

Manav Seva Sansthan “SEVA” – Facilitating Informed and Safe Migration among Vulnerable Nepalese Migrants along the Indo-Nepal Border (India)
The organisation SEVA’s project aims to provide efficient help to migrants in the regions along the Indian-Nepalese border and to promote their rights, thereby counteracting long-standing problems in this region such as human trafficking, illegal immigration and a lack of intercultural awareness.

Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC) – Ordinary Heroes (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Ordinary Heroes is a project that tells the stories of ordinary people who were outstandingly courageous during the conflict between Bosnia and Herzegovina and stood up for peace and reconciliation. The PCRC uses the stories of “ordinary heroes” to encourage young people to build intercultural understanding and courage.

Wapikoni mobile – International Network of Aboriginal Audiovisual Creation (Canada)
Wapikoni mobile strengthens the case of Canada’s young indigenous people. Workshops are held in which First Nation filmmakers are given the opportunity to shoot short films which tell their personal story and focus on cultural identity.

Welcoming America – Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative (USA)
Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative is a project supporting American cities and regions to create an amicable and attractive environment for immigrants. Specially designed Welcome Plans are used to attract the most diverse talents and creative minds.

Youth Service Organization (YSO) – Intercultural Dialogue Awareness Rising For Cooperation (IDARC) (Rwanda)
The project initiated by YSO fosters intercultural dialogue amongst the people of Rwanda. YSO focuses on the long-standing tradition of dance and music in Rwanda, providing the people with a creative platform to express their thoughts and ideas.