Intercultural Innovation Hub in Action: Capacity-Building Workshop in São Paulo, Brazil Expands Grassroots Impact of Recipient Organizations

  • The Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) – an initiative of UNAOC and the BMW Group, with the support of Accenture – connects people and cultures, empowers grassroots organizations and elevates intercultural innovation.
  • A second in-person capacity-building workshop was hosted in São Paulo, Brazil, following a series of online and offline sessions as part of the IIH comprehensive support programme.
  • Participants include representatives of global grassroots initiatives from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, and Mexico that are recipients of the current edition.
  • The workshop featured various training sessions, reflections with IIH alumni from Brazil and key stakeholder visits.

São Paulo, Brazil, 28 March 2024 — After a series of interactive discussions and training sessions as part of its holistic support programme, the second in-person capacity-building workshop for recipients of the current edition of the Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) took place in São Paulo, Brazil from 17 to 22 March 2024. Hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, with the support of Accenture, the workshop addressed key topics such as sustainable funding strategy as well as leadership and culture, among other relevant themes. It also provided a space for participants to reflect on the value of the Hub in strengthening their capacities and expanding the impact of their projects.

The workshop focused on global grassroots initiatives that were honoured in May 2023 at a ceremony held in Berlin, Germany. Since their selection, representatives from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, and Mexico have participated in various training sessions designed to bolster the capacities of their respective organizations and improve the long-term impact of their projects, allowing them to sustainably expand and replicate their initiatives in other contexts.

“This has been a transformative experience. It has allowed me to scale my work by providing financial support and expert mentoring to tackle some of our most pressing issues. It also connected me with a group of global changemakers. This recognition has played a pivotal role in our growth,” underscored IIH recipient Lynn Malkawi, Founder and Director of the Jordanian organization Wasel for Awareness and Education.

The workshop featured a visit to Mais Diferenças – a current IIH recipient organization based in São Paulo – during which participants learned about their “Literature in Multiple Formats” initiative and its efforts to provide inclusive and accessible reading resources for individuals of all abilities. The IIH recipients also interacted with alumni from previous editions of IIH from Brazil, including those from organizations such as Politize!, Usina da Imaginação and Vaga Lume Association, who shed light on their challenges, lessons learned, and their approaches to sustainability and innovation. Over the course of the week-long workshop, participants also learned more about the work, mandates, and activities of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Global Compact during visits to their São Paulo offices.

“Being part of the Hub has been an invaluable opportunity for collaboration, learning, and growth,” said Alba Carrasco, CEO of Fundación Ixcanul, which is based in Guatemala. “It has also allowed us to connect with a global network of individuals and institutions committed to promoting intercultural dialogue and generating positive impact.”

The São Paulo workshop was part of a year-long tailor-made comprehensive support package provided to IIH recipients. Since their selection, recipients engaged in a series of intensive virtual and face-to-face trainings, including an in-person workshop in Munich that focused on the topics of organizational development strategy, sustainable project scaling, as well as pitching and effective storytelling.

Established in 2011, IIH is a prime example of the essential role that corporate social responsibility plays within the framework of the United Nations. UNAOC and the BMW Group, with the support of Accenture, jointly mobilize their resources, time, and networks to support the IIH recipients. As each partner contributes their unique knowledge to ensure the long-term success of each project, this partnership approach has proven to achieve greater impact.

For more information about the Intercultural Innovation Hub, please visit

Additional quotes from current IIH recipients:

“The Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) has surpassed my expectations. It connects inspirational nonprofit leaders and provides exceptional support and guidance. IIH has been a transformative experience for me and our organization, and we are now part of a dedicated alumni network committed to global changemaking.” — Aleem Ali (Australia), CEO of Welcoming Australia

“The Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) has supported our work in two main ways — first through ongoing capacity-building, and second, and equally as important as the first, by connecting us with a cohort of leaders who are thought partners. My only hope is that we truly stay engaged as alumni and keep growing together.” — Hela Lahar (Israel), CEO of Tech2Peace

“We are in a place where we can grow sustainably at a quicker pace than at any other time in our history, and that is largely down to the support and guidance of the Intercultural Innovation Hub.” — Jonathan Hamilton (Indonesia), Founder and CEO of Inspire

“The Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) creates a space for people from all over the world who prove that terms like ‘like-minded’, ‘passionate’ and ‘dedication’ can be so much more than hollow phrases. A space to support and encourage each other, develop ideas, project and missions together to make the world a more just place.” — Martha Dudzinski (Germany), Managing Partner of SWANS Initiative

“The Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) has integrated me into an international community of changemakers that support and uplift each other. Being part of the Hub has paved the way to new opportunities for collaboration.” — Gabriela de la Torre (México), Director of Programa Adopte un Talento (PAUTA)

“Through an exceptional combination of training, expert support, funding, and exchanges with peers from all over the world, the Intercultural Innovation Hub (IIH) has been decisive for the institutional strengthening of my organization and for my development as a professional.” — Thaís Martins (Brazil), Advocacy Coordinator of Mais Diferenças