At Sixth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, UNAOC and BMW Group announce 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award Winners

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group announced the rankings for 11 finalists of the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) on the eve of the Sixth Global Forum of the UNAOC. All finalists will be awarded support to help their project grow.

More than 1,200 participants representing Heads of States, Governments and Foreign Ministers, members of the Alliance Group of Friends will conclude two days of discussions with the announcement of the Bali Declaration which endorses practical steps aimed at fostering dialogue and understanding, promoting religious tolerance and respect of the other – aims that are in line with the objectives of the Intercultural Innovation Award.

The Intercultural Innovation Award, jointly given by UNAOC in partnership with BMW Group since 2011, recognizes non-profit organizations worldwide for their innovative, grassroots programmes which contribute to dialogue, understanding, and acceptance of diversity among differing cultural, ethnic, and religious groups.

First prize of $40,000 went to the Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC) – Bosnia and Herzegovina for its “Ordinary Heroes” retrospective recalling individual acts of moral courage responsible for saving lives during times of ethnic violence and genocide worldwide as an inspiration for dialogue leading to understanding and individual acceptance of differences.

In his award ceremony remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon lauded the creative efforts of the IIA winners citing them as contributors to global peace and prosperity. The heads of state, dignitaries, representatives of civil society organizations worldwide, and media present for the ceremony had the opportunity to see and hear for themselves the “who, what, when, where and how” of that creativity along with impact of each of the award winner project as covered in videos narrated by the 11 finalists.

UNAOC and BMW Group received a total of more than 600 entries from grassroots organizations worldwide, narrowing that group to a shortlist of 25 for review by a jury composed of scholars, practitioners and representatives of the award partners themselves. An important criteria for each of the finalists was the potential of programmes to scale up and be replicated successfully elsewhere.

After the ceremony, joint chairs President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, offered their views on the commitments of their respective organizations in a relationship which is an historic first for both.

“The Intercultural Innovation Award is a unique example of the Alliance’s mandate to bridge cultural and religious borders and to foster understanding,” said President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

“BMW Group’s commitment to the awardees extends beyond financial support to include every relevant resource we can offer,” said Mr. McAndrews. “This can make the crucial difference in turning an idea into a practice that enriches peoples’ lives.”

The finalists share monetary awards totalling $100,500, including the $40,000 prize to the top winner. All finalists receive a year-long programme of managerial, marketing and other consulting help tailored to their unique needs, principally from UNAOC and BMW Group.

In addition, all finalists become members of the “Intercultural Leaders” group with access to an exclusive online exchange platform and knowledge base for leaders committed to fostering intercultural understanding and respect.

UNAOC and BMW Group honoured each of the IIA finalists by ranking:

Second – All Together Now – Everyday Racism (Australia)
An app for smart phones exposes users to prejudice and racial discrimination on personal terms as experienced by culturally disadvantaged groups in their daily routine

Third – Manav Seva Sansthan “SEVA” – Facilitating Informed and Safe Migration among Vulnerable Nepalese Migrants along the Indo-Nepal Border (India)
SEVA’s project aims to provide efficient help to migrants, to promote their rights, and to prevent human trafficking, illegal immigration

Fourth – Welcoming America – Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative (USA)
Specially designed Welcome Plans create amicable and attractive environments as location incentives for talented immigrant arrivals

Fifth – Arcenciel – A Circus School in the Service of Intercultural Dialogue (Lebanon)
Within the framework of a circus workshop, socially deprived and marginalised young people from differing cultural backgrounds achieve mutual understanding, respect through dialogue and cooperation

Honourable mentions include in alphabetical order:

Africa e Mediterraneo – ComiX4= Comics for Equality (Italy)
Immigrant comic-strip artists tell their personal stories

Association for Cultural Child and Youth Education in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt – Equal for Equal (Germany)
Women tell their personal stories on the subject of discrimination. The stories are published on an online platform

Department of Culture and Leisure, Municipality of Simrishamn – More Than One Story (Sweden)
Players of an innovative card game tell a story based on the subject depicted on the card drawn. Listening to others, players report themselves changed, finding new respect for those of different from themselves and victims of prejudice

Fundación CONSTRUIR – Intercultural Dialogue and Plural Justice: Strengthening Indigenous Justice (Bolivia)
Aims to support the rights of indigenous people by contributing towards building a multicultural vision of the law comprised of state authorities and indigenous authorities

Wapikoni mobile – International Network of Aboriginal Audiovisual Creation (Canada)
Workshops afford First Nation filmmakers an opportunity to produce short films telling their personal story with a focus on cultural identity

Youth Service Organization (YSO) – Intercultural Dialogue Awareness Rising For Cooperation (IDARC) (Rwanda)
YSO focuses on Rwanda’s long-standing tradition of dance and music as a creative platform for participants to express their thoughts and ideas