UNAOC and BMW Group Announce the 10 Finalists of the Intercultural Innovation Award and Celebrate 10 Years of Partnership

Dubai, 19 November 2021 – Ten global grassroots initiatives have been named finalists of the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award during an Awards Ceremony held last night at the German Pavilion of the Dubai EXPO 2020, within the margins of the thematic week on Tolerance and Inclusivity. A partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, and with the support of Accenture, the Intercultural Innovation Award supports grassroots initiatives that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding and contribute to peace, cultural diversity, and more inclusive societies.

The Awards Ceremony was chaired by the High Representative for UNAOC and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, and Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Human Resources at BMW Group. The Ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy – Minister of State for International Cooperation, Managing Director for the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and Member of the Higher Committee of Dubai Expo 2020, as well as His Excellency Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.

“As the Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) celebrates its 10-year anniversary, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group continue to collaborate to promote a more inclusive global community by strengthening grassroots initiatives that foster diverse and inclusive societies,” said Mr. Moratinos during his opening remarks. “Through the Intercultural Innovation Award and our partnership with the BMW Group, we support projects that address these issues in innovative ways. We are very proud of this ever-growing collaboration between UNAOC and the private sector, which has shown to amplify and strengthen the work of social innovators around the world. It is their commitment and visionary thinking that have given the UNAOC-BMW Group partnership such value and impact.”

“The Intercultural Innovation Award honors people and projects that promote diversity, tolerance and inclusion in a particularly creative way. These are the values that move us forward as a society and as a company. We are convinced that progress requires cohesion – that is what the BMW Group stands for. Together with UNAOC, we make a meaningful contribution to respectful dialogue,” said Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Human Resources at BMW Group.

This year, the selection process was highly competitive, with over 1,100 applications received from 120 countries. The ten award-winning organizations will share a financial grant of $200,000.

In addition to funding, the recipients of the Intercultural Innovation Award will benefit from capacity-building and mentoring from UNAOC and the BMW Group, with the support of Accenture, to help their projects expand and replicate to other contexts. They will also be invited to join the “Intercultural Leaders” network, a skill and knowledge-sharing platform for civil society organizations and young leaders.

Awardees include:

International Trustbuilding – Initiatives of Change International (Switzerland)
The Trustbuilding Programme prioritizes the needs of communities in conflict, which are working on transformation of their societies. They explore individual change and create safe spaces for community leaders and young people to have honest and open dialogues about uncomfortable issues that pose challenges to initiating positive change in one’s life, families and communities.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/international-trustbuilding/

Knitting a Better Future – La Cana, Productos con Causa (Mexico)
La Cana is a social enterprise that seeks to create fair employment and provide skills training for incarcerated women, enabling them to earn an income away from crime through the creation of high-quality products. Beyond creating handmade products, La Cana seeks to address social issues such as the lack of opportunities, low levels of education, and circumstances that lead women to become incarcerated as the result of being an accessory to a crime committed by men.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/knitting-a-better-future-la-cana/

Dialogue on the Human Fraternity Document – Mediterranean Youth Foundation (Egypt)
This project serves as the first youth dialogue in the world on the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, a joint statement signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. The document aims at discussing and promoting its principles to elevate human fraternity.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/dialogue-on-the-human-fraternity-document/

MITTI Café, Inclusion with Every Meal – MITTI Social Initiative Foundation (India)
MITTI Café implements inclusive cafes managed by persons with disabilities, that connect people, generate livelihoods and create awareness about inclusion through the medium of food. MITTI builds bridges by providing nutritious meals and generating livelihood for persons with disabilities which creates awareness about inclusion through natural interactions.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/mitti-cafe-inclusion-with-every-meal/

Arrival Advisor – PeaceGeeks Society (Canada)
Arrival Advisor connects refugees and immigrants to trusted settlement and service information so they can plan their settlement journey in Canada. Through technology and innovation and with many settlement services and resource centers closing in response to COVID-19, the Arrival Advisor app puts reliable information in the hands of newcomers directly.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/arrival-advisor-peacegeeks-society/

Emerging Leaders – PLACE Network (France)
PLACE was born in 2017 to enable newcomers (including refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants) to be credible leaders, influential contributors and active shapers of European host societies. The project creates a link between migration and innovation, by making visible and accelerating migrant-led innovation.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/emerging-leaders-place-network/

Politize! Ambassadors Program: Promoting Civic Empowerment for All – Politize! Civic Education Institute (Brazil)
Ambassadors Program Politize! provides knowledge, training and experiences to build a new generation of citizens aware and committed to democracy. The project selects thousands of young people every year to empower them to develop civic education workshops and public solutions for their own community’s issues, thus forming new civic leaders.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/politize-ambassadors-program/

Always Remember, Never Forget – Spielen in der Stadt (Germany)
Always Remember, Never Forget aims to make memories visible again in public places through physical presence and performances, to conquer cities in a reminiscent way and to further explore using the human body. This project invites people of every background to explore history through the body, offering simple but artistic, creative and performative approaches, such as dance, film and theatre.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/always-remember-never-forget/

Creative Youth Boot Camp: Art for Social Transformation – Street Project Foundation (Nigeria)
Creative Youth Boot Camp galvanizes young individuals from over 200 ethnic groups in Nigeria to co-create, using performing arts as a tool to confront social issues such as gender inequality, lack of inclusion, xenophobia, and violent extremism, plaguing the development of women, youths, and young people with disabilities. By deploying a human-centered approach called “reflection sessions”, young creatives are equipped with tools to unpack issues that threaten their existence.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/creative-youth-booth-camp/

SMART Advocates: For effective dialogue to address the grassroots conflicts – Strengthening Youth Leadership Collective (Sri Lanka)
SMART Advocates is designed to train individuals who have the passion to engage in effective advocacy to address the grassroot conflicts and to build a better Sri Lanka. By facilitating peacebuilding through visual storytelling, SMART Advocates aims to tackle socio-economic and environmental challenges. The core-objective is to bridge the gap between the communities and the local authorities to address these conflicts.
More info: https://interculturalinnovation.org/smart-advocates-sylc/

Media Inquiries:
– Ms. Milena Pighi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, BMW Group: Phone (Germany): +49-89-382-66563; Email: Milena.PA.Pighi@bmw.de
– Mr. Alessandro Girola, Programming Coordinator, UNAOC: Phone (USA): +1 (929) 274-6217; Email: alessandrog@unops.org