United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and BMW Group Announce the Ten Awardees of the 2017 Intercultural Innovation Award

  • More than 1,300 applications from 130 countries were received. The ten awardees have been selected across five continents.
  • Given the tremendous success of the initiative, the BMW Group and United Nations Alliance of Civilizations have decided to renew the partnership for another four years.
  • This year, the Intercultural Innovation Award Ceremony has been held for the first time at United Nations headquarters in New York. In her video message, Ms. Amina Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General welcomed the commitment of this partnership aimed to achieve a safer, more sustainable, equitable and prosperous world for all.

New York – 29 November 2017 — The United Nations headquarters played host for the first time to the Intercultural Innovation Award Ceremony. The ten awarded organizations were celebrated for their work in the presence of ambassadors and high-level UN officials.

In her video message, Ms. Amina Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General said “In 2011 the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group established the Award to support intercultural dialogue and civil society.” and welcomed the commitment of this partnership. ”it is essential to achieving a safer, more sustainable, equitable and prosperous world for all”, Ms. Mohammed said.

“The ceremony is the first step in a constructive process where we work with the BMW Group to assist recipients in expanding and amplifying their impact,” said Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. “At UNAOC, supporting grassroots initiatives that are deeply committed to promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding lies at the core of our work. Through the Intercultural Innovation Award and our collaboration with BMW Group, we foster initiatives that address these issues in new ways. We are very proud of the positive outcome of this public-private partnership and remain committed to working with the corporate sector and civil society to achieve our ultimate goal of building inclusive societies.”

Throughout a one-year support period, the selected projects can reap the benefit of resources provided by the BMW Group and UNAOC. In addition to receiving financial grants and increased visibility, awardees will have the opportunity to participate in training activities as well as to become a part of the exclusive “Intercultural Leaders” network, a skills and knowledge sharing platform for civil society organizations and young leaders. This model of collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector creates deeper impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project.

“With activities in over 140 countries and associates in every corner of the globe, intercultural dialogue is crucial to our everyday operations and a key part of our company’s identity. Therefore, the BMW Group’s conception of the Intercultural Innovation Award with support from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations beginning in 2011 was of particular significance for us,” said Bill McAndrews, Vice President BMW Group Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications. “Now, six years later, with 51 awardees and over 1.2 million beneficiaries to date, we remain as committed as ever to fostering social innovators all over the world. Today, we are proud to announce that our collaboration with the UNAOC has been renewed for another four years. We are pleased to move forward with this strong partnership and to continue helping grassroots initiatives flourish, together.”

This year, first place went to the Pakistan Youth Alliance for their Peace Rickshaws Project. Using auto-rickshaws as a canvas, messages of tolerance and interfaith harmony are shared in the pop art style, sparking conversations about peace in the streets. The project was successfully implemented in Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city, and will now be replicated in Lahore.

Other awardees by ranking include:

2nd place: Etijah (Egypt) – Safarni

Safarni designs and facilitates “Simulated Travel Adventures” for children with little exposure to diversity, to embrace and connect with cultures. The “Simulated Travel Adventures” takes place over 8-weeks where children can play, dance, eat and interact with locals from around the world.

3rd place: Community Relations In Schools (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Buddy Up!

‘Buddy Up!’ is an inter-generational school-based peacebuilding programme working in one of Northern Ireland’s most divided areas. The project features a partnership between a Protestant school and a Catholic school, engaging 3-4 year old children, their parents and families.

4th place: Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (Ecuador) – Awakkuna

Knitting groups are created within indigenous communities, to produce scientifically accurate and culturally important Amazon animals as toys. In this way, cultural and scientific knowledge is shared, to create an understanding of indigenous communities and their natural environment.

5th place: Interfaith Mediation Center (Nigeria) – Transforming pastoralist-farmer conflict in Nigeria

The conflict between farmers and pastoralists has strong ethno-religious dimensions, requiring the involvement of Muslim and Christian faith leaders to co-initiate and co-facilitate a process of intercultural dialogue. This project creates a positive feedback loop in which intercultural cooperation enhances livelihood collaboration and improves the rural economy.

Honourable mentions include:

Encontrarse en la Diversidad (Argentina) – Encontrarse en la Diversidad (Meeting in Diversity)

Encontrarse en la Diversidad was established in response to the lack of awareness about discrimination in Argentina. It aims at building mechanisms for effective education on these issues, particularly through engaging teens and young adults with methodologies that speak to their sensibilities.

Games for Peace (Israel) – Play2Talk

Play2Talk aims to reduce stereotypes and promote tolerance between children in Israel through the use of online video games. Virtual trust-building encounters are organized on a weekly basis using the multiplayer video game Minecraft. This eventuates in face-to-face encounters between participants facilitated by Games for Peace.

Media Focus on Africa Uganda (Uganda) – Yat Madit: The Crossroads Project

The Crossroads Project promotes alternative ways of resolving conflict among communities in northern and north-eastern Uganda. Yat Madit, a television and radio drama series, was designed and produced by the organization, based on real life experiences in the region. Intercultural dialogue sessions are held following the series being aired nationally.

Te Kaihau Education Trust (New Zealand) – Global Enterprise Experience

The motivation of the Global Enterprise Experience is to develop future global leaders skilled in managing across cultures and countries with world views that are worlds apart. The experience engages multinational teams of eight students to work together via the web to develop business concept proposals on profitable products and services that will foster social wellbeing

Young Leaders Entrepreneurs (Tunisia) – Unleash Tunisia Venture Bus

The Venture Bus is equipped to tour the country with the aim of spreading peace education and entrepreneurship among vulnerable youth in remote areas. The bus provides economic empowerment by pushing youth at the brink of extremism to start their own entrepreneurial projects.

In case of enquiries please contact:

Milena Pighi
BMW Group, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility
Telephone: +49-89-382-66563

Alessandro Girola
UNAOC, Programming Coordinator
Telephone: +1- 929-274-6217