MINELRES: ICFMI Announcement: NGO Meeting on Tolerance Promotion, 26 September 2006

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Jul 9 11:52:43 2006


Original sender: Nadir Kamaladdinov <nadir_kamaladdinov@hotmail.com>


Dear Colleagues,

International Caucasus Foundation on Minority Issues (ICFMI) on
September 26, 2006 will conduct one day Caucasus NGO meeting on
Promoting Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Ethnic
Understanding. Please find agenda bellow. Previously to this meeting
will be conducted two day Youth Training: Role of Culture in Tolerance
Education.

For registration on the NGO Meeting please contact to Nadir Kamaladdinov
by e-mail:
nadir_kamaladdinov@hotmail.com or phone: +99450 2016076. 

Registration deadline: 15 August 2006

Purpose of the Meeting

- To give NGOs an opportunity to exchange information, share best
practices and formulate recommendations for international organizations;
- To explore the role of civil society and especially of youth
organizations in facilitating inter-cultural, inter-faith and
inter-ethnic understanding and in particular their role in preventing
conflicts and promoting 
reconciliation, as well as in promoting tolerance in public discourse;
- To facilitate coalition-building across diverse cultural and religious
communities and civil society groups.

Agenda of the Meeting

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome and opening remarks

9:30 – 11:00

Session I: The role of civil society in facilitating inter-cultural, 
inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue as a mechanism for conflict 
prevention and post-conflict reconciliation

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:45

Session II: The role of civil society in supporting inter-cultural, 
inter-faith and inter-ethnic partnerships as a tool to counter
stereotypes and prejudice and to promote mutual respect and
understanding in public and political discourse

12:45 – 14:00 Luncheon

14:00 – 15:30

Session III: Beyond inter-cultural, inter-faith and inter-ethnic 
partnerships: Coalition building as a way to promote tolerance in 
multicultural societies

15: 30 – 15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:15

Session IV: The way forward: The role of youth in promoting dialogue and
understanding in multicultural societies

17:15 – 18:30 – Closing Session: Recommendations



ANNOTATED AGENDA

Session I: The role of civil society in facilitating inter-cultural, 
inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue as a mechanism for conflict 
prevention and post-conflict reconciliation

The field of conflict is a catchall for the broader field of conflict 
prevention efforts, peace-building measures, reconciliation initiatives, 
conflict management and transformation work. One of the main assumptions
of the actors in this field is that fear and prejudice lead people to
enter violent conflicts, conflict resolution can be learned; distortions
can be redressed through better communication and confidence building
measures. In this regard, dialogue is considered as a remedy, if not the
classical one, to prevent conflicts and to heal torn societies. Session
I should offer the opportunity to explore and to assess the impact of
dialogue in conflict situations. Furthermore, since inter-cultural,
inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue is strengthened when States
foster the existence of tolerant and equitable relations in the States,
this session should give delegates the opportunity to review the way
public authorities and civil society organizations interplay in this
area.

Questions that could be addressed:

- What kind of activities are a part of “dialogue” initiatives? How can
their success be measured?
- What is the impact of projects based on dialogue on good governance?
How do they interplay with institutional change?
- Which role is expected by local and international leaders? Which
responsibilities do State institutions have?
- How is the UN, CoE and OSCE integrating a gender perspective in its
conflict prevention work? Are there sufficient measures designed and
implemented to empower women in the conflict prevention and crisis
management processes?
- How can the co-operation between governments and civil society
organizations be strengthened in order to incorporate insights from the
grass-root level into conflict prevention and crisis management
policies?
- How can the international community support States to fulfill their
commitments?

Session II: The role of civil society in supporting inter-cultural, 
inter-faith and inter-ethnic partnerships as a tool to counter
stereotypes and prejudice and to promote mutual respect and
understanding in public and political discourse

There is an increasing awareness about the link between intolerant 
rhetorical elements in mainstream public discourse and manifestations of 
violence towards groups and individuals perceived as different from the 
majority society. The threat posed by intolerant discourse and images
has been acknowledged by the States who committed themselves to:

- consistently and unequivocally speak out against acts and
manifestations of hate, particularly in political discourse and work in
favor of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding;
- reject the identification of terrorism and violent extremism with any
religion or belief, culture, ethnic group, nationality or race;
- consider developing, in close co-operation with civil society,
concrete measures which do not endanger freedom of information and
expression, in order to counter xenophobic stereotypes, intolerance and
discrimination in the media and to encourage programmes to educate
children and youth about prejudice or bias they may encounter in the
media or on the Internet.

Questions that could be addressed:

- How can the public space be shared in order to respect freedom of
expressions as well as respect for the values of diversity and
intercultural and inter-faith societies?
- What role can political, religious and minority leaders play to
promote values of tolerance, mutual respect and non-discrimination?
- What responsibilities do public leaders have to speak out against acts
motivated by hatred, including violence and the dissemination of hate
speech?
- What role is there for NGOs in regards to the promotion of pluralism
in the Media as well as ethical standards in journalism?
- What can the international organizations do to assist the States in
their efforts to combat intolerance and discriminatory attitudes in the
public sphere?

Session III: Beyond inter-cultural, inter-faith and inter-ethnic 
partnerships: Coalition building as a way to promote tolerance in 
multicultural societies

Inter-group dialogue can lead to the building of partnerships on
specific issues between ethnic minorities, religious communities,
cultural groups or groups with similar objectives and interests. The
assets of coalitions are well known: knowledge and expertise can be
transferred, resources can be pooled, creativity can be fostered and
mutual support can be given. The challenges faced by organizations
engaging in strategic partnerships can be at least as big as the
positive effects. The implementation of daily “dialogue in practice”
implies that particular interests of the community are left aside,
common goals are defined, values are challenged and differences are
acknowledged and respected. This session should be oriented on the
presentation of stories of coalition building efforts, if they are
successful or not and were obstacles were identified.

Questions that could be addressed:

- Which pre-conditions were favorable to achieve successful coalition
building?
- Which structure was chosen to allow constructive cooperation?
- Were mutual agreements made before concrete cooperation started?
- How did public authorities and decision makers react to coalition
building of communities?
- What was achieved collectively and which added value did communities
draw for their own work?
- How can the international organizations support the establishment and
the development of coalitions?

Session IV: The way forward: The role of youth in promoting dialogue and 
understanding in multicultural societies

Since youth is the driving force of future development, the
international organizations recognized the specific role to grant to
education and exchange. The States stressed indeed that their “efforts
will be targeted at the younger generation in order to build up their
understanding of the need for tolerance and then importance of
reconciliation and peaceful coexistence”. Therefore the participating
States committed themselves to
- Promote educational programmes for combating Anti-Semitism;
- Promote and enhance, as appropriate, educational programmes for
fostering tolerance and combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination;
- Encourage the establishment of programmes to educate children and
youth about expression motivated by racism, xenophobic, anti-Semitic or
other related bias they may encounter on the Internet;
- Promote youth exchange

Youth should also not only be the target of tolerance education
programmes. In particular the efficiency of work done by youth
organizations and networks in the combat against racism, anti-Semitism,
discrimination against Muslims and other forms of intolerance should be
highlighted.

Questions that could be addressed:

- Which kind of initiatives is started by youth? Do youth encounter
specific problems when implementing projects?
- What is the added value of initiatives emanating from youth?
- Which kind of support do these initiatives need from the international
organizations and from States?
- How can youth organizations be better involved in the activities of
the International organizations against intolerance and discrimination?

For Further infomration contact:

Nadir Kamaladdinov,

Director of International Caucasus Foundation on Minority Issues (ICFMI)
Address: 121-82, Mir-Jalal St, Baku City, 370147, Azerbaijan Republic
Phone: +99450 2016076, +99450 3288326
Phone/Fax: +99412 4683839
E-mail:
nadir_kamaladdinov@hotmail.com

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