MDI at UNAOC Global Forum: Dialogue with Ourselves PDF Print

Dates: 26-28 February 2013

Country: Austria, Vienna

pesic at unaoc viennaDuring the 5th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), the heads of states and many other prominent personalities, decision-makers and experts have discussed Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue.

Leaders from around the world, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, conducted closed door meetings to address current global issues such as Syria, Mali, Israel-Palestine, and the future of sustainable development.

One of the participants at the Global Forum was the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Executive Director, Milica Pesic.

It is a great opportunity to share experience and views with people who are convicted, just as we are, that diversity is a value. Diversity is a value that every society can benefit from when it is managed with care and respect. But the sad thing is that we are having a dialogue with our selves. Only 'converted' are present here", said MDI's Executive Director at the UNAOC Global Forum.

The media and cultural industries have enormous responsibility in promoting cultural diversity by shaping the perceptions of present and future generations. The topic of Diversity of Media Content was disccussed from two perspectives: first, the role of governments in ensuring that a sufficient variety of information, opinions and programmes disseminated by the media is available to the public and second, best practices developed by the media industry towards boosting support for cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.

Video footage of other sessions during the 5th UNAOC Global Forum can be viewed here.

Global Forum outcomes included the Vienna Declaration, a document affirming the commitment of numerous governments and international organizations from around the world to advancing cross-cultural dialogue.

Austrian Foreign Minister Spindelegger saw the document as a unique opportunity “to further the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, so that it remains high on the global political agenda."

Outlining his vision to make the Alliance more active in addressing acute interethnic and inter-religious tensions, the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Al-Nasser, stated:“We will strive to use the tools at our disposal in the difficult settings around the world. We will not shy away from them.”

The Intercultural Innovation Award

unaoc viennaThe part of the UNAOC Global Forum is The Intercultural Innovation Award supported by BMW Group. Designed to contribute towards social stability and economic growth in multicultural societies, the Award is given to innovative grassroots projects promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding.

During Tuesday’s night award ceremony in Viennese UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Mexico based Puerta Joven as the top winner of the 2012 Intercultural Innovation Award.

In the programme “Language of Youth”, Puerta Joven brought together indigenous youth groups who are discriminated because of their cultural identity or language. Their Lenguas Jóvenes (Languages of Youth) program fosters youth cultural expressions through mobile phones for intercultural dialogue. Professional filmmakers visit schools and community centers teaching young beneficiaries how to use creative tools found in mobile phones to develop short films. The project has been developed in eight different cities in Mexico and will be replicated in Guatemala. Puerta Joven has received 50,000 US dollars as a part of the Intercultural Innovation Award.

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Placido Domingo has also attended the ceremony in Vienna to congratulate all the winners.