mercredi 15 octobre 2008

Theme chosen by Macif Foundation

Theme chosen by Macif Foundation : Intercultural dialogue and integration

Macif Foundation has been involved for several years in the issue of integration, through different programmes and actions.
First through its participation as partner in European projects:
- “Social economy and integration of young people coming from immigration in the European society”, a program supported by the DGEAC of the European Commission and leaded by the European Network of foundations for social economy,
- “Work for integration”, a programme supported by the European Commission and carried by the Italian trade union CGIL.

But also through its involvement at national level in awareness actions, the latest being a competition launched by Macif Foundation on the theme “Social economy, ethnic diversity and employment” for which an award ceremony will take place the November 27th 2008 in Paris.
Macif Foundation has benefited for several years from the support of partners within the Ministry for Immigration and Integration and also of the Acse (National Agency for social cohesion and equal opportunities), that have accompanied its initiatives for integration, fight against discrimination and diversity.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the three parties with the objective to improve commitments for integration and prevention of discriminations.

Macif, founder of the Macif Foundation is a mutual insurance company. De facto it belongs to social economy’s field. Its representative organisation is based on a three stage’s democracy. Its 4.700.000 corporate members elect 1899 regional delegates, who designate from among their members 144 national delegates constituting the General Assembly of the Mutual Insurance Company. It is among them that are also elected the administrators.
They are employees, independent professionals, employers, trade union activists from five representative confederations, associative activists, mutualism associates, cooperatives. Men and women all volunteers.
It is among Macif’s delegates that Macif Foundation envisages to constitute representative citizens’ groups of civil society, favouring in this way the principle of “crossed fertilization”. The actors to the meetings, who are experiences and proposals’ managers, could also be relay within institutions, trade unions, and civil society, of the initiated exchanges within speaking groups.

Macif Foundation, through the prism of social economy, plans to deal with theme of “intercultural dialogue and integration” on axis of social integration, but also on economic integration. Taking into account a fundamental idea expressed by the High Council for Integration in France, according to “in our society, reconnaissance of individuals is fundamentally based on work, main factor of integration”. Integration of new entrants, but also young people of disadvantaged districts and in particular young people coming from immigration, or also women coming from immigration.
Integration is not assimilation, it does not aim at reducing differences.
So importance will be given to intercultural dialogue in thinking circles, in order to deal with questions linked to respect of diversities.

Thématique choisie par la Fondation P&V

Thème choisi par la Fondation P&V : Dialogue interculturel et diversité linguistique

« Francophones, néerlandophones : comment dialoguer avec l’autre ? »

Dans le cadre du projet européen, la Fondation P&V a choisi de traiter le thème de travail suivant : « Dialogue interculturel et diversité linguistique ». En effet, cette thématique permet de nous inscrire dans l’actualité brûlante de notre pays, une fois de plus plongé dans une crise institutionnelle depuis les élections fédérales de juin 2007. La Belgique est menacée d’éclatement ; les responsables politiques flamands réclament plus d’autonomie, voire un système confédéral et les francophones restent sur leurs positions. Ce cercle vicieux rend aujourd'hui la Belgique de plus en plus difficile à gouverner.
La structure politique du Royaume est complexe. Depuis 1993, la Belgique est un Etat fédéral composé de trois régions -flamande, wallonne et la région bilingue Bruxelles-Capitale- et de trois communautés linguistiques -flamande, française (Wallonie-Bruxelles) et germanophone. La Belgique a trois langues officielles : le français, le néerlandais et l’allemand. Seule la région flamande est unilingue, la région wallonne comprenant la communauté germanophone.

Structure de la population en Belgique (2008)
Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (bilingue à majorité francophone) : 1.048.491 hab.
Région flamande : 6.161.600 hab.
Région wallonne (la communauté germanophone compte 74.565 habitants) : 3.456.775 hab.
Total : 10.666.866 hab.

Entre le Nord et le Sud du pays, le fossé s’accroît et les revendications se durcissent. Les clichés sur l’une ou l’autre communauté linguistique ont la vie dure :
· Les Flamands sont racistes, extrémistes, égoïstes et austères.
· Les Wallons sont pauvres, paresseux, fêtards et profiteurs.
· Bruxelles est une ville trop sale, avec trop de francophones, trop d’étrangers et trop de criminalité.
Selon la presse, le pays ressemblerait à un baril de poudre. Les hommes politiques et les médias portent certainement une lourde responsabilité dans cette crise où tous les coups contre l’autre « camp » linguistique semblent permis. Bien que de nombreux Belges soient porteurs d’une double culture, francophones et néerlandophones se rencontrent peu, en dehors de Bruxelles, de la Côte ou des Ardennes. Les problèmes de langue contribuent largement à cette méconnaissance de l’Autre. Le bilinguisme est très peu développé : pas de journaux bilingues, pas de chaînes de télévision bilingues. Depuis 1988, l’enseignement n’est plus une compétence du gouvernement fédéral et en-dehors de Bruxelles, l’apprentissage de la langue de l’autre communauté est facultatif. La Belgique a ainsi définitivement raté le pari du bilinguisme.

Comment la Belgique pourrait-elle promouvoir le dialogue des cultures et favoriser le « mieux vivre ensemble » dans une société ouverte et plurielle alors que ses deux communautés linguistiques sombrent dans le repli identitaire ?

Dans ce contexte peu favorable au dialogue interculturel, une consultation citoyenne sur le thème spécifique de la diversité linguistique nous paraît pertinente et originale. Toutefois, bien que le pays compte trois langues officielles, nous allons volontairement nous limiter aux deux communautés linguistiques majoritaires de notre pays : les francophones et les néerlandophones.

jeudi 9 octobre 2008

P&V Foundation's chosen theme (en)

P&V Fondation’ chosen theme : Intercultural dialogue and linguistic diversity
“How do we get Dutch-speakers and French-speakers to talk to one another?”

As part of the European project, the P&V Foundation has decided to tackle the following working topic: “Intercultural dialogue and linguistic diversity”. It is a topic that enables us to become involved with what has been a burning issue in our country since we were plunged back into an institutional crisis after the federal elections of June 2007. Belgium is threatening to become fragmented; Flemish political leaders are clamouring for more autonomy, in fact even for a confederal system, while the position of the French-speakers remains unchanged. Today, this vicious circle makes Belgium more and more difficult to govern.
The Kingdom’s political structure is a complex one. Since 1993 Belgium has been a federal State, made up of three regions – Flanders, Wallonia and the bilingual Brussels Capital region – and three language communities – Flemish, French (Wallonia-Brussels) and German. Belgium has three official languages: French, Dutch and German. Only Flanders is single-language, while Wallonia includes the German-speaking community.

Structure of the population in Belgium (2008)
Brussels Capital region (bilingual with a French-speaking majority) : 1,048,491
Flanders : 6,161,600
Wallonia (the population of the German-speaking community is 74,565) : 3,456,775
Total : 10,666,866

The gulf is widening between the North and South of the country and demands are hardening on both sides. In addition, clichés are flying back and forth on either side of the language community divide:
· The Flemish are racists, extremists, selfish and austere.
· The Walloons are poor, lazy, revellers and profiteers.
· Brussels is a city that’s too dirty, with too many French-speakers, too many foreigners and too much crime.

According to the media, the country is like a powder keg. It’s a fact that the politicians and media bear a lot of the responsibility for this crisis and the gloves are very much off between the two language “camps”. Although many Belgians have roots in both cultures, French-speakers and Dutch-speakers rarely meet, apart from in Brussels, at the Coast or in the Ardennes. Language problems contribute a great deal to this atmosphere of mutual mistrust. Bilingualism is extremely underdeveloped: there are no newspapers or television stations that cater for both languages. Since 1988, education no longer comes under a federal government portfolio and outside Brussels, learning the other community’s language at school is optional. So it seems that Belgium has lost the bilingualism wager once and for all.
How could Belgium encourage dialogue between the cultures and promote “living better together” in an open, broad society, whereas right now the country’s two main communities are sinking further into an identity-based fallback position?

Given this unpromising background in terms of intercultural dialogue, we believe that consultation with the people on the specific subject of linguistic diversity would be a relevant and sufficiently original approach to take. However, although the country has three official languages, we are deliberately limiting ourselves to the two majority language communities: the French-speakers and the Dutch-speakers.

Tema seleccionado por la Fundación EAES (es)

Tema : Diálogo intercultural e integración
Justificación :
La historia del hombre ha sido, desde sus orígenes, una constante de migraciones, que han dado como fruto el desarrollo de las distintas culturas, a través de la mezcla y la interrelación de los pueblos.
Andalucía, a lo largo de su historia, se ha convertido en un espacio de encuentro y fusión de culturas, de mestizaje e interculturalidad. Su situación geográfica ha servido, y sirve en la actualidad, de puente entre dos continentes, constituyéndose como un espacio de frontera que ha facilitado contactos y diálogos entre Norte y Sur.
Por otra parte, y hasta hace muy poco tiempo, nuestra región ha sido el origen de constantes migraciones, tanto a zonas más industrializadas del Estado, como a otros países (principalmente, Francia, Suiza, Alemania y el continente americano). Valga señalar que entre los años 1961 y 1975, más de un millón de andaluces emigraron, con el objetivo de mejorar sus condiciones de vida, con la consiguiente pérdida tan importante de capital humano que sufrió la región. Así, a pesar de que muchos de ellos regresaron, todavía hoy son muchos los andaluces que viven y trabajan fuera de Andalucía, con el desarraigo que ello conlleva.
Pero, en cualquier caso, los cambios socioeconómicos a los que se enfrentan las sociedades actuales a nivel global, vienen produciendo una inversión en los flujos migratorios: nuestra tierra de emigrantes resulta ser ahora receptora de inmigrantes. Además, Andalucía es un lugar de paso para quienes pretenden alcanzar otra región o país más al norte, un espacio de acogida para muchas personas que encuentran aquí su trabajo, y un destino para otros que hallan en esta tierra un lugar agradable donde quedarse a vivir.
Consideramos que somos una sociedad madura y tolerante, que ha experimentado en las últimas décadas grandes avances en cuanto a niveles de bienestar, a los cuales han contribuido sin duda las migraciones, y por estos motivos la ciudadanía andaluza se haya en una posición favorable para profundizar sobre la diversidad cultural como medio de enriquecimiento mutuo y elemento integrador en la sociedad andaluza, teniendo como referencia la experiencia de nuestra ciudadanía y sus opiniones.
A continuación, hacemos una breve referencia sobre nuestros objetivos con la participación en este proyecto, los cuales pretendemos clarificar a través de la consulta y participación directa de diversos representantes de la sociedad civil andaluza, usando como metodología grupos de discusión, entrevistas, presentación de historias de vida, etc.
De esta forma, haremos hincapié en el papel de la Economía Social como una alternativa eficaz que favorece la integración en el sistema sociolaboral, a través de la cooperación, el diálogo y el esfuerzo de los trabajadores/as, así como de todos los agentes que la componen.
Otro aspecto que cabe analizar desde la sociedad civil es la actuación de las Administraciones públicas con respecto a la integración plena de la población inmigrante y demás colectivos étnicos en los distintos ámbitos (social, cultural, económico, laboral, etc.), con el fin de alcanzar una verdadera igualdad de condiciones. Entre estas actuaciones, de cara al presente y al futuro, deben de destacarse la labor de sensibilización de los ciudadanos (especialmente de los jóvenes, a través de la educación intercultural), el fomento de la capacidad emprendedora de la población inmigrante y otros grupos, y la convivencia y el conocimiento mutuo entre las culturas, para generar actitudes positivas ante el hecho migratorio y, finalmente, favorecer la normalización como elemento de integración.

EAES Foundation's chosen theme (en)

EAES Foundation's chosen theme : Intercultural Dialogue and Integration
Justification :
Man’s history has, since its origins, been a series of constant migrations, the fruit of which has been the development of different cultures, through the mixing and interrelation of the populations.
Andalusia, during the course of its history, became a space for the meeting and fusion of cultures, cross-breeding and interculturality. Its geographic situation served and still serves as a bridge between two continents, constituting a border area that enables contact and dialogue between North and South.
On the other hand, and until just a short time ago, our region was the source of constant migrations, to the most industrialised zones of Spain itself and to other countries (mainly, France, Switzerland, Germany and the American continent). It is worth pointing out that, between 1961 and 1975, more than one million people emigrated from Andalusia to improve their living conditions, resulting in the largest loss of human capital the region has ever experienced. Thus, although many of these returned, many Andalusians continue to live and work outside Andalusia today, with all the uprooting this entails.
Meanwhile, however, the socioeconomic changes faced by today’s societies on an international level are causing a reversal in migratory flows: our land of emigrants is now the recipient of immigrants. Also, Andalusia is a place of transit for those wanting to reach another region or country further to the North, a host region for many people who find their work here and a destination for others that find in this land a pleasant place to live.
We consider ourselves to be a mature and tolerant society that has experienced great advances in recent decades in terms of our levels of welfare, which the migrations have no doubt contributed to and, for these reasons, Andalusian citizens are well-place for an in-depth understanding of cultural diversity as a means of mutual enrichment and an integrating element in Andalusian society, taking the experience and opinions of our citizens as a reference.
Below, we refer briefly to the objectives of our participation in this project, which we aim to clarify by means of the consultation and direct participation of various representatives of Andalusian civil society, using methods such as discussion groups, interviews and presentations of life histories.
In this way, we emphasise the role of the Social Economy as an effective alternative that favours integration in the socio-labour system, through the cooperation, dialogue and effort of the workers, as well as all the agents that belong to it.
Another aspect that is worth analysing from civil society is the actions of Public Authorities in regards to the full integration of the immigrant population and other ethnic groups in the different fields (social, cultural, economic, employment, etc.), in order to achieve true equality in conditions.
Among these actions that respond to the present and the future, the task of raising citizens’ awareness must be highlighted (especially that of young people, through intercultural education), the promotion of the entrepreneurial skills among the immigrant population and other groups and the coexistence and mutual knowledge between cultures, to generate positive attitudes towards migration and, finally, to favour normalisation as a key element of integration.

Pact Foundation's chose theme (en)

PACT Foundation’s chosen theme: Intercultural dialogue and integration
For Romania, the necessity to focus on intercultural dialogue and integration emerge from the many issues that Roma population is still facing, especially in rural communities: segregation, discrimination in the field of employment, housing rights, education and health, use of excessive force in Roma communities, racial administration of justice, and discrimination of Roma women and children[1].
There is general awareness of the fact that continuous self marginalization and discrimination towards Roma population stems from the lack of knowledge of Roma culture, which is often invoked by the non-Roma as one of the main factors of segregation. The Romanian government, as well as the non-governmental sector has started to tackle all these aspects especially after the 1990s, yet many of them remain to be dealt with. Self-marginalization, especially among Roma youth in small communities, is a pressuring problem, which stems from lack of trust and denial of their own identity, in tight relation to Roma traditions and culture, which are being rejected by the larger society. Ultimately, in most communities, Roma integration means that Roma citizens are being assimilated by the rest of the community, and this usually happens when Roma people adhere to local traditions.
Hence, given the fact that Roma inclusion is a prerequisite not only in Romania but also all over Europe, Foundation PACT intends to address it by creating a framework for intercultural dialogue. PACT Foundation’s team has been working in rural and small or medium urban localities with groups of citizens representing disadvantaged people in their communities. In many of these communities, the situation of Roma people is very diverse:
- there are communities where Roma citizens are totally assimilated and there are no visible differences from the Romanians – and here the relations are relatively good,
- there are communities where Roma people have their own specific traits of culture, and the relations are based on common interests, and yet the two groups are quite distinct,
- and there are communities where the distance between the Roma and Romanians is very clear, the relations between them being at the limit of conflict,
Therefore, Foundation PACT proposes as a sub-theme identifying means of enabling intercultural dialogue for improving Roma and Romanian citizens’ perception, towards a better joint collaboration and participation to community development, therefore a genuine integration of Roma people in the local communities, within the localities where, through its programs and projects, Foundation PACT has developed civic initiative among community members.
The 5 local meetings are meant to identify and enable discussions regarding efficient and effective means through which intercultural dialogue may improve the relations between the Roma and Romanians, both within their own communities, and in general, in localities where Roma and Romanians live together, yet separately.
In the given context, the main question is: can intercultural dialogue contribute to the improvement of interethnic relations? And aspects of this issue would be:
- What can we do (which would be the means) so that through intercultural dialogue there may be better relations between Roma and Romanians, may improve the perceptions, in all the 3 stages mentioned above?
- How well do we know the other’s culture?
- How well do we understand and how willing are we to accept the specifics of other ethnics?
- Why do assimilated Roma (who no longer have an ethnic specificity) have better relations with the larger majority, and those who still keep elements of culture and tradition are being marginalized or marginalize themselves? Why do Roma people accept to lose their identity?
- How could Roma communities which are geographically segregated participate in intercultural dialogue?
All these questions will be addressed through various discussion and work themes to be sustained by Foundation PACT and other organizations with experience in interethnic communities in Romania, regarding ways in which the relations among Roma and Romanians influenced the process of community development/facilitation, the extent to which the good development of local projects have depended on the quality of interethnic relations, and whether Roma and Romanians working together has contributed (and in what way) to an improvement of interethnic relations in these communities or vice-versa.
[1] Overview of the Roma Situation in Romania for European Commission Consideration at 2006 Country Report – Romani Criss, Roma Centre for Social Intervention and Studies

mardi 7 octobre 2008

CSV's chosen theme (en)

CSV’s chosen theme: The perception of interculturality by civil society.
In the UK people, far from being uninterested in politics, are engaged in the political life of their society, but express their political interests in other ways than voting, standing for election and using their elected representatives. They are much more likely to get involved in single-issue movements, high profile demonstrations and events like LIVE8, which harnessed real interest
among the UK society.
It is necessary to share with citizens the way in which the policies of the EU affect everyone’s life and propose ways in which discussion on those policies can become part of the national, regional and local debate. This is necessary in order to bridge a number of gaps, including the gap between national identities and different European cultures which are so widely represented in the UK. The European civil society is susceptible to fragmentation into the socalled ‘national bubbles’.
Whatever the subjects, the 27 national debates added together do not yet constitute a European debate. This is very much the case in the UK. It is therefore important to pursue the theme of the UK civil society’s perception of interculturality to overcome obstacles stemming from nationalist reflexes.
We are proposing to tackle the theme of the perception of interculturality by UK civil society by creating platforms for exchange and reflection on ways in which individuals can make their voice heard on European policy affecting them and offer citizens means of direct involved with their local MEPs and policy-makers. We will create local study circles for reflection on interculturality as well as intercultural dialogue, migration and participation, and how that impacts on participants’ life in their town or region. This will create spaces for debate on interculturality within different focus groups: activities working on refugee issues, people directly involved in their communities, young participants from secondary schools, as well as virtual volunteers.
The discussions on participants’ perception of interculturality will also offer means for discovering what means of expression UK civil society members use to debate European issues and to influence, engage with and inform their MEPs.
We also aim to establish baseline of voter turnout at the 2004 European Parliament elections in wards where the study circles are located, with a view to identifying any improvement in turnout for the 2009 vote; in this there will a specific focus on how intercultural European issues influence political participation.

Projet CID : Citoyenneté, Interculturalité, Dialogue

"Citoyenneté, Interculturalité, Dialogue" est un projet transnational inscrit dans le programme "L'Europe pour les citoyens" de la Direction générale Education et Culture de la Commission européenne. Ce projet est porté par le Pôle européen des fondations de l'économie sociale avec la participation de 6 partenaires de 5 pays européens :
- CSV (Royaume Uni),
- Fondation EAES (Espagne),
- Fondation Macif (France),
- Fondation Pact (Roumanie),
- Fondation P&V (Belgique),
- Pour la Solidarité (Belgique).
Le but du projet est de créer une plateforme d'échanges et de réflexion sur le thème du dialogue interculturel, en comparant les perceptions et pratiques de la société civile au sein des différents états membres.
Le lancement du projet a eu lieu à Osuna (Espagne) le 22 septembre 2008, au cours duquel les partenaires des 5 pays ont choisi une thématique de travail qui fera l'objet de dialogues et de débats durant 6 mois avec un groupe constitué de 40 personnes représentatives de la société civile dans chacun des pays des partenaires.

CID Project : Citizenship, Interculturality, Dialogue

"Citizenship, Interculturality, Dialogue" is a transnational project that comes within the framework of the programme "Europe for citizens" of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. The European network of foundations for social economy leads the project with the participation of 6 partners from 5 european countries :
- CSV (United Kingdom)
- EAES Foundation (Spain)
- Macif Foundation(France)
- Pact Foundation (Romania)
- P&V Foundation (Belgium)
- Pour la Solidarité (Belgium)
The goal of the project is to create a platform for exchanges and reflection on intercultural dialogue, comparing perceptions and practices of civil society within different member states.
The kick off meeting of the project took place in Osuna (Spain) on the 22nd september 2008.
There the partners of the five countries chose a working theme which will be discussed by the groups of 40 citizens created in each country, during 6 months.