United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations and BMW Group Announce Winners Of Intercultural Innovation Award

2013 Winners of the Intercultural Innovation Award

United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations and BMW Group Announce Winners Of Intercultural Innovation Award

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of Romania Traian Basescu, and Placido Domingo in Attendance

Vienna, 27 February 2013 – The Viennese Volkstheatre was host to the UNAOC and the BMW Group last night in celebration of The Intercultural Innovation Award. The coveted international Award is part of an unprecedented partnership between the UNAOC and the 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 last night’s award ceremony UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Mexico based Puerta Joven as the top winner of the 2012 Intercultural Innovation Award. President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Incoming United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, presented the Award. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Placido Domingo was also in attendance to congratulate all the winners.

“I commend the leadership shown by the BMW Group in supporting this Award and the projects that are being recognized” stated the Secretary-General. “The creative solutions being showcased tonight hold lessons for all communities and for organizations such as the United Nations.”

The top five finalists of the Award receive financial support for their projects totaling USD 100,000. However, all awardees of The Intercultural Innovation Award become members of the World Intercultural Facility for Innovation (WIFI). Initiated by the UNAOC and the BMW Group, WIFI is a platform for all awardees to connect with potential donors, mentors and previous winners. Awardees benefit from customized expertise and resources of both the BMW Group and the UNAOC in the areas of public relations, fundraising, staff planning and marketing.

The Award Ceremony took place in the eve of the 5th UNAOC Global Forum where delegations from 135 countries and international organizations, youth, civil society organizations and corporate sector have gathered in Vienna to address the importance of intercultural dialogue. “The Intercultural Innovation Award is the best example of the UN Alliance of Civilizations commitment to action. Both the Alliance and the BMW Group are committed to helping these winners increase their impact and expand their range of action” stated Al-Nasser.

Bill McAndrews stated “On behalf of the BMW Group, I wish to congratulate all of the awardees. The BMW Group and UNAOC are committed to supporting initiatives through this Award which have a long-lasting effect and sustainable, positive impact. We look forward to supporting their projects; and helping turn their ideas into accomplishments in the months and years ahead.”

1st Place $50,000 USD: Puerta Joven – Languages of Youth (Mexico)
Puerta Joven brings 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. Helping people understand that migration to the cities does not have to represent an obstacle to the survival of indigenous languages, Puerta Joven encourages freedom of expression and the right to make use of it by exercise. The project has been developed in eight different cities in Mexico and will be replicated in Guatemala.

2nd Place $20,000 USD: Plain Ink – When Change Reads Like a Book (Italy)
Plain Ink is a pioneering, non-profit social venture harnessing the power of stories; comics and children’s books to help children and communities overcome the stumbling blocks of poverty and social exclusion. The project creates books that tell original stories with a strong multicultural focus and characters resembling the target migrant and non-migrant children. Afterwards, books are sold and proceeds from sales are invested into free educational comics and other materials dealing with disease prevention, food security or natural disaster mitigation in the origin countries of the immigrants, thus benefitting children in Italy but also children in their home countries overseas.

3rd Place $15,000 USD: Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group – Recycling as Bridge and Binder (India)
Through recycling, Chintan’s project promotes understanding between poor migrants and the middle class and wealthy residents of New Delhi. Recycling in urban India is undertaken by abjectly poor, low caste, marginalized migrants. Realizing the gap between poor migrants and the wealthy residents of New Delhi, Chintan was founded, aimed to promote mutual understanding. Chintan does this by launching recycling projects in offices; employee volunteering programs in waste pickers’ slums; supporting a waste picker initiative in schools and other meeting points through recycling and visiting each other’s living environments.

4th Place $10,000 USD: Kapamagogopa Inc. (KI) Volunteers – Muslim Youth Volunteering for Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding (Philippines)
Kapamagogopa (KI) is the first and only systematized Muslim volunteer sending program in the Philippines. Local young Muslims are mobilized to work as volunteers in non-Muslim organizations to promote dialogue, understanding and development to non-Muslim and Muslim communities in Mindanao. The project aims to address three issues: Anti-Muslim biases, poor governance and the continuing threat of conflict that results in an environment of discrimination where many young Muslims lack opportunities and feel powerless to bring change to their lives.

5th Place $5,000 USD: TakingITGlobal (TIG) – TakingITGlobal Online Community (Canada)

As the leading creators and adopters of information and communication technologies, young people are the driving force behind the emerging global information society. TakingITGlobal (TIG) works at the intersection of the growing youth demographic, globalization, and the rise of the information society to empower young people as active global citizens and agents of change. TIG serves youth worldwide with innovative education programs, currently available in thirteen core languages. Young people from all linguistic backgrounds are effectively connected to learn and act together in TIGs ‘social network for social good’.

Honorable mentions were given to the other finalists including:

Cultural Infusion – Sound Infusion (Australia)
Sound Infusion encourages intercultural dialogue in a fun, flexible and informative way to support school curriculums through innovative web 2.0 based technologies. It is the first online digital application and learning platform which builds intercultural understanding through music creation and cultural information.

FilmAid – Filmmaker Training and Screening Program for Refugees and Host Communities (Kenya)
FilmAid’s screening series and filmmaker-training project targets refugees and their host communities in refugee camps and urban areas across Kenya. These communities are plagued by tension and conflict. It brings together young people from different communities to explore these issues and share their story.

IDResearch Kft. – Immigropoly (Hungary)
Immigropoly is a unique Internet-based character-game to increase the understanding of migration and integration in our global world, and targeted towards youth communities. It intends to encourage openness towards immigrants in a European and global context and enhance intercultural dialogue in an indirect way.

Search for Common Ground Morocco (SFCG) – Multimedia & Intercultural relations in Morocco
SFCG–Morocco brings together young Moroccans and sub-Saharan migrants to learn about video and multimedia and raise awareness through various messages. Inspired by the sharing processes, they create short movies dealing with intercultural relations.

The Parents Circle – Crack in the Wall (Israel/Palestine)
Crack in the Wall (CITW) has provided a neutral platform on Facebook for more than 10,000 people allowing Palestinians and Israelis to communicate with one another and express themselves on various topics through video, pictures and posts with provided translation to the other language.

Photos of the award ceremony can be downloaded on: http://www.press.bmwgroup.com/

More information can be found in www.interculturalinnovation.org

For further questions please contact:
BMW Group Corporate and Governmental Affairs
Milena Pighi,
Social Responsibility
tel: +49-89-382-66563
email: Milena.PA.Pighi@bmw.de


Mahdis Keshavarz
tel.: +1.425.591.8781
email: mahdis@themakeagency.com