An Overview

Creating New Spaces for Intercultural Dialogue through Technology

Successful intercultural dialogue is essential to help us navigate the unprecedented challenges of the 21st Century world. It represents a dynamic and challenging process that enables individuals and groups with different cultural backgrounds to engage in an open and respectful exchange of views, to share experiences and to develop a better understanding of each others’ aspirations and better practices of living together.

The massive population shifts of the world are the result of many causes: increased vulnerability to extreme weather conditions, famine, war, under-development and political oppression, coupled in some cases with rapid globalization, uncontrolled urbanization and dramatic, if uneven economic growth. These large-scale results have almost always an influence in the escalation of ethnic and cultural tensions, particularly in areas where the migrants or displaced populations eventually settle. Cultural and ethnic tensions are a central feature of conflicts across the world.

It stands to reason that culture can also play a central role in ending these conflicts, replacing them with sustainable peace and development processes. Productive debates focus on these ever-new fissures and fault lines across the globe as well as on challenges ahead to set transformative changes in our societies of the 21st Century. These discussions help to reconcile diversity and social cohesion, restore trust and tolerance, and boost prosperity. Key issues include ways to enhance strengthening human security and enhance dignity with its fundamental cultural dimensions.

But, how can we boost development of dialogue and shared action aimed at promoting tolerance or acceptance and nondiscrimination? How can we use new media and technology to encourage respect for spiritual and ethical values, conscience, religious, and cultural or linguistic background and the right to communicate freely?

The 2012 Create UNAOC Challenge

Drawing on the unique cultural resources and experiences of developers around the world, the UNAOC invites individuals and teams — beginners and experts alike — to create new apps and mobile games that raise awareness and enable new opportunities for intercultural dialogue and submit them in competition for deployment at the UNAOC Forum in Vienna, Austria (27-28 February 2013). After the forum in Vienna, apps will be made available for download so a larger audience may experience what developers contribute to the challenge.

Developers might consider how new apps and games can be specifically relevant in supporting such pursuits as gender equality, youth development, migrant integration, religious pluralism, better understanding among individuals of different cultural and religious backgrounds, biased media representation of cultures and religions, and education and how they support greater understanding of the increasing demand for public recognition of cultural rights put forward by different groups and individuals in contemporary multicultural societies. New apps might facilitate dialogues, not only between opposing cultures and civilizations but also between the globalized elite and various local groups. Finally, effective apps and games might enable practical ways to talk about and moderate cultural positions.

The submission deadline for a video walkthrough, presentation, or prototype of the app is 30 November 2012 extended to 9 December 2012.

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