Ten projects have been named finalists by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and BMW Group for the Intercultural Innovation Award. The selection process was highly competitive, with 1,356 applications received from 130 countries.
The selected projects come from ten different countries across five continents, underlining the global importance of the Intercultural Innovation Award and its commitment to the worldwide promotion of intercultural diversity and understanding.
Finalists this year include: ‘Buddy Up!’ A School-Based Peace-Building Project – Community Relations In Schools (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), The Crossroads Project: Yat Madit – Media Focus on Africa Uganda (Uganda), Encontrarse en la Diversidad/Meeting in Diversity – Encontrarse en la Diversidad (Argentina), Global Enterprise Experience – Te Kaihau Education Trust (New Zealand), Knitting for Conservation: Awakkuna – Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (Ecuador), Peace Rickshaws Project – Pakistan Youth Alliance (Pakistan), Play2Talk – Games for Peace (Israel), Safarni – Etijah (Egypt), Interfaith Mediation Center – Transforming pastoralist-farmer conflict in Nigeria (Nigeria), and Unleash Tunisia Venture Bus – Young Leaders Entrepreneurs (Tunisia).
By supporting sustainable and innovative intercultural grassroots projects with the potential for expansion and replication, the Intercultural Innovation Award aims to contribute to peace, prosperity and building more inclusive societies. Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is the result of a unique public-private partnership between UNAOC and the BMW Group. This model of collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector creates deeper impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project.
Throughout a one-year support period, the selected projects can reap the benefit of expertise and resources from the BMW Group and UNAOC. In addition to receiving a monetary prize, the finalists will have the opportunity to participate in training activities and workshops covering diverse subjects such as strategy, leadership and the media. Finalists also become members of the “Intercultural Leaders” network, an exclusive skills and knowledge-sharing platform for civil society organizations and young leaders that work on addressing cross-cultural tensions.
The final rankings will be announced during the Intercultural Innovation Award Ceremony to be held at United Nations Headquarters on 29 November. This is the first time that the ceremony will be held in New York, providing the finalists with an opportunity for exposure to an exciting cross-sectional community with expertise in innovation, business and the public sector. The ceremony will be chaired by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, in the presence of a number of officials from governments and the United Nations.
This year’s selected projects (in alphabetical order):
Community Relations In Schools (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
‘Buddy Up!’ is an inter-generational school-based peacebuilding programme working in one of Northern Ireland’s most divided areas. The project features a partnership between a state Protestant school and a Catholic school, engaging 3-4 year old children, their parents and families.
Media Focus on Africa Uganda (Uganda)
The Crossroads Project promotes alternative ways of resolving conflict among communities in northern and north-eastern Uganda. Yat Madit, a television and radio drama series, was designed and produced by the organization, based on real life experiences in the region. Intercultural dialogue sessions were held following the series being aired nationally.
Encontrarse en la Diversidad (Argentina)
Encontrarse en la Diversidad was established in response to the lack of awareness about discrimination in Argentina. It aims at building mechanisms for effective education on these issues, particularly through engaging teens and young adults with methodologies that speak to their sensibilities.
Te Kaihau Education Trust (New Zealand)
The motivation of the Global Enterprise Experience is to develop future global leaders skilled in managing across cultures and countries with world views that are worlds apart. The experience engages multinational teams of eight students to work together via the web to develop business concept proposals on profitable products and services that will foster social wellbeing
Knitting for Conservation: Awakkuna
Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (Ecuador)
Knitting groups are created within the Kichwa indigenous communities, to produce scientifically accurate and culturally important Amazon animals as toys. In this way, cultural and scientific knowledge of the Kichwa is shared, to create an understanding of indigenous communities and their natural environment.
Pakistan Youth Alliance (Pakistan)
Peace Rickshaws Project uses the canvas of auto-rickshaws and medium of pop-art to relay messages of peace, tolerance and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. The project also functions to counter extremist messaging on rickshaws and engages drivers, owners and youth of the community on the importance of using artistic expressions for peacebuilding.
Games for Peace (Israel)
Play2Talk aims to reduce stereotypes and promote tolerance between children in Israel through the use of online video games. Virtual trust-building encounters are organized on a weekly basis using the multiplayer video game Minecraft. This eventuates in face-to-face encounters between participants facilitated by Games for Peace.
Safarni designs and facilitates “Simulated Travel Adventures” for children with little exposure to diversity, to embrace and connect with cultures. Migrant communities are engaged to design, personalize and facilitate the intercultural content. The “Simulated Travel Adventures” then takes place over 8-weeks where children can play, dance, eat and interact with locals from around the world.
Interfaith Mediation Center (Nigeria)
The conflict between farmers and pastoralists has strong ethno-religious dimensions, requiring the involvement of Muslim and Christian faith leaders to co-initiate and co-facilitate a process of intercultural dialogue. This project creates a positive feedback loop in which intercultural cooperation enhances livelihood collaboration and improves the rural economy.
Young Leaders Entrepreneurs (Tunisia)
The Venture Bus is equipped to tour the country with the aim of spreading peace education and entrepreneurship among vulnerable youth in remote areas. The bus provides economic empowerment by pushing youth at the brink of extremism to start their own entrepreneurial projects.