In 2008, the Council of Europe published its White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue in order to offer guidance to decision makers in politics, administration and education, as well as representatives of the media, non-governmental organisations, religious communities, youth organisations and other social partners.
“The White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue – Living together as equals with dignity”
In its introduction, the White Paper emphasises the commitment of the Council of Europe member states to open and diverse society, based on the Council of Europe’s core values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – as well as an appeal for intercultural dialogue.
The first chapter describes the consultation as well as the editing process of the White Paper and defines certain key terms.
The second chapter explores the phenomenon of cultural diversity, ascertains the universality of the Council of Europe’s values, presents various instruments and mechanisms, the Council of Europe uses in order to promote and protect these values and describes the risks, any society would face, if it chose to generally refuse intercultural dialogue.
The third chapter points out the opportunities and risks of intercultural dialogue, analyses the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches like assimilation and multiculturalism, describes the conditions, under which intercultural dialogue can become a successful endeavour and outlines the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue within the framework of the Council of Europe as well as the role, interreligious dialogue plays.
The fourth and fifth chapter list the basic requirements for the promotion of intercultural dialogue – democratic governance on the basis of the Council of Europe’s values; a political culture valuing diversity; democratic citizenship and participation; readiness to promote intercultural competency as well as readiness to acquire intercultural competences; the allocation of physical as well as virtual space for intercultural dialogue, and the willingness to engage in intercultural dialogue at international level – and provides practical examples regarding these requirements.
Link to the White Paper (PDF)
Photo © Interreligiöse Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schweiz (IRAS – COTIS)