Policy guidelines adopted for the electronic communication sector 2011-2016.
4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
The competence of the population in the topic of intercultural dialogue in Latvia is limited. Although Latvian society is shaped by a wide variety of cultures, there is a lack of understanding and knowledge between groups, which stimulates further collective prejudices, stereotypes and intolerance.
In cultural policy documents, interculturalism is understood as transnational collaboration, participation in networking and international co-operation instead of developing intercultural dialogue within the country. Although public policy documents include the principles of intercultural dialogue and stress the need for a dialogue, understanding and diversity (see chapter 4.2.4) on the political level, mainstream discourse supports the idea that the state has to strengthen national identity through policy measures. This approach is promoted in the State Cultural Policy Guidelines 2006 – 2015 and Social integration policy (adopted 2001). Integration is to be based on the official language (Latvian) that is stipulated in several documents, including the Official Language Law (2000), the Electronic Mass Media Law (2010). From 2011, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for integration (see chapter 4.2.4).
Meanwhile, part of the public and media discourse (see public policy site http://politika.lv) through research, publications and debate promotes interculturalism as a future strategy for the development in Latvia. Major debate concerns bilingual education (important changes introducing more lessons taught in the Latvian language in the Russian schools were carried out in 2004, which provoked resistance in society).
At present, the national policy towards intercultural dialogue and promotion of tolerance is being implemented by various state and local authorities and NGOs active in the field of human rights and diversity. Among the key actors are:
Intercultural projects are not a common practice for cultural institutions. Such projects were encouraged and supported by The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (EYID) 2008. However, the majority of these activities will probably not be repeated. See examples of integration programmes in chapter 4.2.4.