4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
Policy measures addressing aspects of intercultural dialogue have mainly been developed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment and the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity. The National Cultural Policy contextualises intercultural dialogue as a contemporary communicative process between people who do not seek to suppress identity, homogenise identities or impose a dominant culture. The democratisation of intercultural dialogue calls for a knowledgeable understanding of one's culture and that of other cultures through creative projects which reach out to, and are developed within, different communities.
Although there is no national authority or agency exclusively responsible for intercultural matters the issue of intercultural dialogue does not specifically constitute a primary focus of the remit of the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, yet the Ministry has been an active contributor on the issue through the development of a number of measures (including legal, policy focused and service-delivery initiatives) that have been or are being adopted to enhance social cohesion, increase the social inclusion prospects of vulnerable groups and promote social solidarity between people of divergent cultural backgrounds. Therefore, although the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity has not endorsed specific policies and legal frameworks on the particular topic of Intercultural Dialogue, it has been pivotal in the development of inclusion and integration policies as well as in the enactment of a number of legal frameworks (described in more detail below) that concern measures to target racism, combat discrimination and advance the welfare of third country nationals.
In 2007, the Ministry for Tourism and Culture also introduced intercultural dialogue as part of its political agenda.
The Ministry's National Strategy outlining Malta's contribution for the 2008 European Year for Intercultural Dialogue stated that the year was to be a unique opportunity for Malta to include intercultural dialogue as one of its key policy measures in order to:
Policy must ensure that these challenges offer an opportunity for growth and development to:
The 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in Malta, held under the distinguished patronage of H.E Dr Edward Fenech Adami, President of Malta, was developed mainly through creative experiences that facilitated debates, encounters and engaging intercultural processes and coordinated by the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity.
The objective of this project was to increase the awareness of Maltese people, particularly the younger generation, about the cultures that played their part throughout the history of our country in the moulding of the Maltese culture making it what it is today, alongside these considering those influences that are playing a new role in the inevitable continuation of this living process.
During the year, more than 50 events developed by various organisations such as the National Coordinating Body, European Institutions, Local Councils, NGOs and individual artists presented an extensive intercultural programme that reached thousands of people and generated great media interest. Above all, the projects presented an ideal platform for dialogue during which people could share their personal intercultural experiences and normalise intercultural dialogue as a way of life.
The European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) in the Ministry of Education, Employment and the Family has been delegated the task to administer the European Fund for the Integration of Third-country Nationals.
Relevant Culture Policy Actions: