3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation
For intercultural dialogue, see chapter 3.3, where reference is made to the six-month programme of the San Marino Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Following its active participation in the field of intercultural dialogue and cooperation, San Marino became a member of the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre (European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity) of the Council of Europe for the period 2008-2010. The objective of this body is to encourage cooperation and solidarity among the countries and to improve education and information concerning interdependence among the world's inhabitants. The commitment undertaken in the intercultural field during the San Marino Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has continued even after the end of this mandate. Indeed, San Marino has been entrusted with the task of coordinating the annual meetings on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue between religious communities and civil society established by the Council of Europe.
In the context of youth policies, in 2000, the Ministry of Education and Culture awarded (by implementing Law 5/2004 on the Right to Study) some travel grants to students enrolled in secondary schools and universities to enable them to participate in training courses in foreign languages and culture abroad. The objectives of these grants are: to promote personal development during summer holiday periods; to develop abilities and skills which cannot be fully exploited during the normal training period; and to strengthen knowledge through direct experience with the cultural and social life of other countries.
At an international level, in May 2000, San Marino signed the European Convention on the Promotion of a Trans-national Long-term Voluntary Service for Young People, thus recognising the educational aim of voluntary service at NGOs abroad, including some intercultural learning elements. From a domestic point of view, special provisions regulate the activities performed by volunteers: Law n. 97 of 1989 regulates cooperation between volunteers and public entities (see also chapter 8.4), while Law n. 142 of 1985 refers to volunteers working in cooperation projects based on bilateral or multilateral agreements with developing countries. Both laws set forth general rules of a humanitarian and social character (for further details, see chapter 5.1.6).
The government programme for the XXVII legislature (2008-2012), in the section dedicated to foreign policy and international relations, justifies the assignment of responsibilities for peace to the Minister of Justice, Relations with Local Authorities and Information, by entrusting him / her with the task of promoting, also in collaboration with volunteer associations and through international cooperation, any useful initiative by volunteers and associations.
In March 2010, a group of San Marino citizens submitted a popular petition (Istanza d'Arengo) for the establishment of a Peace Civil Corps. According to the promoters, this initiative would be in line with the traditions of liberty, peace and neutrality of San Marino. The Istanza d'Arengo was approved by the Great and General Council (the San Marino Parliament) and subsequently the competent Minister reported back to the Permanent Parliamentary Commission (see chapter 3.2) the intention to accept the spirit of this initiative. In this regard, the petitioners are preparing a draft law to be submitted to the institutional bodies.
At an operational level, some San Marino sections of international volunteer associations have been established on the territory, such as Fair Trade groups, Mani Tese, Unsolomondo and others, which organise some initiatives in collaboration with Italian NGOs, by co-financing wide-ranging projects. One of the most recent cases is the Preda Italia Association, which promotes and supports, both in Italy and San Marino, an important comprehensive humanitarian and social project. The San Marino group contributed to raising awareness on this project by promoting meetings and debates and involving public institutions and, in turn, it received State sponsorship and support. The reform of non-profit and volunteer organisations has been debated for a long time within the Parliament. This issue is included in the government programme of the winning coalition and was mentioned again by the opposition parties during the first parliamentary session of the XXVIII legislature (see also chapter 8.4.1).
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.