3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation
Switzerland's cultural diversity, large foreign population, and its location in the heart of Europe have led to a steady increase in national and transnational intercultural exchange programmes. Switzerland is a typical immigration and emigration country, aware that it owes its current standard of living not least to the economic and cultural exchange provided by its immigrants and emigrants. The Federal Office for Migration (BFM) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA), and the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (BAK), all maintain constant relations with key international organisations, such as the Council of Europe. There are also institutions at the intermediary level devoted specifically to this issue. The scientific studies, evaluations, and practice-oriented pilot projects of the Swiss Academy of Development (SAD), for instance, contribute to the constructive shaping of collective life in pluralistic societies within and beyond their national borders. One of its projects deals with social problems arising from migration in Russia. Collaborators include the InterCenter at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation. In a four-year project, entitled "Interkultureller Dialog mit der Türkei" (Intercultural Dialogue with Turkey), the SAD seeks to offer people a platform for exchanging and networking. As is also often the case in Swiss foreign cultural and educational policy, aims vary among those involved in intercultural dialogues. For this reason, a governmental programme collectively followed by all participants cannot really be spoken of here. Transnational exchange programmes or language stays are also accordingly funded by the participants themselves. Student exchange programmes, like Education First or the AFS intercultural exchanges, are popular among young people; neither programme received public funding.
Moreover, Switzerland is also participating in the new EU Promotion Programme MEDIA, the successor of MEDIA I, MEDIA II, MEDIA Plus, and MEDIA Education. The current programme for the European audiovisual sector is due to run from 2007 to the end of 2013. It focuses on development, distribution, public relations, and further education and training. Overall funding for operating the programme amount to 755 million EUR. MEDIA DESK SWISS serves as a link between the Swiss film industry and the Brussels-based representatives of the MEDIA programme.
The EU Promotion Programme "Youth in Action" is also part of Switzerland's portfolio. Up until 2013, the EU has granted a total of 886 million EUR for the promotion of youth groups, youth charities, and youth facilities in 33 countries. Through these various means, the EU intends to strengthen civic spirit, solidarity, and democratic commitment among young people, and to enhance their mobility and cooperation in Europe.
Switzerland is also actively involved in the EU Programme for Lifelong Learning. The European Commission has merged its various initiatives in the areas of general and occupational training (Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, and Grundtvig) into a single programme, the so-called Programme for Lifelong Learning. Switzerland has been an associated member of this Programme since 1 January 2011.
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.