In the Czech Republic (CR), there is a wide range of programmes that directly or indirectly support intercultural dialogue and cooperation. Support for this field is allocated via the more general state programmes; intercultural dialogue is not a priority but it is sufficiently covered within the Ministry of Culture’s scope of support. The following programmes are in the competence of the Ministry of Culture (MC):
- support for the cultural activities of members of ethnic minorities living in the CR;
- support for the integration of members of the Roma community;
- support for foreign contacts in the field of non-professional artistic activities;
- support for international cooperation in the field of art; and
- support for projects that support widening and accepting information about national minorities in society in the field of radio or television broadcasting.
The Ministry of the Interior supports projects under its policy for asylum-seekers. It determines its priorities on an annual basis. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announces a grant procedure annually for projects to support the integration of foreigners, mostly the integration of vulnerable groups of immigrants like women.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) supports the education of asylum-seekers and the integration of foreigners and projects involving foreign cooperation aimed at the development of teachers in this field within its development and support programmes and through the National Institute for Further Education. The MEYS is also responsible for supporting projects for youth, including international projects in the field of education and out-of-school[extracurricular] activities; these projects do not, however, specialise in the field of culture. The MEYS is guided by theConcept of Support for Young People 2014-2020.The Ministry also managed the European programme “Youth in Action” through the National Institute of Children and Youth. The National Agency for European Educational Programmes, which is a part of the MEYS House of Foreign Services, coordinates international cooperative educational programmes such as the bilateral Czech – Austrian AKTION or the multilateral Erasmus+ or CEEPUS.The MC supervises cultural projects for children and youth through grant selection procedures, including support for international festivals and showcases and others.
Intercultural dialogue is also supported by private foundations like the Czech-German Fund of the Future, the Forum 2000 Foundation (support for cultural and ethnic tolerance in young democracies), the Tolerance Foundation (general support for intercultural dialogue), the Open Society Fund (the International East-East Program) and the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havlová Foundation (a programme for human rights and Roma people).
Many smaller cross-border projects of cultural cooperation were supported by the Structural Funds – (see chapter 1.4.3) – the programme of Inter-regional Cooperation within Goal 3 – European Territorial Cooperation.
In the CR, there are many non-governmental organisations that deal with some form of cross-border intercultural dialogue. For example, Archa Theatre systematically works with this topic in its arts projects. In 2008, it prepared the successful project “Archa Theatre: No speech, no problem…” in cooperation with the Arts Institute, the One World Festival and the Colours of Ostrava festival (http://www.archatheatre.cz). Another example is the civic association Mamapapa, which is dedicated to international interdisciplinary projects in the CR and the Balkans and deals mostly with creative work involving the Vietnamese community in the CR. The Multicultural Centre Prague and the Brno Cultural Centre rank among the most important culture centres involved in this field of work. More information on multicultural projects is available at: http://www.mezikulturnidialog.cz.
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
See also chapter 1.2.6.
For the year 2008, the Arts and Theatre Institute, a state organisation, became the main organiser of the national project Together across Cultures in 2008. A national strategy for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in the CR was established and a national project organised on its basis. The project priorities were:
- promotion and highlighting of issues connected with intercultural dialogue towards a change of thinking in Czech society and among minorities, communities and immigrants with an emphasis on school and out-of-school education of young people; and
- integration of foreigners and the Roma community using cultural and artistic activities.
In 2008, as part of the national project Together Across Cultures, the Portal of Intercultural Dialogue was founded, the purpose of which was to serve as the main communication channel for the year. The portal was maintained and at present serves as an open platform mainly for NGOs and for NGO activity in the field of culture and education directed at intercultural dialogue, which contributes to fulfilling the objectives of migration and integration policy in the CR. http://www.mezikulturnidialog.cz
In July 2010 the Czech Republic ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and in 2014 the Czech Republic submitted its first preliminary evaluative report. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the implementation of the Convention. In connection with the Convention’s implementation an international meeting was organised in Prague in autumn 2013 that focused on the method and system of implementing the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Exprsesions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic also annually contributes financially to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity.
For more on projects on intercultural education in the Czech Republic, see chapter 2.5.2.
Government’s overall approach to intercultural dialogue