Our programmes support economic development and administrative reform as a means of building a stable European neighbourhood. They develop skills in individuals and capacity in institutions – and address issues of conflict in communities across the region. Our work in Turkey and the Balkans focuses on supporting integration with the European Union.
In a region characterised by strong ethnic and religious differences, Living Together creates real conversations between communities in conflict.
Living Together is our intercultural dialogue programme for this region. It strives to develop societies that are accepting and welcoming of difference, where people are able to participate fully, positively and on equal terms with one another. The programme has a focus on new migrant communities and their impact on societies in the region and on minority communities, some of whom are excluded from public life. Working across 27 countries, Living Together seeks to create a network of future leaders who are committed to working in and shaping societies where people are treated with equal respect.
The opening summit in London was attended by 180 politicians, policy-makers, civil society leaders and representatives of the media as well as Dr Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia and the UK Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy MP. Participants began planning ways to deal with issues relating to the impact of new migrant communities on their home and receiving societies; and on the ability of minority communities to participate in public life. Working sessions resulted in plans for constructive action on a range of issues, from promoting citizenship through the school curriculum to tackling extremism among young people.
Living Together used the power of the arts to foster debate and dialogue with a photography and film exhibition bringing to life many of the themes of the summit. Eight artists presented work covering displacement, integration, assimilation and exclusion. The powerful images provoked a reaction in viewers, challenging them, and highlighting new and different perceptions.
The debate reached a global audience of millions when the BBC World Service broadcast two live editions of World Have Your Say on the subject of multiculturalism from the summit.
Regional debates, intercultural training events and school links have started to offer skills development and networking opportunities for the 6,000 students, 200 teachers and 500 young leaders that the project team will work with over the next two years. The programme has also started to develop links with UK regions that have large migrant communities, to explore common themes. In addition, the photography and film exhibition will reach more than 100,000 people across the region.
Young volunteers from the UK have been working with their counterparts from the region on projects to support excluded groups in South-East Europe and in the UK. A group of Romanians and young Scots worked on renovating an orphanage and a young offenders centre in Edinburgh. In addition, a report has been compiled on the economic and social impact of immigrants on the cities they leave and those they settle in – including six cities in the region and Glasgow, Cardiff, Nottingham and Belfast in the UK.
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