New York/Munich, 30 March 2016 — Ten initiatives have been named finalists by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group for the Intercultural Innovation Award. The selection process was highly competitive, with close to 1000 applications received from 120 countries.
The projects selected come from all over the world, representing countries across five continents and underlining the importance of the Intercultural Innovation Award and its commitment to the worldwide promotion of intercultural diversity and understanding.
Finalists this year include: The Blessing Basket Project – Artisan & You (USA), The Coexist Initiative – Girls Education Equity Project (Kenya), Give Something Back to Berlin e.V. – Give Something Back to Berlin (Germany), International Council for Cultural Centers – Bread Houses Network (Bulgaria), On Our Radar – From the Margins to the Front Page (UK), Red Dot Foundation – Safecity (India), Routes 2 Roots – Exchange for Change (India), Shine a Light - CanalCanoa (Brazil/USA), SINGA – SINGA Kiwanda (France) and Unistream – Educating Tomorrow's Leaders Today (Israel).
By supporting sustainable and innovative, intercultural grassroots initiatives with the potential for expansion and replication, the Intercultural Innovation Award aims to contribute to peace and to building more inclusive societies. Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is the result of a unique public-private partnership between the UNAOC and the BMW Group. This model of collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector creates a deeper impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project.
During one year, the selected initiatives can enjoy invaluable expert know-how and resources from the BMW Group and UNAOC. In addition to receiving monetary support, the finalists will have the opportunity to participate in training activities and workshops covering diverse subjects such as strategy and planning, implementation analysis and media training, as well as to become a part of the exclusive “Intercultural Leaders” network.
"We are very proud of our partnership with UNAOC and take great pleasure in seeing these grassroots initiatives thrive. In the past five years we have enjoyed outstanding results with our approach – the initiatives, UNAOC and the BMW Group alike have all reaped the fruits of our shared commitment. We are very pleased to move forward with this strong partnership to continue making a profound, positive impact on society, together," said Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President BMW Group Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications.
"Not only is the Alliance a platform for dialogue, it is also a tool for immediate action in the international community’s arsenal to prevent conflicts that are identity based. The Intercultural Innovation Award is a unique example of this mandate," said H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.
The final rankings will be announced during the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, April 25-27, 2016. The official award ceremony will take place on 26 April and will be chaired by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Bill McAndrews, Vice President BMW Group Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, in the presence of a number of officials from governments and the United Nations.
This year’s selected organizations and their social impact focus (in alphabetical order) are:
The Blessing Basket Project – Artisan & You (USA)
Patent pending technology that enables impoverished artisans to exchange letters with their customers around the world, creating powerful intercultural connections.
The Coexist Initiative – Girls Education Equity Project (Kenya)
Promotion of girls’ primary school enrollment and retention in Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps by engaging men, boys and communities to address the complex socio-cultural barriers that continue to impede girls’ education.
Give Something Back to Berlin e.V. – Give Something Back to Berlin (Germany)
Urban integration platform that strengthens cohesion by connecting new Berliners with social engagement and community service.
International Council for Cultural Centers – Bread Houses Network (Bulgaria)
Collective bread-making that unites people around the world to cooperate across cultures, ages, and special needs thereby building stronger communities.
On Our Radar – From the Margins to the Front Page (UK)
Use of SMS by marginalized young Sierra Leoneans to share their stories via international media outlets, boosting empathy, dialogue, understanding and support.
Red Dot Foundation – Safecity (India)
Platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and maps these trends at a local level, in order to make public spaces safer for all.
Routes 2 Roots – Exchange for Change (India)
Program for open dialogue to build trust and cultural similarities between India and Pakistan, with the aim of sustaining peace and resolving conflict.
Shine a Light – CanalCanoa (Brazil/USA)
Children from remote Amazonian villages make movies, cartoons, and music to teach other Brazilian children about their lives.
SINGA – SINGA Kiwanda (France)
Community of engaged people who support refugees to begin their own business or social project, through providing local knowledge, networks and resources.
Unistream – Educating Tomorrow's Leaders Today (Israel)
Three year program that encourages and promotes intercultural dialogue and understanding by utilizing educational and entrepreneurial platforms.