Finland/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

There are no general programmes, strategies or debate forums aimed at enhancing intercultural dialogue. Ethnic cultural relations and the establishment and maintenance of intercultural dialogue have been left, by and large, to cities, educational planners and schools. The Finnish case studies illustrate how Helsinki has enhanced multicultural dialogue. The importance of the EU Structural Funds and INTERREG programmes are mentioned in chapter 3.4.4. The following cases provide further evidence of their importance in developing cross-border intercultural dialogue.

The case of the Calotte Academy illustrates the participation of Finnish researchers in cross-border intercultural dialogue. The Calotte Academy is a travelling symposium, with a series of sessions and panels to be held in Finland, Norway and Russia. The Academy has been organised practically every year since 1991 in research and development centres of the North Calotte Region, most often in Salla and Inari (Finland); in Apatity and Murmansk (Russia) and Kirkenes, Norway. The main themes of most recent (2014-2016) Academy sessions are:

  • Resilience related to Sustainable Development in Globalization (2016);
  • Resources and Security in the Globalized Arctic (2015); and
  • ‘Resource geopolitics - Sovereignty’ in the Arctic region (2014).

Youth organisations have also been active in offering opportunities to their members and youth in general to get involved in international activities. Their umbrella organisation "Allianssi" works in co-operation with the Youth Division of the Ministry of Education and Culture to activate young people in general and enhance their international interests in particular. The initiation of the international programme AVARTTI –Youth in Action programme - is a good example. The programme is internationally known as The International Award for Young People. The programme was first launched in Great Britain in 1956 and is now in operation in 122 countries. The international license was obtained by the Youth Division, but the programme is managed by the Avartti Office, operated by Allianssi. The idea of AVARTTI is that young people can select for themselves an activity programme consisting of components from three activity domains: service, skills, sports and expedition, and earn a medal on three levels (bronze, silver and gold). Although most activities are carried out in Finland, the Finnish AVARTTI is a member of the International Award Association and its activity planning and many of its meetings are international.

In addition to Allianssi, there is another important umbrella NGO, the Service Centre for Development Cooperation KEPA. This centre is a service base for Finnish NGOs interested in development work and global issues and over 250 such organisations work under its umbrella. It acts as a trustee and representative of its member organisations and assists them in enhancing their activities through training and expert advice. In the field of cultural co-operation, it organises annually the "World Village Festival" in Helsinki. The Festival is at the same time a cultural event and a meeting point for different areas of development work.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section


Chapter published: 25-04-2017


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