4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, has promoted intercultural dialogue and the defence of diversity in many international forums. In April 2006, the Ministry of Culture held the meeting "Europe for intercultural dialogue", with the aim of making intercultural dialogue a permanent process in Europe and an element present at all levels of action of the European Union. This meeting followed in the spirit of the Alliance of Civilisations concluded with a Declaration of the Presidency, which expressed the reference points to bear in mind in this permanent process of intercultural dialogue, which must have the support of civil society and a flexible focus able to respond to the needs of cities that are becoming increasingly heterogeneous. Spain led this process with the I National Plan for the Alliance of Civilisations which was approved in January 2008. From the experience of this Plan, the II National Plan for the Alliance of Civilisations for the period 2010-2014 continues with the task of driving towards the development of projects and actions aimed at favouring mutual knowledge and respect for cultural diversity, at promoting understanding, and the acquisition of civic values and of a culture of peace. The goals of the II Plan are implemented in the following priority spheres: education, youth, migration and the media. Moreover, the Plan advances projects and actions oriented towards full equality between men and women. In cultural terms, the Plan seeks to reinforce mutual understanding between different cultures, reaffirming a paradigm of mutual respect and reciprocal recognition between them, and to facilitate the involvement of cultural industries in achieving the Alliance of Civilisation's goals.
The commitment of the government to the principles of the Alliance is reflected in university and training agreements, cultural heritage preservation projects, the promotion of intercultural dialogue, and partnerships with international institutions that foster cultural diversity. The current government, which had strongly criticised the initiative when it was the major opposition party, has assumed the institutional position of the previous government, although it has reduced the budget by half to the project.
With the aim of preparing the European Year of Inter Cultural Dialogue 2008(ICD), in March 2007 the central government approved the creation of a National Commission for the Promotion of ICD (367/2007 Royal Decree). In late January 2008, the National Commission for the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue adopted the programme of activities to celebrate during the 2008 European Year of ICD. The various actions that took place around the country include: the "Biblio-Dialogue Project in Europe" in collaboration with the Three Cultures Foundation; the Festival "They create" in collaboration with the Institute for Women; the "International Festival on Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue" in collaboration with the Interarts Foundation; and the launch of the "2008 Culturas" project, through the State Corporation for Cultural Commemorations, developed entirely via the Internet, with the objective of facilitating communication, exchange of experiences and dialogue between different cultures.
At the local level, Barcelona (Catalonia) celebrated the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004. This vast international event, organised jointly by Barcelona City Council, the Autonomous government of Catalonia and the Spanish government, was structured around three central themes approved by UNESCO: cultural diversity, sustainable development and conditions for peace.
At present, and especially at the local level, the third sector and the public sector (through cultural houses and civic centres) run numerous activities and projects designed to promote cultural dialogue and understanding, especially in those territories with many immigrants.