4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
Switzerland considers itself to be a multilingual and multicultural country, making for a strong link between intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.
Discussing national cohesion, including the co-existence and mutual understanding of the different cultural communities – both Swiss and foreign -, is a matter of permanent cultural priority in Switzerland. Accordingly, cultural projects are particularly useful in opening up dialogue, organising productive meetings, and strengthening mutual respect. Along this line, culture is called upon to reinforce national cohesion - expressed in the form of well-defined exchange projects. Pro Helvetia, as well as other organisations, (e.g., the ch Foundation), support the translation of literary and non-literary works from one national language into another. In addition, private initiatives like "TransHelvetia" organise cooperation projects and exchanges between theatre companies within the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland.
Here, reference can be made to the language policy of the federal government, which is partly implemented by the Federal Office of Culture and Pro Helvetia (see chapter 4.2.5).
The funding criteria set out by Pro Helvetia can be seen as a practical example of many other institutions. Pro Helvetia promotes pilot projects in Switzerland and abroad, especially projects deepening the debate on art and society in the force field between global, national, and local cultures. Priority is given to projects closely related to the focal theme of the unity of literature and society. Efforts also include the funding of related events, networks, publications, and exhibitions.