Wien, 2. March 2010 Press release

Austrian commitment to intercultural dialogue in the Mediterranean region

Representatives of seven Austrian NGOs participate in the 4-7 March meeting

Vienna, 2 March 2010 –Austria will be represented at the Anna Lindh Forum in Barcelona by seven civil society representatives from the following NGOs: Austrian Music Encounter – Sounding Jerusalem, the Intercultural Centre, Ideaz Institute, Oikodrom – the Vienna Institute for Urban Sustainability, World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations, the Centre for Christian-Islamic Encounter of the Archdiocese of Vienna, and the former chief editor of the daily Der Standard, Gerfried Sperl. They all will be engaged in intercultural dialogue within the framework of the Mediterranean Union at the Forum, which is to take place between 4-7 March 2010.

Some 700 representatives of NGOs and high-ranking experts from the spheres of politics, culture and business have been invited to exchange information on common projects and discuss possibilities of engagement in cross-cultural dialogue between the various cultures around the Mediterranean.

The assembly of NGO representatives at the Anna Lindh Foundation – ALF - Forum is the largest ever, and primarily serves to launch project cooperation programmes in such areas as education, youth, intercultural learning, artistic cooperation and production, peace and co-existence (with a focus on the Middle East), migration and diversity, religion, spirituality and values.

The Forum offers its participants an opportunity to discuss the Foundation’s future thematic orientation and the concept of interculturality, as well as issue recommendations for the political decision-makers. The venue alsoprovides a milieu in which the contributors can get to know each other at a personal level, exchange opinions and develop partnerships between North and South.

Under the common umbrella of intercultural exchange and dialogue, mutual tolerance and respect for diversity, the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) views itself as a network of networks and brings together more than 3,000 NGOs and civil society representatives drawn from the 43 partnership countries of the Union for the Mediterranean. Supporting local projects between NGOs to the north and south of the Mediterranean Sea, the ALF promotes the idea of participation and involvement, and tries to build bridges that act as a link across the divide. Projects funded by the ALF are therefore designed to promote understanding between cultures, respect the freedom of faith and religion as well as support human rights and democracy.

Austria has been involved in the ALF network since its creation in 2005 and has been active together with some 45 NGOs which are members of the ALF network. Coordination of the Austrian network is carried out by the Dialogue between Cultures task force at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.

Named after the Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who was murdered in 2003, the ALF is a key interlocutor in the dialogue within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which aims to establish a network based on intercultural exchange between Europe and the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Anna Lindh Forum 2010

Anna Lindh Foundation

Contact:
Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at

Mag. Agnes Tuna
Koordinatorin des österr. ALF-Netzwerks
Tel.: +43 (0) 50 1150-3547
agnes.tuna(at)bmeia.gv.at