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Intercultural Dialogue Europe



Major Challenges

Conflicts of values: Religious influences versus laicism, traditionalism versus modernisation and globalisation, tradition and innovation, communitarism versus Communauté (one community); in 2005, riots and violent clashes in suburbs with large share of immigrant population; incidents of racism and xenophobia (sports events, antisemitic profanations of cemetaries and other actions of right-wing radicals).

Main Interpretations


Highlighting cultural diversity of French citizens and worldwide (state), affirmative action for different cultures (regional, local), inter-cultural encounters (NGOs); preservation and strengthening of the "Francophonie" (French speaking countries' Association), mission of "international solidarity" in cases of injustice and violence of human/civil rights. France sees its Overseas-Departments (remaining from colonial past) as a good terrain to illustrate a successful integration policy while respecting and fostering cultural diversity of resident population.

1. General authority

There is no general authority for Intercultural Dialogue.

Basis of French policy is found in Article 1 of the French constitution which does not recognise differences between individuals on the basis of religion, origin nor race. Hence, France's approach is universalist and "minorities" (be they ehtnic, religios, linguistic or other) are not recognised as such.

EYID-coordination body:

Ministry of Culture and Communication, Delegate for development and international affairs
(Ministère Culture Communication, Délégation au développement et aux affaires internationales)
in cooperation with the Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration

Attention: In the second half of EYID 2008, France will hold the EU Presidency!

2.  Culture

Ministry of Culture and Communication, Delegate for development and international affairs (DDAI)
(Ministère Culture Communication, Délégation au développement et aux affaires internationales)


  • Several relevant institutions are run by the Ministry, e.g. National Center for the History of Immigration CNHI; Musée du quai Branly: museum of non-Western arts (Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas); Museum of euro-mediterranean civilisations MUCEM (Marseilles);
  • The DDAI has initiated and coordinated 3 working groups on cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in cultural industries, education and society (reports available online).

Commission Images de la Diversité

Commission established in 2007 under the joint structure of  Acse (see 6.) and the Centre Nationale de la Cinématographie http://www.cnc.fr/ with the objective to support the film and audiovisual production works dealing with the diversity of France and with equality of chances, thus contributing to social cohesion. The budget foresees the support of 500 projects per year.

PLUS : A lot of initiatives and projects driven by NGOs and artists address problems of immigrants and repercussions of French colonialism on the present situation.

3. Education

Ministry of National Education

POLICIES: Basic principles of equality of opportunities and social cohesion.

EX: An interministerial project - with participation of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning - has been the creation of priority areas for education (ZEP) in 1981 giving more liberty in teaching and additional financial allocations to schools as a response to social tensions and evident development obstacles for the population in certain suburbs. Thus, the Ministry of Education visibly moved away from its traditional egalitarism.

An institution documenting press clippings on the issue is the

Obervatoire des zones prioritaires

The Ministry's Direction of European and International Relations and Cooperation (DREIC)

Contribution to international opening of the French educational system and to the development of the Francophonie.

Interministerial portal for artistic and cultural education with Ministry of Culture

High Council for Cutural education (with the Ministry of Culture)

Attention: Due to the strict separation of the State and church, the wearing of visible religious symbols in all institutions of public education is forbidden by law.

4. Youth

National Institute for Youth and Popular education (Institut National de la Jeunesse et de l'Education Populaire - INJEP)

The INJEP is a state institute attached to the French Ministry of Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations (MJSVA). It is mainly occupied with European and international youth activities, provides publications on both youth and community education and promotes new information and communication technologies for youth and voluntary organisations.

Civil society (EX):

Committee for National and International Relations of Youth and Non Formal Organisations (CNAJEP)

The CNAJEP actively strives for democratic and republican ideals. It seeks to achieve the involvement of social movements in political, economic, cultural and social policies through education, innovation and social intervention with and on behalf of children, young people and adults.

Enjeu (Challenge)

National movement of the local (quartier/banlieues) associations caring about children's rights. These associations plead for change in the quality of life in the quartier, meaning an amelioration of children's lives.

5.  Sports

Ministry for Health, Youth and Sport (Ministère de la Santé, de la Jeunesse et des Sports)

The Ministry disposes of a decentralised service network consisting of 22 regional and 74 departemental directorates of youth and sports.

6.  Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Ministry of Immigration, Integration, national Identity and co-Development
(Ministre de l'Immigration, de l'Intégration, de l'Identité nationale et du Codéveloppement)

Established by President Sarkozy in summer 2007, with four main objectives: to restrain the immigration flows, to bring forward the integration process, to promote French identity and to encourage "co-development" (strengthening societies and personal skills of people inside their countries of origin).

Policies: Plan de Cohésion Sociale.

National Agency for social cohesion and equal opportunities (Acse)
(l'Agence nationale pour la cohésion sociale et l'égalité des chances)

Acse aims at the integration of the immigrant population by fighting discrimination and developing specific programmes for urban areas, focussing on education, health, employment, prevention of criminality and social cohesion, further promoting equal access of all residents to knowledge and culture. The Acse is responsible to the Ministry of Immigration (above) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (http://www.logement.gouv.fr/)

High Authority of Combat against Discrimination and for Equality (Halde)

Fighting discrimination with legal measures.

Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration

This institution opened in Summer 2007. Its main objective is to acknowledge and to highlight the role of immigrants in French statebuilding. The Cité shall be a historical place where to share the history of immigration in France over the past two centuries. Scope of activities: Permanent immigration museum, temporary exhibitions, congresses, pedagogical activities for teachers, network of partner organisations, artistic events etc.

Attention: From the 70s on, France has given authorisation to foreign workers to settle their family with them in France. This had led to an increase of the foreign population with the effect that national cultural policies had to recognize the "coexistence" of different cultures in France.

Conseil français du culte musulman

Has been officially created with the support of the then Minister of Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy. It is an association designed to represent the Muslims of France. In this function, it also aims at establishing an intercultural dialogue between the religions.

Civil society (EX):

Institut Montaigne ("Independant Think Tank")

In 2004, the Institute promoted the idea of a Charte de la diversité in order to encourage enterprises to take better account of the potential of French diversity and to strategically focus on non discrimination and diversity. That same year, 35 entrepreneurs signed the Charta. In 2007, the affiliated enterprises increased to 1500, thus expressing their self-commitment to cultural and ethnic diversity in relation to the labour market and to the provision of required qualifications.

7.  Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes)

Traditionally, special emphasis on North-South relations (2/3 of the francophone countries belong to the "South" - developing countries), as well as to the Near East Region. Another centre of interest is the cultural development of European regions.


Charged by the Foreign Ministry and the Minister of Culture for all international cultural exchange activities. Among them, aiming at establishing equitable and permanent relationships between world cultures.

Maison des Cultures du Monde

LOCAL LEVEL: As international and cultural cooperation is decentralised, local authorities have their own activities.