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Intercultural Dialogue Europe


Major Challenges High number of immigrants, with repercussions for employment and labour market; General problem: ‘Visible difference' still invites stereotypes. Presence of extreme right parties with political representation at the local level. In areas with high immigrant density: measures to avoid "ghettoisation" in public schools.Efforts to prevent discrimination and to develop a more just and egalitarian society.
Main InterpretationsAction of solidarity towards greater social cohesion. A factor for improving all aspects of living together in society (active citizenship, employment, working conditions, promotion and protection of cultural diversity) and worldwide (good neighbourhoods, factor of credibility in foreign policies etc.) ICD as a permanent process with a bottom-up flow of participation.

1. General authority

Spain is a country with a decentralised structure, so all actions implying cross-functional development and transversal issues must be established through coordination bodies. 

Ministry of Work and Social Affairs through its Secretary of State for Immigration and Emigration

The Ministry coordinates the policy of the Central Government in matters of immigration and social integration.

Policies: Strategic Plan on Citizenship and Integration (2007-2010).

The plan is oriented to foster social cohesion through the promotion of public policies based on the principles of:

  • equality and non-discrimination,
  • citizenship and
  • interculturality, regarding the relationship between people of different cultures as opposed to both assimilation and to the mere coexistence of parallel communities without any common ground. Besides aiming at respect for diversity, it also aims to raise the consciousness among immigrants of belonging to the Spanish community. 

Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants

The Forum is the consulting, informing and advising entity for Spain's national government and, when appropriate, for the 17 autonomous regional and local governments in matters of immigration 

Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias - FEMP)

FEMP is an umbrella association of local entities with more than 6.900 Spanish municipalities in total, representing local interests and local autonomy with regard to the central government, and is in charge of the implementation of governmental programmes at local level and promoting international relationships of local entities. 

EYID-coordination body:

National Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (to be created based on a Royal Decree)

The National Commission ensures the participation of the Spanish State, Regional Communities, Local Bodies and civil society in the actions of the EYID. Interim Body in the meantime:

Ministry of Culture's Directorate-General for Cultural Cooperation and Communication

The National Commission for Intercultural Dialogue will be set up within this DG.

National implementation strategy: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/eac/dialogue/strategies_en.html

2. Culture

Ministry of Culture

Institute of Gypsy Culture (Instituto de la Cultura Gitana)
Founded in June 2007 with support of the Ministry.

Its activities are aimed at the community of gypsies, which has maintained its own identity in Spain. The goal is to contribute to harmonious relations between the various groups and cultures present in Spanish culture, paying special attention to equality of opportunity and to combating discrimination. The Institute also supports the development and promotion of gypsy history, culture and language, and contributes to its dissemination through research, publications and the organisation of academic and cultural events.


Ateneu Popular 9 Baris. Nous Barris

Social intervention through culture.

La Carrera del Gancho. San Pablo / Zaragoza

A kind of summer carnival parade for which local artists prepare, together with the people of the neighbourhood, the creation, production and execution of a street party with artistic performances. The motto for 2007 was "Bosque de Culturas" (Forest of Cultures) presenting the different cultures interwoven in the quarter.

3. Education

Ministry of Education and Science (MEC)

Policies: Special attention given to diversity in all national education laws.


MEC has created a Resource Centre for Attention to Cultural Diversity in Education (CREADE) http://apliweb.mec.es/creade/index.do, which aims to provide a place for dialogue and reflection and, in general, resources for educational action or social intervention from an intercultural perspective. Originated as a response to the concerns of professionals in the educational and social spheres with regard to cultural diversity and all its implications Autonomous Communities:Main responsibility for educational issues lies with the 17 Autonomous Communities: Regional Departments of Education (http://www.mec.es/mecd/jsp/plantilla.jsp?area=ccaa&id=88)

Civil society (EX):

IC Education website Aula intercultural (http://www.aulaintercultural.org/sommaire.php3?lang=en) Co-produced by the labour organisation UGT, the Centre of Educational Research and Documentation (CIDE), the Institute of Migration and Social Services (IMSERSO) and others, aiming to combat all forms of racism and xenophobia. 

ETANE Association

This NGO intends to improve the knowledge about cultural, social, political and economic reality of Black Africa through the realisation of projects in the fields of education, development cooperation and immigration, launching awareness programmes targeting teachers and students, proposing to enrich the educational system with elements from Black African culture.

4. Youth

Youth Institute (INJUVE)

Self governmental public body dependent on the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs, cooperating with the 17 Regional governments in charge of youth.

EX: Intercultural Meetings offering different training and debate activities organised by professionals and experts working with youth.

5. Sports

High Sports Council (Consejo Superior de Deportes)

Self governmental public body dependent on the Ministry of Education and Science (MEC), cooperating with the 17 regional governments in charge of sports. The Council addresses racism in sports and especially football, which is remarkably high in Spain. To this purpose, it has established the National Commission against Violence in Sports Events.

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Autonomous Communities: The 17 Autonomous Communities are largely independent in policy-making and developing its own funding and support systems. There is a big variety of strategies, plans and activities being implemented throughout the country. (http://www.la-moncloa.es/Espana/ElEstado/OrganizacionTerritorial/default.htm)

REGIONAL POLICIES: ICD plans in Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia, Extremadura, Valencian Community, etc.; Integration Programmes in Andalusia, Aragon, Murcia, Galicia, etc. See information about numerous actions taken by Autonomous Communities: http://apliweb.mec.es/creade/IrASeccionFront.do?id=131&flag_portada=1

EX: Programme on Pluri-Lingualism and Inter-Culturality 2005-2008 in Andalusia (http://aulaintercultural.org/IMG/pdf/plurilinguismo.pdf)

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Policies: References to ICD in the Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2005-2008 

PLUS: Spain programmatically fosters the extension of European intercultural dialogue into other cultural spaces with a certain focus on Latin America and the Mediterranean, see e.g. 

Alliance of Civilizations (AoC)

This initiative was proposed by the President of the Spanish Government at the 59th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 2005. It was taken up by the UN Secretary General and is co-sponsored by the Spanish and the Turkish Prime Ministers. Its objective is to galvanize collective action across diverse societies in order to combat extremism, overcome cultural and social barriers between mainly the Western and predominantly Muslim worlds, and to reduce the tensions and polarization between societies which differ in religious and cultural values. See Report of the AoC's High-level Group: http://www.unaoc.org/repository/report.htm

European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED)

Governmental body with participation of different administrative levels (City of Barcelona, Catalan Government, Spanish Ministry), a Board of Trustees including civil society and an Advisory Council made up of prestigious Mediterranean personalities.

Policies: Aiming at fostering dialogue between the EU and other Mediterranean countries, initiating reflection and debate on Mediterranean societies, promoting cooperation, lobbying "Mediterranean concerns" etc.

Foundation Three Cultures of the Mediterranean (Fundación tres culturas del Mediterraneo)

Founded in 1999, with the participation of the Moroccan Kingdom, the Junta de Andalucía, the Peres Peace Centre, the National Palestinian Authority and other persons and institutions from Israel. Forum based on the principles of peace, dialogue and tolerance, promoting the merging between people and cultures from the Mediterranean.The Foundation organises concerts, film festivals, meetings, trainings courses and other events.