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Intercultural Dialogue Europe



Major Challenges

Demographical change gradually becoming an issue, some xenophobic incidents and undertones in the media; further developing of integration policies.

General Approach to ICD


Public action (national):
UOP (different aspects)

Public action (regional/ local): SCI

NGOs/Foundations (national):

Main Interpretations

Austria as a geographical and historical "bridge" to Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Generally speaking, "integration" is mainly perceived by the public authorities as a one-sided requirement for migrants - a fact that NGOs through its activities try to counterbalance.

1.  General authority

Attention: In Austria, responsibility for culture and for school education is generally divided between the Federation and the Laender (regional governments).

Federal Ministry of the Interior

Units with responsibility for citizenship, asylum, integration and care.

EX: During EU-Presidency 2006: Conference "Dialogue of cultures and religions" (with main focus on international security);

In 2006, the Ministry commissioned a study on Integration of Muslims in Austria concluding a "remarkable resistance to integration" which created vivid public debates.

Austrian Integration Fund - Fund for the Integration of Refugees and Migrants

Financing through the Ministry of the Interior and UNHCR. The Fund is the most important institution for the integration of refugees in Austria. Refugees who have been granted the right of asylum receive aid from the Fund during the first three years of their integration process. The Fund is also responsible for ensuring the migrants' linguistic competence in German. It provides co-funding to cultural associations providing spaces to reflect upon migrant experiences (inter-ministerial).

Austrian Federal Chancellery

The AFC is responsible for all relevant matters on the six ethnic minority groups in Austria (e.g. Slovenes, Croats, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma) including administration of the legal framework (e.g. ‘Ethnic Groups Act') and promoting or subsidising their activities.

Austria is signatory of international agreements on the protection of ethnic minorities (e.g. European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages). Special advisory bodies (so called Volksgruppenbeiräte) made up of representatives from the different ethnic minority groups.


The Government Programme 2007-2010 (Regierungsprogramm) provides for the creation of an "integration platform", which was presented by the Federal Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor and the Minister of the Interior on 15 October 2007. On the basis of this platform, a set of integration measures is to be elaborated, which will also focus on "intercultural dialogue" as an important topic.

EYID-coordination body:

Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Head of Department of EU Cultural Affairs

It operates in cooperation with the partner institutions of the national committee.

In preparation for the EYID, the Ministry has charged the NGO EDUCULT (http://www.educult.at/) with studies on the concept of ICD and recommendations for possible lines of action.

2. Culture

The government expressed its will to strengthen its support of inter-regional cultural intitiatives and intercultural projects.

Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture

Promotion of cultural diversity declared a central goal of Austrian Cultural Policy.

ATTENTION: Responsibility for arts and culture is generally divided between the Federation and the Laender (regional governments).

Among the many smaller, but highly committed intiatives are:

MAIZ - Autonomous Migration Centre by & for migrants

Located in the city of Linz, aimed at making changes to migrants' living and work conditions in Austria as well as strengthening their political and cultural participation. Activities in the fields of education, counseling, streetwork, cultural work, public relations, research.

Festival Soho in Ottakring

Independent Broadcasting Channels

Such as Radio Orange (in Vienna, with focus on interculture & migration) and Okto TV (Vienna).

3. Education

Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture

Responsible for primary and secondary education, including intercultural learning (since 1992 part of the curriculum). A series of programmes and projects have been set up, some examples below.


ATTENTION: Responsibility for school matters is generally divided between the Federation and the Laender (regional governments).

KulturKontakt Austria (KKA)

KKA is one of the largest Austrian centres of excellence for arts & cultural education, cultural dialogue and educational cooperation activities carried out with Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe. In the context of the EYID, it is responsible for PR activities.

4. Youth

Federal Ministry for Health, Family and Youth

Action programme Youth for Tolerance and Democracy.

5. Sports

State Secretariat in the Federal Chancellery

Measures / projects carried out during the course of the European Soccer Championships 2008 (co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland).

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Federal Ministry of Labour and Economic Affairs (BMWA)

Work experience to be seen as part of vocational training. Website of AMS, the Public Employment Service: http://www.ams.or.at/.

EX: The BMWA supports the Intercultural communal action plan (IKAP) (http://www.ikap.at/) which was run from 2005 to 2007 in Steyr, Graz and a local district of Vienna, aimed at providing equal conditions for migrants in order to improve their integration to the labour market.

ATTENTION: In the Austrian federal system it is primarily local governments - regions (Laender), towns and communities - which initiate or assist activities to promote cultural diversity in local communities, sometimes also launching their own diversity strategies e.g. the City of Vienna in 2003.

Federal Ministry of Science and Research


  • Programme Xenophobia (1995-2001, 30 projects); see database concerning research on xenophobia http://datenbank.ikf.ac.at/
  • New orientations for democracy in Europe (2002-2006, 30 projects), see http://www.node-research.at/
  • ICD-related research at the different universities/faculties

The Human Rights Advisory Board (HRAB)

Established in 1999 in response to repeated recommendations by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). The members of the HRAB, who are appointed by the Federal Minister of the Interior for an office period of three years are independent and not subject to directions when implementing their tasks.


Asylkoordination Österreich

Provision of advisory support and information services to organisations and individuals on issues with relevance to migrants and refugees. Founded in 1991 as a reaction to growing xenophobic attitudes in society.

Initiative Minderheiten (Initiative Minorities)

NGO acting as a platform, network and intermediary for minorities in Austria. Aiming at the establishment of a society where different concepts of life can be realised and are equally supported. Efforts to strengthen the sociopolitical voice of minorities and migrants (e.g. via "minority alliances").

Interkulturelles Zentrum Vienna

Since more than 20 years, the independent NGO Interkulturelles Zentrum (IZ) aims at enhancing intercultural relations, both on the national and international level, trough educational and cross-border youth projects, international school partnerships as well as intercultural and diversity management in Austria. IZ collaborates with a worldwide network of social scientists, pedagogues and activists, foundations, international bodies (e.g. Council of Europe, UNESCO, EU) and national governments. PLUS:

Mediacult - http://www.mdw.ac.at/mediacult/

This research body at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna has initiatied a study on structures, repertoires, and strategies of cultural entrepreneurs in different immigrant communities of Vienna ("Embedded Industries").

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA)

Initiative Dialogue of Cultures; Platform Kultur-Mitteleuropa; Organisation of several meetings: Islam in a pluralistic World (2005), Euromed-Seminar Racism and Xenophobia in the media (2006), Conference on Muslim women and youth (2007). Activities in preparation: Touring exhibition abroad Muslims in Austria presenting "positive examples of integration".

Austrian Development Agency

Providing some funding for projects in the field of culture, (e.g. Bhutan) but not as a priority.