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UNITED NATIONS ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS (UNAOC) AND BMW GROUP ANNOUNCE 2013 WINNERS FOR THE INTERCULTURAL INNOVATION AWARD

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Marking the second year of a historic partnership, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group today announced ON FEBRUARY 12the 2013 finalists for The Intercultural Innovation Award, as it was shown in a press release sent to caleaeuropeana.ro.

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Since 2011, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group have engaged in a historic partnership geared towards creating a new model for collaboration between the private sector and the UN system. To that end, the two organizations have established The Intercultural Innovation Award whose mandate is to select highly innovative grassroots projects that promote dialogue and intercultural understanding and make vital contributions to prosperity and peace in global societies. The most outstanding projects receive award money as well as consulting services from the BMW Group and the UNAOC. Ten finalists will present their projects at the Viennese Volkstheatre on Tuesday, February 26th2013.

President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Incoming United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, will chair the ceremony, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. High-level representatives of the UNAOC and the BMW Group will give the award to the five top organizations.

“The Alliance is more than a platform for dialogue; it is also a tool at the service of the international community to prevent conflicts, especially those that are identity based. The Intercultural Innovation Award is a unique example of this mandate.” stated Al-Nasser.

In addition to offering a monetary prize, the UNAOC and the BMW Group are committed to helping these projects expand and replicate in other settings where they may be useful. Winners will become members of the World Intercultural Facility for Innovation (WIFI). WIFI is a platform for winners to connect with potential donors and mentors and to enter into a dialogue with other awardees. Under the coordination of the WIFI team, the winners of the Award will:

• Participate in conferences, trainings and workshops;

• Be connected to policy-makers and funders;

• Become active members of the WIFI community of practitioners and experts who help each other in achieving their particular goals;

• Receive customized project support based on the individual and specific needs;

Bill McAndrews from the BMW Group said: “As a company with associates from around the globe, intercultural understanding is an essential part of our daily work at the BMW Group. It is because of this that we are so proud of our strong partnership with the UNAOC. This collaboration and the Intercultural Innovation Award enable us to highlight some of the wonderful cross-cultural work being done worldwide. BMW Group’s commitment to the awardees extends beyond financial support to include every relevant resource we can offer. This can make the crucial difference in turning an idea into a practice that enriches peoples’ lives.”

This year’s finalists include:

Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group – Recycling as Bridge and Binder (India)

Through recycling, Chintan’s project promotes understanding between poor migrants and the middle class and wealthy residents of New Delhi.

Cultural Infusion – Sound Infusion (Australia)

Cultural Infusion is an innovative digital learning platform which utilizes music from all over the world to build intercultural understanding.

FilmAid – Filmmaker Training and Screening Program for Refugees and Host Communities (Kenya)

FilmAid is screening series and filmmaker training project creates opportunities for refugees and their host communities in refugee camps and urban areas across Kenya to share their stories.

IDResearch Kft. – Immigropoly (Hungary)

Immigropoly is a unique Internet-based character-game to increase the understanding of migration and integration in our global world, and targeted towards youth communities.

Kapamagogopa Inc. (KI) Volunteers – Muslim Youth Volunteering for interfaith dialogue and understanding (Philippines)

Local young Muslims are mobilized to work as volunteers in non-Muslim organizations to promote dialogue, understanding and development to non-Muslim and Muslim communities in Mindanao.

Plain Ink – When change reads like a book (Italy)

Plain Ink is a pioneering, non-profit social venture harnessing the power of stories, comics and children’s books to help children and communities overcome the stumbling blocks of poverty and social exclusion.

Puerta Joven – Languages of Youth (Mexico)

Lenguas Jóvenes is a project that fosters indigenous migrant youth cultural expressions through mobile phones for intercultural dialogue. Puerta Joven, a youth-led organization teaches the use of arts and new technologies as a way to promote cultural interaction and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Search for Common Ground Morocco – Multimedia & Intercultural relations in Morocco

SFCG-Morocco brings together young Moroccans and sub-Saharan migrants in Rabat and Casablanca to learn about video & multimedia and break down cultural stereotypes and prejudices.

TakingITGlobal – TakingITGlobal Online Community (Canada)

TakingITGlobal works to empower youth to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges. It serves youth worldwide through a multilingual online learning community and innovative education programs geared towards fostering active global citizenship.

The Parents Circle – Crack in the Wall (Israel/Palestine)

The Crack in the Wall is a neutral social network platform on Facebook with more than 10,000 active users. CITW allows Palestinians and Israelis to communicate with one another and express themselves on various topics through video, pictures, and posts with provided translation to the other language.

 

Details can be found here.

 

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MEP Vasile Blaga: The most effective weapon against Russia’s blackmail to turn off the gas tap is EU solidarity

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

The cut-off of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria should be the start of the EU finding solutions to disconnect Europe from the Russian Federation, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

The MEP stressed that the most effective weapon against Russia’s blackmail to turn off the “gas tap” is EU solidarity.

“A generalised and overnight disconnection of Europe from Russian resources is not realistic, but in the medium and long term it is the only solution. The dependence of large EU economies – such as Germany’s – is a major obstacle to this necessary disconnection, but a united reaction, comparable to that during the pandemic, can provide the solutions to get out of this situation, which is immoral to say the least”, said the liberal MEP for the CaleaEuropeana.ro.

According to the MEP, it is necessary, as a first step, even if only in principle, for all EU Member States to speak “with one voice” on eliminating energy dependence on Russia.

“It is obvious that the European democratic architecture is incompatible with the immoral paradox of financing Russia’s war machine in the context of military aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine. Then, without delay, we need to take concrete steps that will bring us within a reasonable timeframe closer to this priority objective”, added the EPP MEP.

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MEP Vasile Blaga will vote against transnational lists: This kind of electoral system would reduce democracy in the EU

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© Vasile Blaga / Facebook

The proposal for transnational lists for the upcoming European Parliament elections will be on the agenda of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

“In short, it is about two votes that voters should exercise. One, as at present, for MEPs who will represent national constituencies. The second vote is for 28 MEPs from a European Union constituency, proposed by coalitions of European political parties, national voters’ associations and European political parties,” the MEP explained to CaleaEuropeană.ro.

According to the MEP, this is a hybrid system that dilutes electoral representation and creates a greater distance between representatives and represented.

“My vote will be against this initiative, as will the vote of my political group, the EPP. Those who support transnational lists say they do it to increase democracy in the EU. I would say that this argument is completely wrong, such an electoral system would reduce democracy in the EU as voters will vote for people they do not know”, said Vasile Blaga.

He said that the issue is highly disputed within the EPP group, but the vast majority is “inclined to reject this system which, moreover, would clearly benefit large countries and disadvantage medium and small countries”.

“Moreover, such a system goes beyond the EU’s remit and in many countries even requires changes to their constitutions”.

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EP S&D Group President: There is no excuse not to allow Romania to join the Schengen area. It has met all the requirements the EU has asked of it

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© Marcel Ciolacu - Twitter

The President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, told a press conference with PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu on Monday that there is “no excuse” not to allow Romania to be accepted into the Schengen area and remain in this “situation of inequality with other countries”.

Iratxe Garcia Perez is visiting Romania. She will visit the port of Isaccea, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have arrived in recent weeks. Afterwards, the delegation will go to Galați for a meeting with local authorities and a visit to the refugee centre, and the next day the visit continues to the Republic of Moldova.

“I would like to thank the President of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament for his presence in Romania and his support for the PSD and our country at key moments, particularly at this very difficult time given what is happening in Ukraine,” said PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu.

The two discussed the European response to the current situation in the economic, social and humanitarian fields.

“I presented to Mrs Perez the steps taken by the social democratic ministers to manage the refugee situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, our country’s ambition for Romania to become a strategic regional hub for the reconstruction of Ukraine and the development of the Black Sea area. Romanians have shown that they can be a positive example at European level”, continued Marcel Ciolacu.

The PSD president also reiterated that Romania should join the Schengen area as soon as possible in order to increase Romania’s role in the region. 

“We need a common response from the EU regarding the energy crisis, the future approach in the field of agriculture, as well as to support the states bordering Ukraine”, said Marcel Ciolacu, after the meeting with the leader of the Social Democrat group in the European Parliament.

For her part, Iratxe Garcia Perez stressed that Romania meets all the technical criteria required by the European Union in order to join the Schengen area.

“There is no excuse for this not to be a reality as soon as possible. There is no excuse not to allow Romania to be accepted into the Schengen area and remain in this situation of inequality with other countries. Romania has done its job, Romania has fulfilled all the requirements that the EU asked of it to join the Schengen area”, said the chair of the S&D Group in the European Parliament.  

At the end of his speech, Iratxe Garcia Perez offered Romania his personal and political commitment to “work together to make this a reality as soon as possible”.

“Romania is showing what the EU needs, namely solidarity and commitment. And we must respond to all this generosity that the Romanian people are showing towards the EU”, she added.

Iratxe Garcia Perez also discussed how Romanian citizens and authorities reacted to the war in Ukraine.

“I want to thank you for your hard work and for the solidarity shown by the Romanian people in these difficult times. Today I could see with my own eyes that the Romanian Government and the Romanian people are working with great commitment, respecting the principles and values of the European Union, and it has been proven once again that you are doing this in an exemplary way for the whole EU. We have seen for ourselves by visiting the school centre where a group of minors from an orphanage in Ukraine are being cared for and received in a way that deserves appreciation. It is an example of how we should act in the EU,” she told the conference at PSD headquarters.

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