PRESS RELEASE 176
High-Level meeting on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue in Barcelona (22 and 23 July)
21/07/2015
On 22 and 23 July the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona will host the High-Level Inter-institutional Meeting on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean Area.

The meeting is being held at the initiative of José Manuel García-Margallo, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. It is being organised in association with the Secretariat for the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Union, the Anna Lindh Foundation for Euro-Mediterranean Cross-Cultural Dialogue (ALF), the International Rey Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

The meeting responds to the growing recognition of intercultural and interreligious dialogue as a powerful tool to deal with the unprecedented increase in xenophobia, intolerance and extremisms, and as an instrument in favour of stability, peace and the fight against intolerance and to highlight the values of peaceful coexistence.

It is geared towards the launch of a comprehensive process that puts intercultural and interreligious dialogue at the heart of a renewed cooperation strategy in the Mediterranean, and it is being held on the 20th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Declaration of Barcelona and as part of the current context of a review of the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy.

The basic aim of this meeting is to promote cooperation between the institutions of which the states are members, taking advantage of complementarities and synergies to produce more effective action and a greater visibility. As well as the institutions, several personalities have been invited, including religious leaders and representatives of programmes implemented in civil society. The idea is that they can also contribute significant added value to the discussions and that it is important for the institutions, which often work mainly with Member States, to also have a connection with the leading actors in civil society.

The meeting will be a unique opportunity to examine the strategies to tackle two key questions raised by the institutions taking part in the process:

       - the tools and approaches that can provide effective coordination between the main regional actors; and
       - how to coordinate the implementation of a communication policy capable of increasing the visibility and impact of the main actions underway.

Both questions are related to the goal of making the institutions involved in intercultural and interreligious dialogue stronger through collective action, at a historic time in the region in which the challenges are greater than the individual institutions.

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