Intercultural Leaders, a project of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in partnership with the BMW Group, is an exclusive skills and knowledge-sharing platform for civil society organizations and young leaders that work on addressing cross-cultural tensions.
Alumni of various UNAOC programs and projects, professionals from partner organizations and a group of mentors, form Intercultural Leaders. Through an innovative online system, Intercultural Leaders harnesses the solidarity of its members to maximize the impact of their work and help them foster cross-cultural understanding and cooperation. By strengthening civil society capacities, Intercultural Leaders also enhances UNAOC’S role as a convener, catalyst, and thought leader.
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was established in 2005, as the political initiative of Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey.
A High-Level Group of experts was formed by Mr. Annan to explore the roots of polarization between societies and cultures today, and to recommend a practical programme of action to address this issue. The Report of the High-Level Group provided analysis and put forward practical recommendations that form the basis for the implementation plan of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
On 7 January 2019, H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos assumed the position of High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, succeeding H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who succeeded H.E. Mr. Jorge Sampaio.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations High Representative and Secretariat are based and operating from New York. The Alliance maintains a global network of partners including states, international and regional organizations, civil society groups, foundations, and the private sector to improve cross-cultural relations between diverse nations and communities.
In its 2006 report, the High-Level Group identified four priority areas for action: Education, Youth, Migration, Media. UNAOC project activities, fashioned around these four areas, which can play a critical role in helping to reduce cross-cultural tensions and to build bridges between communities. In 2019, Mr. Moratinos announced that he intends to propose adding “Women as peace mediators” as an additional pillar of UNAOC.
The BMW Group
With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 31 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. To learn more, click here.
UNAOC and the BMW Group entered a historical partnership in 2011. The cooperation was formally established during the General Assembly of the UN on 23 September 2011, at the UN headquarters in New York. Through its commitment to social entrepreneurship, with programs such as the BMW Group Award and numerous others, the BMW Group has promoted cooperative dialogue between different cultures for decades. From 1997 to 2010, the BMW Group has honored 45 projects and scientific research projects with its awards for Intercultural Learning/Commitment. This longstanding commitment to intercultural dialogue was essential to ensure a successful collaboration between the partners.
“We believe that companies have an inherent responsibility to act as responsible employers and corporate citizens, and are constantly looking for new ways to add value to the societies and environments where they operate. As a company with associates from around the globe, intercultural understanding is an important success factor for the BMW Group. We firmly believe that intercultural dialogue is fundamental to building strong civic societies and to fostering economic development. That’s why we take pride in our long-standing partnership with UNAOC. Our 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 reality that improves peoples”, comments Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources, Labour Relations Director.
Intercultural Innovation Award
The Intercultural Innovation Award is a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group that selects and supports the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and work toward a more peaceful and socially inclusive world by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities, rejecting violent extremism and embracing diversity.
The award is given to 10 not-for-profit organizations promoting intercultural dialogue and fostering diverse and inclusive societies. Organizations should be active in the fields of migration and integration; intercultural awareness; education for intercultural citizenship; or be organizations addressing the needs of specific groups in promoting intercultural understanding (e.g. faith-based, youth, women, media, etc.) They must have a track record of managing intercultural projects and willingness to expand their range of action.
By the end of 2020, the award impacted 116 countries. Additionally, the award has benefited more than 6 million individuals around the world since its establishment in 2011.