Intercultural dialogue is a process that comprises an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals and groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds and heritage, on the basis of mutual understanding and respect.Since its inception within international and inter-governmental agencies, such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, intercultural dialogue  has been employed to advance the agendas of social cohesion, inter-group solidarity, and intercultural understanding.

The challenge for ICD in the socio-cultural context of COVID-19 is that not only are these objectives constrained due to lockdown rules and the restrictions on almost all forms of direct human contact and mobility, but also that the pandemic itself has unfortunately generated new forms of ethno-cultural racism, intensified inequalities, and further exposed systematic structural discrimination.

In the context of COVID-19 and its emphasis on physical distancing and immobility, the practice of ICD, in its structured and unstructured forms, has shifted mainly to online platforms.This shift has facilitated and maintained much needed conversations across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic lines. The need for dialogue during COVID-19 has become even more pronounced as the pandemic not only exposed vulnerabilities and inequalities but also caused new forms of discrimination that require urgent action by governments, civil society activists, and health practitioners

The EYNCRIN Intercultural Dialogue HUB focuses on the following fields of research, community outreach and cooperation.

  • Awareness-raising role of intercultural dialogue in addressing specific community and youth organization issues.
  • Education and Training: intercultural training for youth workers and youth leaders; intercultural learning cities: mobility, migration and intercultural cities.
  • Media: cross-cultural youth studies; young journalists reporting and the role of media in shaping perceptions about other cultures among young people.
  • Culture: youth arts and translation for dialogue
  • Youth activities: youth exchanges, trainings, conferences and workshops
  • Gender: fighting gender and cultural stereotyping.

The EYNCRIN Intercultural Dialogue HUB aims at acting as a hub, gathering all initiatives and resources related to Intercultural Dialogue in Europe, emerging from youth groups, youth networks, civil society organizations, academic centers and universities, making them available and inspiring for everyone.

Intercultural dialogue is framed as an alternative policy response to globalisation-induced challenges of cultural diversity. It gained momentum as an integration instrument in the 2000s, superseding multiculturalism and assimilation-oriented policies, which were declared as failed.  A number of international organisations, including the EU, the Council of Europe and the United Nations, started championing intercultural dialogue formats for cultural diversity management.

Intercultural dialogue encourages readiness to question well established value-based certainties by bringing reason, emotion and creativity into play in order to find new shared understandings.