Introduction

In 2009, a group of international organisations concerned with intercultural dialogue in non-formal learning jointly decided to carry on a feasibility study – initially under the coordination of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe and later through the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth – in order to understand the approaches to intercultural dialogue that youth organisations were using in their non-formal learning activities in Europe and the Euro-Mediterranean region. The results of the study revealed many different uses of the terminology, a diversity of approaches, but very few assessments or comprehensive guidelines. Considering such outcomes, a group of experts – trainers, practitioners, researchers – was brought together to develop a tool that serves as guidelines for trainers and facilitators who organise intercultural learning activities.

These guidelines were created to support organisers of youth activities to consciously embed intercultural dialogue in their projects. The guidelines refer to learning principles, methodologies and practices. While there is no universal recipe for addressing intercultural dialogue, the use of certain principles can help organisers of intercultural learning activities use a more coherent approach and enhance the quality of their activities. By ensuring a common understanding, the tool facilitates exchanges with other organisers of youth activities from other parts of the world.

The tool comprises 15 criteria distributed among the three phases of an activity – preparation, implementation and follow-up – and each criterion has several indicators. The general term ‘activity’ is used throughout this document in order to describe youth projects and events like: trainings, exchanges, workshops, seminars, community actions, campaign development, voluntary services, etc.

The following chapters provide information on: how to use the tool, the main principles of intercultural dialogue, and related resources. The chapter entitled Indicators for intercultural dialogue in non-formal education activities is the practical part of these guidelines – a tool that you can use in preparing, implementing and evaluating your activity. Considering the high degree of ambiguity regarding certain concepts, a glossary is provided in the final pages of the document. For those who are interested in further reading on the topic, references to other documents are also provided.

All interested users are encouraged to try out this tool for their regular activities as a means for quality assurances of their non-formal learning/education activities related to intercultural dialogue. Inquiries and feedback can be sent at: youth-partnership@partnership-eu.coe.int