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Measuring Intercultural Dialog 44 pp

Dialo gue
A conceptual and
technical framework
This report was written by Ciara Aucoin (Ulster University)
under the editorial and technical guidance of Euan
Mackway-Jones (UNESCO) and Marcel Smits (Institute for
Economics and Peace). Strategic direction was provided by
Nada Al-Nashif, former Assistant-Director General for the
Social and Human Sciences (UNESCO), Magnus Magnusson
(UNESCO) and Ann-Belinda Preis (UNESCO).
Our sincere gratitude goes to the wide range of individuals
from partner institutions who generously shared their
expertise and experience to help shape the report: Sara
Batmanglich (OECD), Vesna Dasovic-Markovic (UNDP),
Paula Drumond (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio
de Janeiro), Prue Holmes (Durham University), Jannie Lilja
(World Bank), Brigitte Lapierre (Global Affairs Canada),
Fethi Mansouri (Deakin University), José Pessoa (UNESCO
Institute for Statistics), Andy Pratt (City University), Marie
Sautin (Council of Europe), Eline Sigfusson (Nordic Cultural
Fund), and Atif Rizvi (CELL Foundation).
Our thanks also go to the many UNESCO colleagues, from
all domains of the organisation’s expertise, whose invaluable
input added to the conceptual and technical richness of
the report: Maria Christina Bergmann, Edson Carvalho,
Bandiougou Diawara, Alton Grizzle, Paola Leoncini Bartoli,
Morgan Martinez, Lydia Ruprecht, Susanne Schnuttgen,
Clare Stark, Linda Tinio, Assel Ultegenova, and Jing Xu.
The basis for many of the consultations around this
report was a feasibility study produced by the Institute
for Economics and Peace, setting out the feasibility and
limitations of different approaches to the collection,
analysis and mobilisation of data in this field. Without this
study, the present framework would not have been possible.
The report was further improved by the pertinent feedback
of those individuals who generously agreed to peer-review
the working draft: Arnaud Drouet (UNESCO), Anthony
Krause (UNESCO), Brigitte Lapierre (Global Affairs Canada),
Jannie Lilja (World Bank), Dov Lynch (UNESCO),
Anna Maria Majlöf (UNESCO), Henrik Mungenast (UNDP),
José Pessoa (UNESCO Institute for Statistics), Andy Pratt
(City University), and Lucy Turner (UNDP). Further useful
input was provided at the latter stages of the development
of the publication by Henk-Jan Brinkman (UN PBSO)
and Olivier Lavinal (World Bank).
Finally, our thanks go to Mimouna Abderrahmane (UNESCO)
and Paulette Forest (UNESCO) for their support throughout
the publication process. The report was copy-edited by
Cathy Nolan and the design was produced
by Eric Leuliet.
Published in 2020 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 7, place de Fontenoy,
75352 Paris 07 SP, France and the Institute for Economics and Peace, 205 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, Sydney, 2065 NSW,
© UNESCO 2020
ISBN 978-92-3-100378-3 (UNESCO)
ISBN 978-0-6485327-7-4 (Institute for Economics and Peace)
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authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The ideas and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors; they are not necessarily those of UNESCO and
do not commit the Organization.
Graphic design: Eric Leuliet
Cover design: Eric Leuliet
Photos: ©-iStock/Daisy-Daisy; ©-UNESCO/Ann-Belinda Preis; ©-UNESCO/Euan Mackway-Jones; ©-iStock/Xavier Arnau
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Dialo gue
A conceptual and
A conceptual and
technical framework
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development established an ambitious set of goals to advance
peaceful and prosperous societies, through fostering and reaping the benefits of inclusive and sustainable
development. The Agenda offers a universal, integrated and indivisible vision, acknowledging that for
individuals and communities to thrive in our rapidly changing world, efforts must be made to better connect
the three pillars of United Nations’ action: human rights, peace and development.
The challenges of addressing growing diversity have amply demonstrated that this vision is needed now
more than ever. We all have much to gain from more open and connected societies yet misunderstanding,
exclusion and discrimination continue to push identity and culture-based grievances towards conflict and
violence, challenging the very foundations of sustainable and inclusive development. The cost of such
violence is huge: the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has calculated that some $14.76 trillion was
lost from the global economy in 2017, and the seminal UN-World Bank Pathways to Peace report (2018)
underscored the enduring effect that such violence has on the capacity and legitimacy of state structures.
Dialogue helps individuals and communities to better understand their differences and learn from one
another, constituting a critical instrument for positively managing diversity, actively preventing conflict
and creating the conditions for sustainable peace. Indeed, intercultural dialogue has been at the heart of
UNESCO’s mandate since the Organization’s inception, the preamble of its constitution famously states that
‘ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind,
of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all
too often broken into war’. Yet, as the results of the 2017 UNESCO-UIS Member State Survey on Intercultural
Dialogue show, much remains to be done to elevate dialogue from an aspirational position, to an evidencebased and needs-driven approach.
This report represents a first step in the UNESCO-IEP joint initiative to strengthen the evidence-base on
dialogue for peace and development. Through mobilizing better data on effective dialogue, it is our sincere
hope that policymakers and practitioners can better support meaningful and transformative dialogue,
holistically supporting the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda. Through this, we hope to elevate dialogue as a
connecting enabler of all pillars of UN action, accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development
Goals and making good on the promise of ‘leaving no one behind’.
Xing Qu
Deputy Director-General
Steve Killelea
Founder and Executive Chairman
Institute for Economics and Peace
Table of contents
Executive summary
Purpose and structure of the report
Section 1
What is intercultural dialogue?
Towards an operational definition
The need for ICD
Where does ICD take place?
Media and ICT
Culture and the arts
Local governance and urban planning
Political negotiation
What can ICD achieve?
Section 2
The enabling environment for ICD
Background and justification
Structural factors
Enabling factors (principles, values and competences)
Section 3
Measuring the enabling environment of ICD
Framework for measurement
Section 4
Application of the measurement framework
Executive summary
n the face of persistent global challenges —
including, among others, inequality, divisive
populism and xenophobia, migration and
displacement, and violent extremism — we
need innovative approaches to address the socalled ‘cultural differences’ in the cultural and
social capacities that influence the effectiveness
of responses. It is increasingly evident that the
success of our government systems, schools and
economy depends on harnessing and maximizing
the benefit of the growing diversity of backgrounds
and perspectives in societies, and on improving
communication between and across them.
This report introduces a framework for an evidencebased and data-driven application of intercultural
dialogue (ICD) to such global challenges. It rests on
the premise that ICD – a broad label for many forms
of contact, exchange and interaction that facilitate
learning and transformative change across real
and perceived boundaries between groups and
individuals of different ‘cultures’ or identities
– is underused as an approach thus far. This is
because insufficient evidence exists concerning its
effectiveness for creating more peaceful, inclusive
and sustainable societies, and not enough is
understood about the conditions that enable its
The report’s Section 1 describes the concept of ICD
and its key components, arguing for a shift of focus
from culture to identity. It then locates where ICD
can be observed in practice, drawing on examples
from the domains of education; media and
information and communications technology (ICT);
culture and the arts; local governance and urban
planning; and political negotiation. The first section
ends with an overview of what these varied forms
of ICD can achieve, and how.
Section 2 describes what constitutes a conducive
or enabling environment for ICD, identifying a
layer of structural factors and a layer of enabling
factors (principles, values and competences), and
examines how these elements affect ICD’s potential
to contribute to such outcomes as social cohesion,
reconciliation and conflict prevention.
Section 3 introduces the measurement framework
for ICD, illustrating how ICD works as a process and
the role of data and indicators to support policymakers in implementing ICD to produce peacerelated outcomes. It also points out the limitations
of the proposed measurement approach. Section
4 goes on to describe how the framework can be
used to support policymakers and practitioners in
undertaking actions that strengthen the enabling
environment for intercultural dialogue, and bolster
UNESCO’s actions to support policymakers in these
The core purpose of the framework is to help
United Nations Member States to see the value of
ICD, understand it conceptually, and know how to
support it in practice. It calls for a radical rethink
of how the domains of security and development
are linked: both are inseparable from the need
for greater equality, just and representative
institutions, and strong and cohesive societies.
We hope the proposed approach to ICD and its
measurement will assist policy-makers in applying
ICD to address —— and not fear — trends
such as increasing diversity and technological
advancement, while also providing them with new
knowledge and tools to respond to the challenges
of the future.
s the UNESCO-led International Decade for
the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013–2022)
progresses, UNESCO is reflecting on how its work
on intercultural dialogue (ICD) can be rendered
more evidence-driven and responsive to the needs
of Member States. By adopting Decision 202
EX/12 at the 202nd session of UNESCO’s Executive
Board in autumn 2017, UNESCO Member States
acknowledged the need for better data on
intercultural dialogue in order to apply it more
effectively to tackle pressing global issues.
Responding to this need, UNESCO is developing a
comprehensive data set on intercultural dialogue,
measuring both the conditions that enable ICD
to be mobilized effectively, and its impact on
achieving key development and peace-related
objectives. On the basis of the data produced
through this initiative, UNESCO will innovate its
operational offering to Member States, providing
new, multisectoral interventions that respond
directly to the insights drawn from the data.
Connecting global agendas
This project responds to the UN International
Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures,
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, and the
UN Secretary General’s prioritization of conflict
prevention. As such, it highlights how intercultural
dialogue can serve as a shared solution for
advancing strategic priorities across different pillars
of action.
This report lays the foundation for this effort. It
aims to improve the understanding of ICD as a
deliberate approach to managing diversity, initiated
by national level or local actors (both government
and non-governmental), that can help achieve
social cohesion, prevent conflict and sustain peace,
thereby contributing to Sustainable Development
Goal (SDG) 16. It shows that for ICD to succeed
in advancing these aims, it requires a supportive
enabling environment, spaces and opportunities for
engagement, and a set of actors or participants
committed to the concept of transformative
dialogue. It goes on to elaborate a framework to
measure these enabling conditions. The data from
this exercise will, in turn, provide the foundation
for Member States to: better understand what is
required to catalyse and promote ICD adequately;
begin to identify potential blockages to ICD in
practice; and prioritize investments that can
enhance its effectiveness.
Purpose and structure of the report
Recognizing the importance of improving data and
analytics on intercultural dialogue to strengthen
its relevance as a practical tool for addressing the
drivers of misunderstanding and conflict, this report
provides a conceptual and technical rationale for
this initiative. It underscores the importance and
potential of dialogue for tackling pressing global
challenges, addresses core conceptual issues
related to its nature and enabling conditions,
and presents a comprehensive measurement
framework. More specifically it will:
rovide a background to the conceptual debates
around intercultural dialogue;
xplain the different enabling conditions and
drivers of ICD for conflict prevention and related
• Identify the entry points for actions to strengthen
the enabling environment for ICD;
resent a comprehensive measurement
The report is divided into four sections. Section 1
describes the concept of ICD, its key components,
the need for ICD, where it can be identified in
practice and to what goals it can be applied.
Section 2 describes the enabling environment of
ICD and how it can be strengthened in order to
contribute to peace-related outcomes. Section 3
describes the proposed process for measuring
the enabling environment, including a set of
proposed indicators. Section 4 goes on to describe
how the framework can be used to support
policymakers and practitioners in undertaking
actions which strengthen the enabling environment
for intercultural dialogue, and bolster UNESCO’s
actions to support these efforts.
Section 1
What is
Section 1 - What is intercultural dialogue?
CD is a process undertaken to realize
transformative communication. At the most basic
level, it refers to the space or opportunities created
for dialogue among a diverse group of participants
with the aim of finding common ground. It is a
value-driven process as it requires participants’
commitment to values such as mutual respect,
empathy and a willingness to change perspectives.
One of the most widely cited definitions of ICD
is from the Council of Europe’s White Paper on
Intercultural Dialogue: Living Together as Equals in
Dignity (2008). It states that ICD is ‘an open and
respectful exchange of views between individuals,
groups with different ethnic, cultural, religious and
linguistic backgrounds and heritage on the basis
of mutual understanding and respect. It operates
at all levels – within societies, between societies of
Europe and between Europe and the wider world’
(Council of Europe, 2008, pp. 10–11). Another
definition for ICD is: ‘An equitable exchange and
dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples,
based on mutual understanding and respect
and the equal dignity of all cultures [that] is
the essential prerequisite for constructing social
cohesion, reconciliation among peoples and peace
among nations’ (UNESCO, 2017).
Both the Council of Europe and UNESCO definitions
have allowed for quite a broad interpretation of
ICD at multiple levels and have underscored the
importance of mutual understanding and respect
among participants. Yet despite their wide use,
neither serve as operational definitions that illustrate
how ICD works in practice, limiting their application
to a process of implementing and supporting ICD.
Towards an operational definition
ICD is simply a label for the various ways that
groups and individuals come together, learn and
share in the face of difference. Yet when first
encountered, ICD can seem quite a loaded term
with many different interpretations, as the above
definitions show. A key sticking point in defining
ICD is what do we mean by culture, an inherently
complex concept.
Culture is difficult to define, first, because its
meaning differs around the world. It is often
associated with social groupings such as ethnicity,
religion and language that may be interpreted
as fixed and unchangeable – whereas, as recalled
by African linguist John Lubinda, building on
decades of anthropological debate, cultures are
ever-changing, dynamic processes that adapt
over time through constant interaction (2010).
Another challenge to defining culture is that block
‘cultural’ groupings such as ethnicity and language
are particularly susceptible to politicization
(Lähdesmäki and Wagener, 2015). Furthermore,
cultures are often presented as grand ideological
concepts rather than framed in terms of people’s
daily activities – eating, working, caring for children
— that often transcend presupposed differences
(Semi, Colombo, Camozzi and Frisina, 2009).
For the purposes of this initiative, a more
constructive way to view cultures is arguably in
terms of identity. Individuals have multiple, layered
identities — based on the markers of gender,
spiritual affiliation, political views, among many
others — that they express and draw on in relation
to the context at hand (Orton, 2009). These
different roles express themselves in relation to
each other through social dynamics of dominance,
passivity, empathy and prejudice (Cargile, 2017).
People’s multiple identities then make up their
cultures. Ganesh and Holmes (2011) argue that
despite the label of culture, the focus of an ICD to
bring about societal change should rather be on
addressing the identity and power imbalances of
societies, groups and people, not their supposed
cultural differences. For Gupta and Ferguson, the
labelling of cultural groups is inadequate to capture
people’s true diversity, as ‘people have undoubtedly
always been more mobile and identities less fixed
than the static and typologising approaches of
classical anthropology would suggest’ (1992, p. 9).
Thus the definition for culture used in this report is
from the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity
(2001), selected for its wide and holistic reach: ‘a
set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual
and emotional features of a society or social
group, encompassing all the ways of being in that
society; at a minimum, including art and literature,
lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems,
traditions, and beliefs’ (UNESCO, 2001).
Breaking ICD into its component parts,
‘intercultural’, in line with this holistic approach
to culture, ‘occurs when members of two or more
different cultural groups (of whatever size, at
whatever level) interact or influence one another
in some fashion, whether in person or through
various mediated forms’ (UNESCO, 2013, p. 11).
Etymologically, the word dialogue consists of the
prefix ‘dia’, equivalent to ‘trans’ in Latin, referring to
a transfer or shift; and of ‘logue’, meaning positions
and views (UNESCO, 2013, p. 14). As such, ‘dialogue’
is defined as ‘a form of communication (most
often linguistic, though not always) occurring
when participants, having their own perspectives,
recognize the existence of other, different
perspectives, remaining open to learning about
them’ (Ibid.)
122). Terms such as ‘inclusive dialogue’, ‘interfaith
dialogue’, ‘intercultural exchange’ are commonly
used across these fields to denote similar processes.
Whilst the label ‘ICD’ may have only been studied
from the 1940s and used in policy from the 1980s
(Leeds-Hurwitz, 2015), the task of building mutual
understanding across groups is as old as humanity
A problem with the dialogue aspect of ICD
concerns the objective, reach and scope of the
dialogue. Dialogue based on mutual respect can
contribute to increased acceptance of each other,
satisfying the goal or objective of a coexistence
of cultures/identities. Coexistence of cultures runs
parallel to the concept of tolerance, which is a
fundamental aspect of multiculturalism. Once the
ideal policy principle behind diversity management
(Mansouri, 2015), multiculturalism nowadays is
criticized for not going far enough to build bridges
across divides. It has been described as a ‘static
and unchanging range of differences including
linguistic, religious and socio-economic diversity,
which remain homogenous and differentiated
from the social mainstream’ (Mansouri and Arber,
2017, p. 30). According to Meer and Modood,
interculturalism, as compared to multiculturalism is
‘more dialogic, less “groupist”, more committed to
national attachment and social cohesion, and less
illiberal and relativistic’ (2012, p. 3). Over time, as
policy efforts aimed at improving multiculturalism
resulted in isolated communities, the goalpost for
ICD shifted to societies defined by interculturalism,
bringing forward the notion of cultural tolerance to
that of cultural transfer and cross-over.
In summary, this report understands ICD to be
a process undertaken to realize transformative
communication that requires space or
opportunities for engagement and a diverse
group of participants committed to values such
as mutual respect, empathy and a willingness
to consider different perspectives. The following
sections situate the need and potential application
for ICD in today’s world, describing where it is
typically observed and can be supported and
bolstered for peace-related outcomes.
The contemporary study of ICD that builds
on this thinking falls within many academic
fields and policy areas, notably anthropology,
communications, education, peacebuilding and
conflict studies, religious studies and psychology.
ICD is defined in different ways across these
fields of study, ranging from highly structured
social engagements with predefined outcomes,
such as political dialogues, to more fluid and
even passive interactions at cultural and artistic
events. ICD is often distinguished from more
general communications as that which is
typically structured and facilitated (World Faiths
Development Dialogue, 2017). It can also be
defined in terms of the values it draws on: in an
example from tertiary education, ICD is indicated
by the presence of ‘commitment to open and equal
exchange and a focus on the process (perhaps
explicitly transformative)’ (Woodin et al., 2011, p.
The need for ICD
Many of the grave problems currently faced around
the world — including, among others, inequality,
divisive populism and xenophobia, migration and
displacement, and violent extremism — are shared
across and within societies. Such problems require
coherent and cohesive solutions centred around
productive dialogue, yet these are often stalled
by polarized positions and the lack of a sense of
shared responsibility. Learning how to live together
in a world of increasing diversity has emerged as
one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Yet
despite ever-growing economic interconnectedness
and technological advancement, we live too
often in silos, and our positions are reinforced
rather than confronted. In increasingly mixed and
heterogeneous societies, we can live in bubbles.
The real potential strength in such times lies in the
lesser-told stories of the coming together of groups
that typically do not interact or are characterized
by opposing views. Examples of such groups
finding common ground are remarkable, yet rarely
analysed for the precise conditions and actions that
helped de-escalate tensions, educate and inform
participants, and ultimately create meaningful and
fair communication across difference.
Improved communication is the first step towards
enhancing interculturalism within diverse societies
and laying the foundation for peaceful societies,
without which progress towards the SDGs cannot
be achieved. ICD, understood as a transformative
Section 1 - What is intercultural dialogue?
form of communication, has the ability to
increase the bonds, connections and trust among
individuals, groups and public institutions and
thereby contribute to a range of outcomes that
enable peaceful and productive societies. The
UNESCO Member States Survey on Intercultural
Dialogue shows that the understanding of the
use of ICD has two main objectives: ‘(i) as a
prerequisite environment for peace and social
cohesion; and (ii) an instrumental tool for
education and advocacy, contributing to issues
such as the integration of refugees, and countering
radicalization, discrimination and racism’ (UNESCO,
2018, p. 16). ICD is understood in its duality as a
necessary context for peace to exist, and as an
important tool or process for specific policy needs
towards greater peace.
The need to reinforce the values, institutions
and skills that promote ICD, as a means of
building the trust, belonging, understanding and
respect needed to prevent and peacefully resolve
intercommunity conflict, is increasingly apparent.
We know that without this reinforcement, the
potential of diversity as a source of innovation and
dynamism for advancing inclusive and sustainable
development will be lost, and the cost of violence
– borne disproportionately by the world’s poorest
and most fragile countries – will continue to impede
equitable progress.
The proposed framework illustrates how the
presence of certain principles, values, competences
and wider socio-economic factors impacts
the effectiveness of ICD to contribute to more
peaceful and prosperous societies. A supportive
enabling environment ensures that as different
forms of intercultural interactions occur, the
communications that underpin them go beyond
tolerance and towards transformative experiences.
The enabling environment also impacts the
sustainability of the ICD processes by laying the
foundation for ICD to be woven into the habitual
practice of individuals, groups and institutions in
their day-to-day interactions, work and policymaking.
ICD has to be made part of the toolset that can be
drawn upon routinely to strengthen social cohesion
and respond directly to policy needs. As such, ICD
calls for questioning the systems and routines
that shape and define our societies: are our young
people being taught the skills and competences
necessary to engage with peoples from many
backgrounds and identities in their schools? Are
our media platforms providing inclusive and
diverse spaces for critical thinking and discussion
on matters affecting society? Are our cities being
designed so that communities are incentivized to
come together to share and support each other?
Responding to such questions requires, first, an
understanding of the areas where ICD occurs, and
thus where existing and effective examples of it
can be supported and bolstered. Then we need
to understand what makes such examples of ICD
possible: the enabling environment. To this end,
the following subsection describes what ICD looks
like in practice, isolating some examples from the
domains of education, media and ICT, arts and
culture, local governance and urban planning, and
political negotiation. It then outlines what such
efforts can achieve, before turning to the question
of what sustains ICD.
Where does ICD take place?
There are many examples of ICD in practice. They
include intergroup dialogues, participation in
cultural events or concerts, formal and informal
education, structured mediation and debate, and
interactive workshops. These types of events occur
at all levels. At the community level, they can
involve local civil society actors, community leaders
and citizens, and at the national level they can
involve the political and private sector, national civil
society organizations and associations.
ICD can take many forms and these forms are
always evolving: verbal or non-verbal, in person
or virtual, between two or more people, between
groups. It is necessary to expand the concept
of dialogue beyond a physical or face-to-face
interaction towards a much more profound
form of engagement: ICD also can be used to
denote reactions to art at museums and galleries,
actively participating in intercultural festivals and
workshops, and engaging with civil society groups,
particularly those that encourage or advance
creative expression.
Such collaboration, exchange and interaction occur
within societies naturally at various intensities and
scales. However, in many societies and contexts,
ICD needs to be assisted and supported by direct
intervention, particularly in the face of steep
inequality or protracted conflicts, or when it is being
used to address specific and defined challenges. In
this case, ICD as a process is initiated in response
to decisions by policy-makers at different levels
(national or local level); and it is conditioned by the
enabling environment – at the macro level by the
wider socio-economic context and at the micro
level by the principles, values and competences
associated with the management of ICD activities
(described in Section 2).
ICD operates from national to local level and
involves a range of different actors from the fields
of political institutions, education, civil society, the
arts, and so on. It is in these domains that ICD can
be observed, applied and influenced and where
the skills and competences necessary for effective
ICD are built and strengthened. In this way,
these domains serve as pathways to achieving or
realizing ICD in practice.
ICD clearly involves a spectrum of activities. In
order to be pragmatic, the proposed framework
draws examples from a set of five domains:
education; media and ICT; local government and
urban planning; the arts and culture; and political
negotiation. Their inclusion in the framework was
decided on the basis of a thorough review of the
ICD literature and an expert consultation in Paris in
December 2018 (see Appendix for more information
on the methodology). The set of five domains are
by no means exhaustive; accordingly, they may
need to be adapted to the local circumstances of
Member States.
Two core elements of education contribute to ICD.
The first is what is taught (or the curriculum) for
its role in providing specific ICD competences; the
second is creating the spaces/opportunities for ICD
Regarding the first element, all educational
institutions, from primary to tertiary level and
including vocational training centres, and civil
society play a key role in ‘building and enhancing
the immunity and resilience of every society’ and
hence fostering the competences necessary to
understand a complex world (Abu-Nimer and
Smith, 2016, p. 395). Byram states that education
contributes to ‘conscious commitment to values’
and awareness of the need for cooperation when
‘values sometimes conflict and are differently
interpreted’ (Byram 2010, p. 234). Education also
builds the capacities needed to ‘confront external
and internal voices and forces which oppose
pluralism and advocate for exclusion and violence’
(Abu-Nimer and Smith, 2016, p. 395). Education
improves opportunities for gainful employment,
which enables people to ‘become more
constructive and active members of society’ (Ager
and Strang, 2008, p. 172). Education also provides
the foundation for active citizenship. The quality
of education delivered is dependent on educators’
skills and capacities to transfer these skills.
Dulabaum argues that the emotional and social
intelligence learned in education, along with critical
thinking skills, permits intercultural dialogue. She
also gives particular weight to the subject of
history, saying that ‘history teaching is paramount
for understanding and preventing crimes against
humanity and any massive violation of human
rights. It is also important in promoting healing,
reconciliation and mutual trust’ (Dulabaum,
2011, p.105). Other subjects that focus on history,
civilizations and democratic principles include world
religions, geography and civic studies. According
to the PISA Global Competence Framework of
the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD), in order to build global
competences ‘a curriculum should pay attention to
the following four knowledge domains: culture and
intercultural relations; socioeconomic development
and interdependence; environmental sustainability;
and global institutions, conflicts and human rights’
(OECD, 2018a, p. 13).
The other way education contributes to ICD is by
creating spaces and opportunities for engagement.
Schools and universities require regular interaction
with people from different backgrounds and also
are frequently sites for specific cultural awareness
days. Primary and secondary schools provide
some of the first encounters with other cultures,
languages and peoples. At the university level,
internationalization of campuses through active
recruitment of foreign students and opportunities
to study abroad encourage ICD (Woodin et
al., 2011). Other studies point to the need for
structured and prepared encounters to bring
about a transformative form of ICD. For example,
Holmes and O’Neil’s PEER model, which stands for
Prepare, Engage, Evaluate, and Reflect, is a series
of steps that can contribute to ICD learning and
transformation in educational institutions (2012).
For Ager and Strang, four necessary factors for ICD
to occur are diversity of participants, engagement
with difference, sharing personal narratives, and a
listening space (2008).
Section 1 - What is intercultural dialogue?
Media and ICT
Culture and the arts
Media and ICT, in their myriad forms, contribute to
ICD in two key ways: through the representation
of cultures and groups in their content, and as
platforms for public debate and engagement
across different peoples, cultures and groups.
This domain refers to the fine arts, performing arts,
theatre, film and visual arts, music and, in some
interpretations, social media. As a pathway to ICD
for peaceful societies, culture and the arts is similar
to education: the nature of its content, can provoke
critical thinking and reflection and, as such, be used
as a teaching tool. It also serves as an example
of ICD in that the spaces designated to view art
such as those in museums and galleries serve as
contact zones. Gonçalves (2016, p. 4) reminds us of
art’s universality as a form of communication. She
states that art forms such as painting, sculpture,
dance, music, poetry and literature ‘exist among
all peoples’ and ‘science, sport, commerce, religion
and art are internationalized and intercultural
human activities’, highlighting their centrality to
These platforms serve a variety of audiences and
purposes, contributing spaces and opportunities
for engagement and involving different actors and
participants. Local newspapers and radio tend to
be more responsive to the local community and
may be more representative of local languages
than television and the internet, both of which
cross borders (Prina et al., 2013). The internet,
including social media, is an increasingly vital
media network that in many countries is surpassing
demand for print, radio and television.
The representation of groups by the media
manifests in the languages used and the discourses
used to describe peoples and groups. This includes
how careful content providers are to select
non-aggravating language or avoid derogatory
terminology. Public service broadcasting, as an
example, is typically the radio media where minority
languages are particularly well represented (Prina
et al., 2013). Available choice in the selection of
television, radio and print offerings, in terms of
content and languages, helps diversify public
information and increase representation of the
society at large.
The internet and ICT have shown an unprecedented
ability to engage in ‘intergroup contact’ through
social media tools (Mor et al., 2016), although not
necessarily with pro-ICD motivations. The internet
also provides a limitless source of information,
which includes disinformation or misleading and
false information, on a range of subjects. The
effect has been increased opportunity and access
to engage with people of other cultures, but
simultaneously much easier access to offensive
and racist forms of expression (Prina et al., 2013).
Efforts to ensure that media contributes to ICD
are represented by platforms and programmes
that embrace ‘multi-voiceness’ and opportunities
for constructive and respectful dialogue, and in
which power relations and historical grievances
are discussed and negotiated (Prina et al., 2013;
Lubinda, 2010). ICD lives and thrives in the media
and ICT domain, illustrating the importance of
values and careful planning to ensure dialogue is
helpful and not harmful.
The literature asserts that the venues to observe
and experience art and creative expressions,
particularly public ones, are inherently intercultural
sites. Festivals bring together people from multiple
backgrounds while museums can ‘offer a personal,
cultural approach to new communities; they
support dialogue between cultures and help with
understanding one’s place in the world’ (NEMO,
2016, p.3). Gonçalves credits art’s value to ICD to
how the ‘communicative intention of art comes
through the sensorial, imaginary and conceptual’,
and believes this intention transcends different art
forms (2016, p. 3). Art, in this view, serves as a form
of universal language, easily internationalized, that
offers rich learning and reflection opportunities.
Local governance and urban planning
The domain of local governance and urban planning
is concerned with creating inclusive public spaces
that strengthen social cohesion, responding to
the growing urbanization of populations globally,
and to the particularly concentrated diversity and
opportunities for interculturality that urban spaces
represent. In a certain way, the urban space is
a microcosm of the other domains: education,
media and ICT, culture and the arts all find their
real-life expression at the local level, managed
by governmental and non-governmental actors
and institutions. According to Papisca, ‘being in
the front line of human rights, local government
institutions are forced to deal directly with problems
(for instance, migration flows), that belong to the
political agenda of world order’ (2012, p. 27).
Urban planning for ICD is that which prioritizes the
creation of public spaces, activities and networks
(Orton, 2009). Cities are growing the world over
because of a mix of pull and push factors. Some of
the dominant pull factors, at least in the African
context where urbanization is occurring at rapid
rates, are jobs and better access to services. The
most common push factors are dissatisfaction
with rural services, employment challenges, natural
disasters and conflicts (Bello-Schünemann and
Aucoin, 2016). The role the urban space plays in ICD
is thus paramount, particularly when there is stated
commitment to and programmes for intercultural
activities, building and investing in intercultural
spaces, innovative social housing policies, and the
management of informal settlements.
The types of actors involved in local governance
and urban planning for ICD are many. Pace lists
some of the most prevalent: institutional, religious,
civil, social movements and associations, volunteer
groups (2012, p. 237). Civil society organizations,
particularly those which are based on shared values
of intercultural principles, play a particular role in
creating spaces for ICD and for working towards
the ‘conditions that predetermine intercultural
dialogue’ (Manonelles, 2012, p. 418). Local
governance is a melting pot for diverse leadership,
intercultural engagement and ICD.
Political negotiation
ICD is also a key component of political decisionmaking. It is a cross-cutting theme that applies
to all areas or domains that require reaching
agreement. Like the other domains, the first aspect
of political negotiation that pertains to ICD is the
opening of space and opportunity for dialogue
across a diverse range of participants; the second
is in the specific aim of reaching agreement, or
transforming two or more views on an issue into
a new, mutually agreed outcome. In this way, ICD
in the context of political negotiation has much
overlap with the fields of facilitation and mediation.
In summary, ICD has many forms and examples
across the different domains, each with its own
timescale. These varied examples point to the
diversity in the levels (local and national) and
the actors (public, private, teachers, artists,
etc.), and in the range of topics. The fields of
education, media and ICT, culture and the arts,
local governance and urban planning, and political
negotiation serve as pathways to address particular
policy issues through and with ICD.
Connecting and coordinating these pathways to
the peace-related outcomes is the focus of the
next subsection, which completes Section 1 that
describes ICD conceptually and in practice.
What can ICD achieve?
As we have shown, ICD occurs in different spaces
and through a variety of opportunities, involving
diverse participants at all levels and focused on a
range of topics. In all these situations, ICD builds
social cohesion and trust, upholds human rights
and contributes to conflict prevention, although
it is not clear how it operates. This is because the
contribution of ICD to such outcomes is often
overlooked and thus unaccounted for. Canada’s
Centre for Intercultural Learning (CIL) made
this point in a recent report, noting that the
intercultural dynamic of the success of international
engagements and programming is often taken for
granted by practitioners (CIL, 2018).
The following shows the diversity of objectives
to which ICD has been applied, as compiled in
the literature review for the scoping study that
preceded this report (described in the Introduction
and Annex). Across the fields of peacebuilding,
education, arts, urban planning and political
negotiation, ICD has helped achieve the following
• mobilize a diverse range of actors (Yousuf, 2018),
hange mindsets of individuals and groups (Mor
et al., 2016),
• increase linkages and connections between and
across groups (World Bank/UN, 2018),
• increase intercultural competence of groups
(Holmes and O’Neil, 2012),
• r each/create agreements, such as reform efforts
that involve writing or changing legislation or
other forms of documentation (Zachariassen et
al., 2016),
ddress/take action against root causes/
structural drivers of violence (Paffenholz et al.,
2017; Zachariassen et al., 2017).
These varied outcomes illustrate the practical
application of ICD and its potential. A number
of these objectives directly contribute to the
peace-related outcomes such as building and
strengthening social cohesion, reconciliation and
preventing conflict. But how?
Section 1 - What is intercultural dialogue?
As we saw in the previous subsection on the
domains, ICD facilitates peace-related outcomes
through basic interaction or contact (spaces
and opportunities), combined with the principles
of respect, listening, and willingness to change
perspective. Allport pioneered the concept of
‘Contact Hypothesis’ or the theory that intergroup
interactions reduce prejudice and stereotyping
(1954). This theory holds that preconceived notions
about ‘the other’ can be reduced simply through
exposure and engagement between groups or
individuals with equal status, interdependence, and
authority sanction (support from authorities).
Many researchers have tested and proved the
validity of the contact hypothesis. Pettigrew and
Tropp, in a meta-analytic test of 713 independent
samples from 515 studies, found that ‘greater
intergroup contact typically corresponds with
lower levels of intergroup prejudice, and 94% of
the studies reveal an inverse relationship between
contact and prejudices of many types’ (2006,
p. 922). Taylor’s study of three neighbourhoods
in the United Kingdom found that the presence
of ‘community hubs’ – neighbourhood offices,
community centres, radio stations, local parks –
had the effect of giving the neighbourhoods ‘an
identity that people can relate to and opportunities
for people to come together’ (2007, p. 7).
But contact and the opportunity to engage
are not enough. Putnam both underscores and
challenges Allport’s theory when he states that
interaction or contact across citizens, individuals
and neighbours is a necessary but insufficient
factor for the creation of community and strong
societies (2000). He argues for the importance of
building trust and a sense of security and safety
simultaneously through sustained contact. For
example, a study of the effect of contact theory
in an online Facebook forum between Israelis
and Palestinians showed that contact alone did
little to foster constructive dialogue about peace.
However, an acknowledgment by both parties of
the lack of equality between the two sides was
associated with greater sentiments of ‘partnership
and hope’ for a peaceful future (Mor et al., 2016, p.
22). The study demonstrates why ICD must be far
more than contact and interaction, and instead a
transformative form of communication.
The application of ICD to the objectives listed
above (pp. 12-13) – specifically, mobilizing actors,
increasing the linkages and connections across
groups and building the social competence
of groups – directly enhances social cohesion.
Schiefer and van der Noll argue that the essential
features of social cohesion are: a) the quality
of social relations (including social networks,
trust, acceptance of diversity and participation);
b) identification with the social entity; and c)
orientation towards the common good (sense of
responsibility, solidarity, compliance to social order)
According to the OECD, increased social cohesion
builds resilience, or the ability of communities to
‘manage, absorb or mitigate’ risks (2018b, p. 82).
The OECD States of Fragility 2018 report states,
‘The level of co-operation among groups affects
how security apparatus, administrative bodies and
legal systems perform. The more cohesive societies
are, the more likely these institutional entities will
work as advertised, inclusively and without bias’
(OECD, 2018b, p. 43). Thus, ICD contributes to
increased social cohesion by building belonging,
trust and community from the bottom up, weaving
a fabric from which strong and inclusive institutions
can be built. It is for this reason that social cohesion
is not only a desired outcome of ICD but also a
factor in the enabling environment for ICD – as
the following section will show. This is because
the cause and effect of ICD and social cohesion
are mutually reinforcing: ICD contributes to social
cohesion and the greater social cohesion creates
more opportunities and skills to engage in ICD.
Many of the objectives listed above (pp. 12-13) also
directly contribute to reconciliation between groups
– specifically, addressing root causes of inequalities,
changing mindsets, and reaching agreements.
A robust rule of law grants citizens access to
justice, which is crucial to reconciliation. However,
beyond the formal institutions designed to support
reconciliation are the routine experiences that
allow individuals and communities to overcome
grievances while processing and challenging
injustice. Institutionalizing narratives and norms
on human rights through actively engaging in
empathetic dialogue, as ICD processes do, may
have a more sustainable impact on creating
peaceful societies than formal institutions and
may go a long way towards safeguarding them
(World Bank/UN, 2018). Promoting gender equality
and bolstering the role of women in dialogues
and community efforts, enshrined in UN Security
Council Resolution 1325, has been shown to improve
the longevity of peace accords and satisfactions
with outcomes (Paffenholz et al., 2017).
All of the listed objectives work towards preventing
conflict. They do so directly as a tool for effective
dialogue and mediation, when dialogues for
decision-making, agreement, settlement and
finding consensus are rooted in the respect for
diversity in identities, reciprocity and mutual
learning. They can also do so indirectly through
the support for social cohesion and human rights.
For example, Lockwood (1999) argues that citizen
rights, such as the absence of crime, representation
through civil society groups and access to services,
are the basis of cohesive society. These are also key
components of conflict prevention: recent research
suggests that societies with greater respect for
human rights are less prone to violence (Cingranelli
et al., 2017). Historical legacies, ethnic and/or
religious inequalities, and lack of respect for human
rights, if not addressed in dialogue, can manifest
as threats in highly diverse and stable societies and
increase the risk of conflict. Contact across groups
of different legacies and levels of equality can have
powerful conflict prevention potential by breaking
down protectionist approaches to citizenship and
mindsets that demonize ‘the other’ (Abu-Nimer
and Smith, 2016).
This section has provided examples of ICD from a
variety of policy areas from education to media to
urban planning, and shown how they contribute
to peace-related outcomes. The following Section
2 of this report aims to guide policy-makers in
determining what conditions support and sustain
ICD to achieve peace-related outcomes, in order to
help them identify the policy areas that should be
prioritized to contribute to effective and productive
However, such examples of ICD are too often
isolated from broader programming focused on
building peace and security, meaning that ICD
is insufficiently applied to the situations where
it is needed most: long-term and far reaching
challenges to do with inequality, climate change
and forced displacement, to name a few. A recent
UNESCO study argued that ICD must be redefined
as a cross-cutting policy objective rather than a
one-off phenomenon: ‘Intercultural dialogue is
mostly drawn on at the project or programme
level rather than being an objective of holistic
public policies. It should be defined as transversal
objective across education social, immigration,
labour and cultural policies’ (Ratzmann, 2019,
p. 53). Thus, ICD needs to be understood for
the diversity of what it can achieve, and then
supported to make it effective.
In summary, ICD as a transformative dialogue
is used to achieve a wide range of outcomes.
The precise outcomes highlighted here – social
cohesion, reconciliation and conflict prevention –
were selected because they apply most directly to
Member States’ request for guidance on applying
ICD to achieve peaceful and cohesive societies, and
also because they are interconnected and mutually
©-UNESCO/Ann-Belinda Preis
Section 2
for ICD
Section 2 - The enabling environment for ICD
ow that we have seen what ICD is, where it
occurs and what it can achieve, how should
it be supported and sustained to contribute
to peaceful societies? In short: the enabling
environment. This section describes the enabling
environment as the collection of forces that create
the potential for ICD to contribute to goals such
as social cohesion, reconciliation and conflict
The justification for the focus on the enabling
environment is based on the research carried out
for the scoping study of ICD’s effectiveness in
practice, led by the Institute for Economics and
Peace (IEP), and on the expert meeting to discuss
the study held in Paris in December 2018. These two
interactive efforts together led to the identification
of two layers of the enabling environment that
are critical to ICD for peace-related outcomes: a
layer of structural factors that affect the macro
context for ICD and of enabling factors (principles,
values and competences) that impact the actions,
policies, and activities carried out on specific ICD
processes (as described in Section 1). These two
layers are composed of the following elements:
Structural factors
• Stability and non-violence,
• Governance and citizenship,
• Freedom of expression,
• Horizontal equality,
• Social cohesion.
Enabling factors
(Principles, values and competences)
• Organization and leadership,
• Inclusion and representation,
• Linkages and coherency,
• Skills and values.
ICD’s ability to realize such outcomes as
reconciliation and conflict prevention is conditioned
by the presence and strength of these two layers
of factors. They are interrelated and mutually
reinforcing, affecting the relationship between
ICD and the desired outcomes. The rationale or
justification for each of their inclusion is described
Figure 1 - ICD processes
Background and justification
This subsection describes the background and
justification for the two layers of the enabling
environment. In so doing it addresses the
question: how do the two layers of the enabling
environment — structural and enabling — push
and pull on the domains to condition the ability
of ICD to achieve goals such as building social
cohesion, contributing to reconciliation and
preventing conflict?
Structural factors
Stability and non-violence
Stability refers to the absence of political violence
and fear of violence. Violence affects the structure
and space of civil society and populations,
shutting down avenues for ICD. It is widely held
in the literature that a degree of stability and
non-violence in society is necessary to ensure that
ICD can bring about peace-related outcomes.
This may be particularly pertinent at the local/
civil society level where power dynamics can
compromise the freedom and mobility of civil
society actors whose actions and movement
can be curtailed by states, and who can become
targets of violent actors (Zachariassen et al., 2016;
Phipps, 2014).
Governance and citizenship
This factor refers to the capacity of government
to implement sound policies for social interaction,
building citizens’ trust and meaningfully engaging
government and non-governmental institutions. It
takes many forms; the key factors are the degree
to which higher level processes of ICD affect local
level ones, and how local, community-based
efforts feed into governmental policy-making
and practice. The literature frequently references
the primacy of citizens’ rights, democratic
structures and access to services for peacerelated goals. Stewart’s renowned horizontal
inequality thesis argues that progress in social
development lies in state distribution of assets,
degrees of decentralization, formal power sharing,
and integration policies (2010). ICD for conflict
prevention and related outcomes is thus most
effective when it is supported by institutions
or processes aimed at improving democratic
values, power sharing, and citizens’ rights. For
Lockwood social cohesion rests on the quality and
strength of liberal institutions and the presence
of democratic decision-making (1999). Jensen
holds that threats to social cohesion ‘come from
bad policy (insufficient attention to social rights
or economic inclusion, for example) or from policy
which is too unidimensional’ (2010, p. 15).
Freedom of expression
Press freedom is regarded as an enabling factor
for social cohesion, offering an avenue for open
dialogue and knowledge dissemination, and with a
capacity to spread positive images and messaging
(Orton, 2009). This is created by the necessary
legislative rights and structural policy conditions
that protect and enhance societal tolerance
and respect for free speech, human rights and
pluralism. A culture of respect for free speech and
open dialogue is nurtured and supported by the
adequate policy environment and protections.
These laws grow into social norms and cultures
when upheld and reinforced by community hubs,
neighbourhood offices and community centres.
Thus, the presence of press freedom laws supports
freedom of expression. However, the latter tends to
be a very culturally-laden concept. For the purposes
of this project, freedom of expression concerns the
extent of opportunities and protections for open
communication and a culture of diversity in public
Horizontal equality
No society is without inequality. Addressing,
confronting and challenging socio-economic
inequality across groups forms the bedrock of
successful ICD. Without equality, the playing field
for the groups involved is uneven or tilted, affecting
their ability to communicate openly. The literature
on ICD points to the fact that for ICD to contribute
to social cohesion, it needs to be committed to
addressing deeper inequalities, drivers of tension
between and across groups (Phipps, 2014; Orton,
2016; Ganesh and Holmes, 2011; Giessmann et
al., 2017). Horizontal equalities between groups
and segments of society also include gender.
Historical legacies shape and reinforce social group
dynamics over time. According to the OECD, ‘Social
marginalisation together with real and relative
deprivation in relation to income, property, service
provision and social status are all connected to
diminished social capital’ (OECD, 2018b, p. 32). The
focus on otherness, or the difference between two
groups, is largely seen as more effective at bringing
about goals related to peacebuilding, even if in the
short term it can raise tensions, as in the example
of the Israeli and Palestinian young people in the
Facebook study (Holmes and O’Neill, 2012; Phipps,
2014; Mor et al., 2016).
Section 2 - The enabling environment for ICD
Social cohesion
Social cohesion, or the sense of belonging, trust
and community, provides strength and resilience
in society and the foundation for transformative
exchange. Social cohesion facilitates collective
action and cooperation among individuals in
pursuit of shared objectives (Foa, 2011). It also
enhances and coordinates demand for and
provision of public goods and services (Putnam,
2000; Olson 1974). Social cohesion also contributes
to the other structural factors and is an important
foundational factor with powerful knock-on
effects. For example, collective efficacy (the
sharing of norms and values, trusting one another,
and willingness to intervene to address common
problems) is considered a value important to
violence prevention (Ohmer, 2016). Social cohesion
is also a peace-related outcome that ICD can help
achieve, pointing to the cyclical and reinforcing
nature of the enabling environment.
Enabling factors
(principles, values and competences)
This group of enabling factors covers the
experiences and skills of participants that
will impact the effectiveness of ICD. Particular
knowledge can be helpful to ensure fruitful
discussions, such as knowledge of the other group’s
or individual’s background, or skills pertaining
to social consciousness and awareness (see the
Intercultural Competences Tree illustration for
a list of competences associated with effective
ICD). These are important for knowing whether
the dialogues should begin with discussions about
difference or otherness rather than similarity
(Ganesh and Holmes, 2011, p. 84). Another example
is having the skills to facilitate or encourage
engagement and meaningful contribution from
the less active or vocal in an ICD (Phipps, 2014).
Organization and leadership
This basket of enabling conditions includes
decisions made about the management of the
ICD in question and its leadership. These are
the consistency or inconsistency of funding and
support, utilization of the ‘theory of change’ logic
to increase long term and holistic understanding
of purpose (Wadley, 2017), and the self-awareness
and necessary skills of managers or mediators
(Dervin, 2015; Abu-Nimer and Smith, 2016). It
also extends to the credibility and legitimacy of
managers or mediators, degree of connectedness
between managers and participants (Orton, 2009)
and participants’ trust in the individuals at the
managing/operating level of an ICD, which can be
derailed by shocks such as turnover in staff and
inconsistency in supports and resources (Froude
and Zanchelli, 2017). Other universal success factors
that relate to management include the adaptability
of processes, diversity in spaces and venues, and
the creation of more informal, everyday interactions
between stakeholders, not just targeted projects or
moments in time (Orton, 2009).
Inclusion and representation
While the term ‘inclusivity’ is frequently used by
those in peacebuilding and mediation studies
to denote broad participation in dialogues, it is
infrequently defined or critiqued. In practice, a loose
understanding of inclusivity can translate into a
selection of participants from various seemingly
different organizations that are actually all from
the same political, religious, ethnic or economic
background. For genuine ICD (as a transformative
dialogue) to take place, it is imperative to involve
individuals and groups who represent ‘the other’
both inside and outside of the represented cultures
(Abu-Nimer and Smith, 2016) and to facilitate their
speaking and contributing (Phipps, 2014).
The timing and selection of groups’ and individuals’
participation is another important dynamic of
representation. There is a body of literature that
supports the targeting and encouraging of certain
types of groups at certain points and for different
purposes. For example, the participation of faithbased groups/religious organizations and women-led
civil society organizations is seen as pertinent to both
the resolution and prevention of conflict, including in
countering violent extremism (WB/UN, 2018).
In summary, inclusive change, according to Yousuf, is
therefore a process that requires a constant review
of ‘risks, trade-offs, opportunities and benefits of
including different groups’ agendas at different stages
in the transition’ (2018, p. 4). The parameters of
inclusion require constant review and risk assessment,
based on the intended goals, and careful decisions
about how the ICD process will work.
Linkages and coherency
Another important basket of enabling factors
relates to the linkages that ICD activities have with
other processes, both horizontally and vertically.
A body of literature suggests that partnerships
across different circles and activities in society, and
international partnerships, help spread and widen
knowledge sharing and lessons learned in ICD
processes (Froude and Zanchelli, 2017).
ICD involving participants with wider connections
and networks with respect to their identities are
said to be more effective in building longer-term
peace (Orton, 2016). The literature also holds that
coalitions and associations such as neighbourhood
or community organizations can build the cohesion
that helps ‘buffer’ against shocks, especially when
these associations forge relationships across groups
(WB/UN, 2018, p. 89; Orton, 2009).
Vertical linkages are also key. If the effort is local,
it needs to be connected to the national level for
wider support. The 2018 OECD States of Fragility
report underscores the need for linkages: ‘Bonding
and bridging without linking confine efforts to the
grassroots level in the absence of higher level of
financial support, leadership, information sharing
or state legitimacy’ (OECD, 2018b, p. 45). This holds
true in the reverse direction: efforts at the national
level unlinked to the local community level will lack
local know-how, support and ownership.
Skills and values
Certain values and skills are seen to underpin
effective intercultural dialogue. Collectively,
these are commonly referred to as intercultural
competences — the attitudes, behaviours and
values needed to flourish in diverse environments
and effectively and reflexively change one’s
viewpoints towards others. Those who are
interculturally competent demonstrate a capacity
to shift their perspective from an ethnocentric
standpoint to one that acknowledges cultural
differences, and allows for effective and
transformative communication with others.
Intercultural competences are rooted in certain
inalienable values, such as human rights, and
branch out to include various different behaviours
and skills, such as multilingualism, reflexivity,
and empathy. One comprehensive model of
intercultural competence is that developed by
UNESCO in 2013 (UNESCO, 2013), displayed here in
the ‘intercultural competence tree’.
The skills and values needed to be interculturally
competent can be taught through formal and
informal educational structures, and practiced/
reinforced through a wide range of strategies,
policies and practices which touch upon many
different domains of action.
In summary, the enabling environment of ICD
is made up of the wider structural factors and
of enabling factors (principles, values and
competences). Together they push and pull
on ICD as it occurs in the different domains
(education, media and ICT, culture and the arts,
local governance and urban planning, political
negotiation) and determine ICD’s potential to
contribute to peace-related outcomes. And although
presented here as a set list of factors, the nature of
the enabling environment is evolving, and the choice
of what elements can be incorporated into the
present model is very flexible. The following Section 3
describes how sets of indicators or measures can
be used to determine the presence and strength
of these environmental factors, and how data help
advance the application of ICD to policy needs.
Section 2 - The enabling environment for ICD
Figure 2 - Intercultural competence tree (adapted from UNESCO, 2013)
Nonverbal behavior
The enabling environment
is the collection of forces
that create the potential
for intercultural dialogue to
contribute to goals such as
social cohesion, reconciliation
and conflict prevention.
©-UNESCO/Euan Mackway-Jones
Section 3
the enabling
of ICD
Section 3 - Measuring the enabling environment of ICD
specific request of Member States in the
UNESCO Survey on Intercultural Dialogue was
for guidance in the use of data and measurement
to support evidence-based policy-making in ICD.
The value of data and indicators, in general, is in
helping policy-makers understand the magnitude
of a social problem or the impact of efforts
to mitigate it, moving away from assumed or
proposed links between phenomena and towards
more empirically grounded responses. According
to Mohammed Ibrahim of the Ibrahim Index of
African Governance (IIAG), data-driven policymaking allows for a ‘more rational public debate
on sensitive topics’ (2012). Data and indicators can
contribute to difficult decision-making processes
regarding issue prioritization and investment.
Yet, measurement in the ICD space is limited
by a number of factors. First, measuring social
phenomena and their interconnectedness is
intrinsically difficult because people, behaviours and
institutions are complex, and perceptions of them
highly subjective. ICD is particularly challenging to
define and measure given the fuzzy and subjective
understandings of its key components, ‘culture’ and
‘dialogue’, and the many objectives for which it is
used. This means that measurement of the ability
of ICD to cause or contribute to peace-related
outcomes will look different in different contexts,
depending on how that society defines the
parameters of ICD and what is deemed successful
A first step in the ICD measurement process is
defining and understanding what ICD is in the
different country contexts and how it produces the
types of specific objectives previously listed (pp. 1213) and more general outcomes already described
(pp. 13-15). The second step is determining whether
the wider structural environment is conducive to
such ICD.
The following subsection outlines the process for
measuring the presence and strength of both
the structural factors and the enabling factors
(principles, values and competences), based on
the research presented in Section 2. The structural
factors are well represented in a collection of global
datasets. However, those elements considered
under the enabling factors (principles, values
and competences) are often best measured
through contextualized, locally collected data.
Where such data could not be produced, globally
comparable proxy measures have been identified
from existing datasets. While these can only be
considered indicative measures of the presence and
performance of these different enabling conditions,
they can be helpful as a reference to guide further
enquiry. By measuring these two layers of enabling
conditions, Member States can better understand
what is required to catalyse and support ICD
adequately; begin to identify potential blockages to
effective ICD processes; and prioritize investments.
Framework for measurement
Understanding ICD, its relationship to its enabling
environment and how it can be measured can
be aided by ‘systems thinking’, which ‘accepts
that social knowledge is provisional and context
dependent… [entailing] consideration not only
of the desired outcomes but also of the complex
web of inputs, processes, and outputs that lead to
these outcomes’ (Head and Alford, 2015, p. 724).
The ‘system’, in this case of ICD, is the enabling
environment (inputs), the domains and various ICD
activities within them (processes), and the peacerelated goals such as social cohesion, reconciliation
and conflict prevention (outcomes). They work
together as in Figure 3.
Figure 3 shows:
1. The structural layer of the enabling environment
– stability and non-violence, horizontal equality,
freedom of expression, governance and citizenship,
and social cohesion.
2. The domains, where the ICD typically occurs –
education, media and ICT, culture and the arts,
local governance and urban planning, and political
negotiation. It is here that the different spaces and
opportunities, participants and actors initiate or
implement ICD activities focused on various topics
with different goals. The domains (as examples
of ICD) are conditioned by the two layers of the
enabling environment.
3. The enabling layer (principles, values and
competences) of the enabling environment,
whose presence directly influences the success of
the various activities, programmes and policies
implemented in the domains to bring about the
ICD for peace-related outcomes.
4. The peace-related outcomes — listed here
as social cohesion, reconciliation and conflict
prevention but not limited to them — that can be
achieved by applying ICD.
Figure 3 - Enabling environment for effective ICD
Governance &
Stability &
Media & ICT
& the Arts
Freedom of
Local governance
& Urban planning
& leadership
Inclusion &
& coherency
& values
Section 3 - Measuring the enabling environment of ICD
The distinction between the two layers in the
environmental factors (1 + 3 in the list above) is an
important feature of the approach. It demonstrates
that the spaces, opportunities, participants and
topics linked to the occurrence of ICD can be
supported at multiple levels, and interventions can
be initialized at two key entry points: macro and
Another important feature of the framework is
the direction of influences. Given that the enabling
factors operate at two levels, the direction of
influence on ICD processes in the domains is both
top-down from structural factors to domains, and
bottom-up from principles, values and competences
to domains. And it is lateral: the domains, structural
factors and outcomes all influence each other.
In other words, the entire ICD process functions
as an interconnected system. The enabling
environment strengthens the potential for the ICD
activities in the domains, to contribute to building
peaceful societies. At the same time the ICD
activities strengthen the enabling environment.
For example, the presence of citizens’ rights and
democratic structures will increase the ability of
ICD to lead to reconciliation, which in turn will
strengthen the foundation and support for more
equitable and rights-based democratic structures,
stability and non-violence, and so on.
The literature review, expert consultation and data
scoping exercises that took place at the beginning
of this project produced an initial framework for
measuring the enabling environment for ICD. This
framework has data available for a large number
of countries across most of the proposed indicators
that are outlined in this section. These suggested
indicators have broad data coverage in terms of
both countries covered and years of available data.
The table with indicators offers 23 indicators across
the ICD measurement framework. Where no direct
measures could be identified, proxy measures were
used. Of the 23 indicators, 17 have data for more
than 150 countries, and all 23 have data for 5 or
more years.
While there is sufficient data to measure the
enabling environment for ICD, there is conceptual
overlap with broader measures of development and
stability. Therefore, the most useful way to measure
the ICD-enabling environment is to develop
multiple indices (in the form of a barometer), each
focusing on one separate enabling factor in the
framework. This can produce a detailed analysis
of the relationship between the various factors,
pinpointing where countries need to develop the
enabling environment for ICD and identify the
capacities to support it.
An important note of caution: the proposed
indicators serve as indicative measures; they can
vary in their representation of the actual enabling
factors specific to different country contexts. The
following suggested indicators are able to capture
the identified structural and other enabling factors
as closely as possible. But as mentioned above,
within this broad framework the local process will
necessarily require developing other measures and
practices that help communities understand their
particular dimensions of ICD. What these measures
are, and how they are recorded, may be an integral
part of the ICD process. Indeed, as has been
pointed out, communities should be encouraged
to explore qualitative as well as quantitative
Suggested indicators to measure structural factors
Number of
Gallup World Poll:
Safe Walking Alone
Global Peace Index: Likelihood
of Violent Demonstrations
Global Peace Index:
Political Instability
Indices of Social Development:
Internal Conflict
Fragile States Index:
Factionalized Elites
World Governance Indicators:
Control of Corruption
World Governance Indicators:
Government Effectiveness
World Governance Indicators:
Political Stability and Absence of
World Governance Indicators:
Regulatory Quality
World Governance Indicators:
Rule of Law
World Governance Indicators:
Voice and Accountability
Religion Restrictions:
Government Restrictions Index
Religion Restrictions:
Social Hostilities Index
WPFI: World Press Freedom Index
Fragile States Index:
Group Grievances
VDEM: Horizontal Accountability
Intergroup cohesion: Indices of
Social Development: Intergroup
Trust: World Values Survey:
People Can Be Trusted
Stability and
and citizenship
Freedom of
Social cohesion
Section 3 - Measuring the enabling environment of ICD
Suggested indicators to measure enabling factors
(principles, values and competences)
Number of
Gallup World Poll:
Approval of Country’s Leadership
International Institute of Social
Studies: Inclusion of minorities
World Value Survey: Tolerance
and respect for other people
Linkages and
World Values Survey:
Group membership
Skills and values
Global Corruption Barometer:
Trust in Public Institutions
Leadership and
Inclusion and
The next phase of the initiative is to build a
barometer and test — and possibly adjust — the
framework. This process will allow for more bespoke
data collection particularly regarding indicators
related to facilitating ICD (i.e. the enabling factors)
which were not adequately captured by the
national level indicators examined. The outcome will
provide a clearer understanding of the link between
the enabling environment and the actual fruitful
ICD that takes place in the several domains that
have been identified. Justification on the weighting
adopted in the barometer, and explanation of any
data imputation needed, will be made clear in the
outputs used to present the data.
In summary, Section 3 has described the need
and justification for measuring ICD, some
general challenges with respect to measuring
complex social phenomena and those specific
to the measurement of ICD. An explanation of
the selected indicators and intended mode of
presenting the data is provided, along with an
explanation of the limitations of data sources,
and steps taken to mitigate these limitations.
Figure 3 depicts the ICD measurement framework
in its entirety, comprising the structural factors,
domains, enabling factors (principles, values and
competences), and desired outcomes.
By measuring the two layers of
enabling conditions, Member
States can better understand
what is required to catalyse
and support ICD adequately;
begin to identify potential
blockages to effective ICD
processes; and prioritize
©-iStock/Xavier Arnau
Section 4
of the
Section 4 - Application of the measurement framework
he ultimate aim of building the measurement
framework described so far is both to render
clear the value of ICD for broader development
and security priorities, and to provide actionable
insights to enhance the effectiveness of
interventions to support dialogue processes at all
levels. The data collected for building the proposed
barometer will facilitate the analysis of the
interplay between enabling factors; highlight the
specific need for dialogue processes in countries;
and offer guidance to influence the factors by
pointing to specific interventions with the highest
potential impact on that environment. Over
time, analysis of the data will be able to provide
further insight by showing correlations between
the enabling framework and dialogue and other
global measurements of development, such as
material well-being or labour market inclusion.
While the framework, with the data produced
through the initiative, can be used for a wide
variety of purposes, UNESCO and the Institute
for Economics and Peace (IEP) expect two key
outcomes to be advanced.
The first desired outcome is the enhanced
use of evidence by stakeholders designing and
implementing dialogue processes. Two key outputs
will contribute to this outcome through the broad
dissemination of the core data and analysis.
These are:
• One, an online barometer presenting the data
accessibly, according to enabling factor and
country. It will serve as a one-stop reference
for policy-makers, civil society stakeholders and
other practitioners to understand the strength
of the different enabling domains within their
context. It will also provide access to analysis of
the data and opportunities to obtain support in
responding to the data.
• Two, a global report analysing key trends. It will
examine the insights arising from the data more
closely, showing notably how the relationships
between different enabling conditions affect
their individual relative strength. This report
will be launched at high-profile events in all
UNESCO regions, in an effort to disseminate its
insights widely for advocacy by diverse actors in
governments and civil society.
The second desired outcome is enhanced datadirected support to improve stakeholders’
capacities to design and implement effective
dialogue processes. Through the creation of
a comprehensive mechanism of support, the
Dialogue Support Facility, three outputs will be
ne, the delivery of capacity-building support
and technical assistance. It will consist of four
key pillars of activity, directed by the needs
and demands identified by the data (training,
skills development, strategic advice, and
supplementary in-depth analysis).
• Two, the provision of funding support. It will
accelerate the actions of key stakeholders in
favour of a stronger enabling environment for
effective dialogue.
• Three, support for coordination and coherence
with other peace and stability mechanisms.
It will consist of activities including strategic
exchange meetings, targeted advocacy efforts,
and the development of an online knowledge
exchange platform.
he purpose of this report and of the first phase
of this initiative is to introduce and describe a
measurement framework to understand ICD as
a process that increases the bonds, connections
and trust between individuals, groups and public
institutions, as a means to create more cohesive
societies that are better equipped to find common
ground and thus contribute to sustainable
development and conflict prevention. The
framework thus provides a practical instrument to
strengthen the triple nexus – humanitarian, peace
and development sectors – and reinforce the notion
of SDG 16+.
The report demonstrated how the success or failure
of ICD to bring about these objectives and foster
more peaceful societies depends on a multitude
of factors. It underscored the importance of the
enabling environment to set the stage or lay the
foundation for ICD engagements that go beyond
mere contact, towards transformative dialogue.
This supportive enabling environment is comprised
of a set of structural factors and a set of enabling
factors (principles, values and competences). They
work together to condition the effects that ICD
processes have on peace-related outcomes in the
different domains of action.
The report discussed the common challenges to
an operational definition of ICD, based largely
on conceptual debates about the meaning of
culture. It showed how these problems can be
overcome by breaking ICD up into its component
parts and redefining culture as a collective of
multiple identities and dialogue as a transformative
exchange. It then turned to the topic of ICD in
practice, drawing on examples of different types
of ICD processes from the domains of education,
media and ICT, culture and the arts, local
governance and urban planning, and political
negotiation. Finally, it focused on the question of
how ICD processes – notably in these domains –
promote objectives such as creating linkages across
groups, peaceful decision-making and changing
mindsets, among others.
By presenting an approach to the measurement
of these enabling conditions, this report represents
a first step to producing the data that UNESCO
Member States indicate are needed to enhance
the effectiveness of, and engagement with,
intercultural dialogue for sustainable peace and
inclusive development. The goal is to increase the
operational effectiveness and relevance of ICD,
ultimately moving it beyond its traditional use as
an aspirational and normative standard.
Background on methodology
Structural factors
The key steps of the methodology to develop this
report and framework were the following:
1. Scoping study (April – August 2018): The Institute
for Economics and Peace (IEP) was commissioned
to provide a thorough literature review of the
enabling environment of ICD, existing efforts
to measure intercultural dialogue and related
themes, and to propose a draft measurement
framework. The literature review focused on
the question: what conditions contribute to the
effectiveness of ICD to promote peace-related
outcomes? Following this, a data scoping exercise
was undertaken to match the literature research
findings with the most appropriate available data
and to identify gaps and needs.
2. Expert consultation meeting (December 5
and 6, 2018): The highly interactive workshop
provided a critical review of the Scoping Study
and, based on it, a redesign of the core elements
of the framework. Expert participants from the
following organizations were involved: World
Bank, OECD, UNDP, the UNESCO Institute for
Statistics, Council of Europe, Nordic Cultural
Fund, the Institute for Economics and Peace,
City University (UK), Durham University (UK),
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de
Janeiro (Brazil), Deakin University (Australia),
the CELL Foundation, and representatives of all
UNESCO programme sectors (education, natural
sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and
communication and information). Key decisions
(on the structural factors, domains and the
concept of an iterative process) were reached by
3. Survey of experts and UNESCO staff (January
– May 2019): A select number of UNESCO staff
and experts from the December consultation
were asked to provide additional input. This
exchange was conducted via a survey.
4. Report finalization and review (May – December
2019): The writing of the report was undertaken
between May and September 2019, before a
comprehensive peer-review by multidisciplinary
UNESCO staff and external experts (from the
World Bank, UNDP, City University, and Durham
Gallup World Poll: Safe Walking Alone
The Safe Walking Alone indicator measures the
percentage of respondents who feel safe walking
alone at night in their neighbourhood or city. It
provides a general measure of the fear of violence
and crime and the level of safety in a country, and
has been used in other research by IEP as a proxy
for trust in local governance and institutions.
Global Peace Index:
Likelihood of Violent Demonstrations
The Likelihood of Violent Demonstrations indicator
is a qualitative assessment of the likelihood
of violent demonstrations, riots or severe civil
disturbances. It is produced by country analysts
in the Economist Intelligence Unit, and has been
an indicator in the Global Peace Index since its
inception in 2007.
Global Peace Index: Political Instability
The Political Instability indicator measures the
stability of political institutions with a particular
emphasis on the electoral process and the
transition from one government to the next, and
indicates whether this transition will be disruptive
to business and civil society. It is also produced
by country analysts in the Economist Intelligence
Unit and has been an indicator in the Global Peace
Index since its inception in 2007.
Indices of Social Development: Internal Conflict
The Internal Conflict indicator from the Indices
of Social Development uses data on the number
of reported incidents of riots, terrorist acts,
assassinations and kidnappings; agency ratings on
the likelihood of civil disorder, terrorism and social
instability; and reported levels of engagement in
violent riots, strikes and confrontations.
Fragile States Index: Factionalized Elites
The Factionalized Elites indicator is part of
the Fragile States Index, and measures the
factionalization of power and control in institutions
by identity group (ethnicity, religious, class, etc.)
The World Bank’s World Governance Indicators
(WGI) (covers six suggested indicators)
The WGI are widely considered to be the most
reliable and wide-ranging quantitative measures
of governance. They measure the quality and
scope of governance across six areas: Voice and
Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of
Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory
Quality, Rule of Law, Control of Corruption.
World Values Survey: People Can Be Trusted
The People Can Be Trusted question from the World
Values Survey measures whether respondents
feel that people in general in their country can be
trusted, scored on a 1 to 10 scale. It is the strongest,
most reliable general measure of trust.
Religion Restrictions:
Government Restrictions Index
Pew’s Religious Restrictions indicator looks at
official government censure and restriction of
religious activity.
Gallup World Poll:
Approval of Country’s Leadership
This indicator looks at the percentage of
respondents who approve of a country’s leadership,
and is thus broadly descriptive of trust in political
WPFI: World Press Freedom Index
The World Press Freedom Index is a survey-based
composite index that measures press freedom
with regard to pluralism, media independence,
the media environment, legislative framework,
press transparency, and infrastructure. It is not
an assessment of the quality of journalism with a
country, but rather a measure of whether or not
the press can report freely and openly, without fear
of censorship or self-censorship.
Fragile States Index: Group Grievances
The Group Grievance Indicator focuses on divisions
and schisms among different groups in society
– particularly divisions based on social or political
characteristics – and their role in access to services
or resources, and inclusion in the political process.
Group Grievance may also have a historical
component, where aggrieved communal groups
cite injustices of the past, sometimes going back
centuries, that influence and shape that group’s
role in society and relationships with other groups.
Varieties of Democracy (V-DEM)
Horizontal Inequality
The V-DEM Indicator of horizontal inequality
measures whether all social groups, as
distinguished by language, ethnicity, religion,
race, region or caste, enjoy the same level of civil
Indices of Social Development:
Intergroup Cohesion
The Intergroup Cohesion indicator uses data
on intergroup disparities, perceptions of being
discriminated against, and feelings of distrust
against members of other groups.
Enabling factors
International Institute of Social Studies:
Inclusion of minorities
This indicator measures levels of discrimination
against vulnerable groups such as indigenous
peoples, migrants, refugees or lower caste groups
World Value Survey: Tolerance and
respect for other people
This indicator measures the importance of
tolerance and respect for other people among the
qualities children are encouraged to learn at home.
World Values Survey: Group membership
The data on group membership is based on surveys
in which respondents are asked whether they
belong to groups or organizations of a particular
type and whether they consider themselves to be
an ‘active’ or ‘passive’ member of these groups. The
WVS classifies groups and organizations in different
categories: groups based on religious affiliation;
sports and recreational organizations; art, music or
educational organizations; trade unions, political
parties; humanitarian or charitable organizations;
environmental organizations; and other types of
organizations, including advocacy groups with
specific causes.
Global Corruption Barometer:
Trust in Public Institutions
Transparency International’s Global Corruption
Barometer has several questions that measure the
extent to which respondents trust their country’s
institutions, and whether they perceive those
institutions as being corrupt.
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Dialo gue
A conceptual and
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