Sopot transnational conference
From 17-20th of May 2007, 24 partners of the network NILE met in Sopot, seaside resort of Gdansk in Poland, to discuss issues around the role and responsibility of media for fostering intercultural dialogue. A good cooperation between the field of adult education and the media being one important focus of one of the 4 working groups of NILE, the opportunity to contribute to a TV discussion to be broadcasted throughout Poland in the framework of the Programme ‘EUROPE IS HERE’ seemed an exciting opportunity and a good practice example as such.
Minorities themselves are quite few in Northern Poland, the main three being Muslim (less than 150) Jewish (less than 150) and Kashubians, an ethnic Polish minority, numbering several thousands in a local population of approximately 40,000 (Sopot) 500,000 (Gdansk). The Kashubians are a true ethnic minority, distinct from the Poles in both language and culture. Originally western Slavs with ethnic links to the Poles, the Kashubians are believed to have settled in the area around 1,500 years ago.
Nevertheless, inspired by NILE, the Polish partner, Association for Civic Media (A4CM), who is involved in the film production business around minority issues, did make it a point to host the NILE meeting in Sopot, exploiting the expertise of the partnership on intercultural issues, with the aim to promote the issue of intercultural learning and dialogue in Poland .
TV-Debate and European Conference
Other partners of NILE for example, Lenford White from NIACE, Claire Frachon from Panos Institute Paris, Milica Pesic from the Media Diversity Institute in the UK and Maria Hirtenlehner and Susanne Gratzl from IZKS in Austria could give many examples of how intercultural dialogue works in practice with different target groups and about the important role that journalists play..
NILE- transnational meeting
Network meetings, as always, illustrate the broad range of perspectives and level of understanding between different countries on the issues of interculturality, migration and cultural diversity. In this regard the meeting itself provided a good opportunity in intercultural learning, showing the efforts, difficulties and frustrations around trying to understand the ‘other’ perspective.
Finally it needs to be stressed that an exchange of information and experiences across Europe cannot work without adequate financial support. NILE alone with its fairly scant financial support from the Grundtvig programme could never have implemented the studio debate. This was only possibly through the synergy effort of the Polish partner, who had secured extra money for the production of a series of films for ‘EUROPE IS HERE’. Maybe this is the best example even for the added European value of networking, that the different stakeholders work with a transsectoral vision, making best use of their synergetic capacities.
More information on NILE and intercultural learning: www.intercultural-learning.net