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Education and intercultural dialogue offer solution for the future of Europe

“Schools are becoming vehicles and centres of intercultural dialogue which must also be accepted by other sub-systems in society, in particular by families and the policy makers who shape public opinion,” said the current President of the Education, Youth and Culture Council, Slovenian Minister of Education and Sport Dr Milan Zver, at the informal meeting of European Ministers of Education in Oslo. He stressed that “in the information society era when distances and differences between people, regions and nations are shrinking, intercultural dialogue is the key to success and future of both education and the economy.”

On the first day of the informal meeting of education ministers entitled ‘Institutional Foundations for Dialogue and Respect’, being held on 5 and 6 June 2008 in Oslo, the Ministers discussed the role of education in fostering intercultural dialogue. The keynote speaker, Amin Maalouf, a renowned philosopher and author of many successful works, pointed out: “Living together in difference is a difficult task and a constant struggle; we all speak about it, we have all the theoretical answers but practice reveals a different picture.” He continued by saying that “living together is a key task for our future, one in which intercultural dialogue will play an extremely important role.” According to Maalouf, Europe has the greatest potential to realise the true essence of intercultural dialogue. “But we must bear in mind that the instructions for living together can never be written in stone, as every new generation has the right to add its own system of values,” he said. Today’s meeting was also attended by the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Jan Figel, who pointed out that intercultural dialogue is not just an event but rather a way of life.

Tomorrow, the ministers will discuss the role of multilingualism and education in promoting intercultural dialogue.


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Date: 05.06.2008