Il Tuo Erasmus Con ESN

12th Edition


Internationalisation and intercultural dialogue are increasingly crucial in a globalised and interconnected world. These concepts not only facilitate cooperation and mutual understanding between different cultures, but can also become tools for resolving and preventing international conflicts. In particular, intercultural dialogue can be essential in promoting the understanding and mutual respect among diverse cultures. How can communication and interaction between different cultures help resolve conflicts? How can these processes contribute to overcoming stereotypes and prejudices, fostering a climate of tolerance and cooperation?

The Erasmus+ program can be considered a concrete example of how student mobility can promote intercultural dialogue. This project not only enriches the educational experience of young people but can also help create a generation of global citizens with an open and inclusive mindset.
How can international mobility experiences positively influence intercultural relations and promote peace? How can the internationalisation of education prepare young people to become agents of change in the global society, capable of promoting mutual understanding and international cooperation?
Internationalisation and intercultural dialogue are essential tools for building lasting peace. Through education and cultural exchange, it is possible to promote mutual understanding and prevent international conflicts.

Which additional policies or initiatives could be implemented to further promote internationalisation and intercultural dialogue among young people? How can we invest in these programs to ensure a future of global cooperation?

Develop the topic in the form of a short essay by interpreting and comparing the documents provided. Argue the dissertation also with references to your personal and study knowledge. Give the essay a coherent title and remember to quote the documents in the text. Do not exceed the protocol sheet/four-page limit in Arial 12 font, double spacing and normal margins. 

Good luck and read the documents carefully because a good start is half the battle!


Document #1 

Council of Europe - Intercultural Dialogue “Living Together As Equals in Dignity”

“Intercultural dialogue is understood as 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 the societies of Europe and between Europe and the wider world.”

“The risks of non-dialogue need to be fully appreciated. Not to engage in dialogue makes it easy to develop a stereotypical perception of the other, build up a climate of mutual suspicion, tension and anxiety, use minorities as scapegoats, and generally foster intolerance and discrimination. The breakdown of dialogue within and between societies can provide, in certain cases, a climate conducive to the emergence, and the exploitation by some, of extremism and indeed terrorism. Intercultural dialogue, including on the international plane, is indispensable between neighbours. 

Shutting the door on a diverse environment can offer only an illusory security. A retreat into the apparently reassuring comforts of an exclusive community may lead to a stifling conformism. The absence of dialogue deprives everyone of the benefit of new cultural openings, necessary for personal and social development in a globalised world. Segregated and mutually exclusive communities provide a climate that is often hostile to individual autonomy and the unimpeded exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

An absence of dialogue does not take account of the lessons of Europe’s cultural and political heritage. European history has been peaceful and productive whenever a real determination prevailed to speak to our neighbour and to co-operate across dividing lines. It has all too often led to human catastrophe whenever there was a lack of openness towards the other. Only dialogue allows people to live in unity in diversity.” 


Document #2

UNESCO - Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Article 2 

Guiding principles 

1. Principle of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms 

Cultural diversity can be protected and promoted only if human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, information and communication, as well as the ability of individuals to choose cultural expressions, are guaranteed. No one may invoke the provisions of this Convention in order to infringe human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or guaranteed by international law, or to limit the scope thereof. 

2. Principle of sovereignty 

States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to adopt measures and policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions within their territory.

3. Principle of equal dignity of and respect for all cultures 

The protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions presuppose the recognition of equal dignity of and respect for all cultures, including the cultures of persons belonging to minorities and indigenous peoples. 

4. Principle of international solidarity and cooperation 

International cooperation and solidarity should be aimed at enabling countries, especially developing countries, to create and strengthen their means of cultural expression, including their cultural industries, whether nascent or established, at the local, national and international levels. 

5. Principle of the complementarity of economic and cultural aspects of development

Since culture is one of the mainsprings of development, the cultural aspects of development are as important as its economic aspects, which individuals and peoples have the fundamental right to participate in and enjoy. 

6. Principle of sustainable development 

Cultural diversity is a rich asset for individuals and societies. The protection, promotion and maintenance of cultural diversity are an essential requirement for sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations. 

7. Principle of equitable access 

Equitable access to a rich and diversified range of cultural expressions from all over the world and access of cultures to the means of expressions and dissemination constitute important elements for enhancing cultural diversity and encouraging mutual understanding. 

8. Principle of openness and balance 

When States adopt measures to support the diversity of cultural expressions, they should seek to promote, in an appropriate manner, openness to other cultures of the world and to ensure that these measures are geared to the objectives pursued under the present Convention. 

Document #3

Panchetti - Intercultural Law as a Conflict Resolution Tool

"The starting point of this intercultural approach is, therefore, the modification of the very meaning of the word 'conflict': from a negative element to be avoided and resolved as a pathological form of social life, to a physiological element that must be learned to manage, because it is inherent to the very idea of society and, before that, to any interpersonal relationship.

Undoubtedly, this change in perspective regarding the role and meaning of conflict dynamics in societies represents a profound innovation, brought by the intercultural methodology compared to the usual ways of considering such situations. This approach is even more necessary in cases of culturally-based conflicts, where neither party can be exclusively blamed or credited, as all parties put forward claims stemming from their own cultural traditions, religion, and historical dictates, often seen by the other side through the distorting lens of prejudices and stereotypes. 

A first proof of the multidisciplinary connections stimulated by the intercultural approach is the emphasis on the etymological origin in English of intercultural law, 'cross culture law,' which makes it clear that the origin of this specific discipline lies in the need to 'cross different cultures,' building points of contact and mutual understanding as the most reasonable solution to cultural conflicts and a tool for achieving social cohesion.

Regarding the development of the application of this intercultural methodology through the analysis of different conflict styles used in addressing conflicts, interdisciplinarity remains a fundamental cornerstone. Starting with the analysis of the avoidance style and then proceeding with the competitive one, this different approach based on dialectical mediation and, therefore, non-violence demonstrates how, in both cases, if the needs of one of the parties are satisfied, it happens at the expense of the quality of interaction between them, and conversely, if the parties avoid a deterioration of the relationship, they do not get their needs met.

Indeed, following the first interaction style, the parties are pushed to find in the denial of the conflict or the underestimation of its scope the means to alleviate the confrontation, precisely by avoiding the real extent of their diversity. In this way, the conflict remains unchanged, and its denial or downsizing causes a delay in understanding the real terms and, therefore, also the possible solutions. In conclusion, the conflictual relationship momentarily does not worsen, but at the same time, no one gets their needs met, not even partially. This is the relational model that leads to relativism and multiculturalism.

In the competitive style, on the other hand, the underlying logic, that of obtaining the maximum possible satisfaction for the needs of one party and the maximum damage to the demands of the counterpart, inevitably leads to the exacerbation of the conflictual relationship. None of the parties will be willing to see their requests compromised while the counterpart achieves maximum satisfaction of their needs, and the conflict will inevitably escalate. This logic, defined as 'lose-win' in the intercultural perspective, can only find suitable application in cases where one party renounces the achievement of their objectives and the expression of their diversity, adapting to the goals and identities of others. This is the case of monocultural societal models.

Instead, [...] the cooperative style, abandoning the logic of assigning blame and reason entirely to each of the parties, aims to understand the other's demands and accept that they exist, identifying solutions that include to the greatest possible extent for that specific situation the demands of both parties. It is, therefore, the theoretical-practical definition of an approach that must be shaped each time according to the specific characteristics of each individual cultural conflict and that requires the search for innovative solutions each time." 


Document #4

CeSPI - The Prevention of Conflicts Through the Integration of Societies

"It is undeniable, in fact, that globalisation is merely a virtual reality if we do not take into account the diversities and problems that afflict different societies, and therefore, it is necessary to focus, first and foremost, on an in-depth historical and political analysis to promote models adapted to individual scenarios.

One of the most important missions assigned to International Organizations is related to the respect and protection of human rights, which are increasingly becoming a priority for peace missions. The theme of human rights, along with peace and development, is recognized as one of the three fundamental pillars of the United Nations' action, and this is the guiding thread of peace operations, often expressly mentioned in their respective mandates. [...]

Investing in the promotion of human rights, starting with those concerning fundamental freedoms, is increasingly important to promote greater stability and strengthen resistance to destabilisation by agents who may have an interest in creating the conditions for future conflicts. [...]

In essence, it is necessary to better anchor peace promotion and conflict prevention strategies to the policies of stabilising fragmented and unstable societies, by investing in initiatives that favour the overcoming of interethnic tensions, especially at the local level, and discouraging separatist temptations that unfortunately persist even in the West.

On these topics, a debate has begun among regional organisations, even within the UN, with the aim of updating the very concept of preventive diplomacy and identifying a broader strategy that fits into the context of promoting long-term sustainable development models. [...]

We live in a difficult and unpredictable world; we need to find the space to put back on the table the issues that directly affect our security and that of the peoples, to show leadership through empathetic dialogue in order to meet the needs of each country while respecting universal human rights.

Where there are minorities and no respect for diversity, where economic interests are pursued without considering the culture, history, and traditions of the people, there is despair and unrest, and inevitably, the danger of latent challenges looms, which in extreme cases, can materialise into threats to peace.

On one hand, we witness the affliction of all those whose fundamental rights are trampled upon, and on the other hand, like a candle burning at both ends, the weakening of multilateralism, crisis management tools, and a return to the arms race in the wake of nationalistic policies influenced by geopolitics.

Technological developments, which should help us tackle increasingly complex problems, sometimes pose additional challenges themselves. If we were to hypothesise new conflicts between the most advanced countries, this time at the forefront could be robotic systems, the so-called autonomous weapons equipped with artificial intelligence.

The use of these systems in armed conflicts is not only a threat to the entire world but also raises very significant ethical and legal issues, as they would be able to act even without human intervention. In the wrong hands, they could become weapons of terror. [...]

We must work together to face the global and transnational challenges that affect the lives of all states, all of us, so that diversities become an opportunity for growth and integration to guarantee peace among peoples." 


Document #5

Articolo - Baranova, T., Kobicheva, A., & Tokareva, E. (2020). The impact of Erasmus program on intercultural communication skills of students. 

“In a current globalised world a range of new competences are required from young specialists graduated from university. Among such competences a special position is occupied by intercultural communication skills, which reflect the ability of person to maintain the diverse and multi-level contacts and forms of communication inside multicultural teams as well as use various behavioural strategies within social and professional activities. Intercultural communication is an essential requirement in the critical efforts to ensure world peace, stability, necessary to improve relationships between countries, ensure resource sustainability and promote values like tolerance and diversity. All these explain why such competence becomes so vital recent time. According to many authors the best conditions for the development of contemporary competencies can be created using the educational technology “learning by doing”. Also the task of improving of the skills of intercultural interaction is solved through the participation of students in various international projects and international educational programs.” 


Document #6

ESN International - Intercultural Dialogue Manifesto

“The concept of intercultural dialogue can be important to not only understand a country or region's specific context, but also as a means of exploring one's own culture and values from the perspective of another cultural community. Based on the survey analysis by UNESCO in 2017 indicating an example of definition by a Member State, while the word dialogue might usually refer to a conversation between different people, the term is also used to describe a form of interaction between two or more persons (who might hold opposing, differing views) that emphasises self-expression and reciprocal listening, without judgement in a spirit of openness, and has a transformative potential. Validation of the other has an empowering effect. Dialogue therefore functions as a smart power tool of diplomacy.

Culture is embodied in a specific community in the way its members feel, think and act, the way they understand themselves and the world, express their moral, aesthetic, religious and political values and establish particular relations as individuals and groups in their daily lives. Usually, people relate one culture to a nation, but that can lead to misunderstandings as this may overlook cultural differences within one nation and also overstate cultural differences between countries.

Our identities are linked to our society, but that doesn't mean that each individual shares the same identities in a group. Every individual has its own interpretation. The goal of intercultural dialogue should be to establish common ground between different cultures, communities, and people, promoting understanding and interaction.

In order to achieve intercultural dialogue there should be two or more cultures that have as a starting point to learn from each other and all sides should approach each other with openness and curiosity. Afterwards, they should see their differences in a productive way and accept that differences can exist, without creating a conflict.

To know about a culture is not enough. It's also essential to learn to value and understand it. The last step is taking action and addressing conflicts and stereotypes openly by discussing them in a productive manner. The prerequisite to reach these points is to accept that one's own views are not the only truth and that other's views might also be a possibility. This is the most crucial step and the hardest one to achieve, but it's important in order to create the conditions of knowing, or knowing about, the other cultures and be willing to experience new cultural elements.”