The Intercultural Innovation Award is a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group that aims to select and support the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world. The Award identifies and provides monetary and in-kind support to grassroots initiatives that are working to alleviate identity-based tensions and conflicts around the world. By the end of 2014, the Award impacted more than 88 countries. This was almost a three-fold increase from the previous year. Additionally, the Award has benefitted more than 600,000 individuals around the world since its estabishment in 2011.
Why an Intercultural Innovation Award? Cultural diversity can bring important societal, cultural and economic benefits. It can stimulate entrepreneurship, creativity in arts and literature, and success in sports. Culturally diverse workforces are best placed to identify business opportunities and forge effective intercultural relationships based on trust and respect. But successful management of cultural diversity requires promoting intercultural dialogue and building inclusive societies.
Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is an example of the role that corporate social responsibility can play within the United Nations system. With the overarching aim of helping people to help themselves, UNAOC and the BMW Group jointly mobilize their resources, time, and networks to support awardees. This model of collaboration creates deeper impact, as both partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each project. For the fourth edition of the Intercultural Innovation Award, close to 1,000 applications were received from 120 different countries.
- The Intercultural Innovation Award is bestowed upon ten organizations. Awardees receive one year of support and consulting from UNAOC and the BMW Group, which will assist their projects to increase their effectiveness. Support will also be provided to successful projects so that they can be replicated in other contexts or settings where they might be relevant. The specific support received will depend on the individual needs of the projects;
- A detailed needs assessment will be conducted in conjunction with each of the awardees. UNAOC and the BMW Group will then mobilize resources to help those projects achieve their goals. After one year, a comprehensive evaluation will be performed in order to assess the impact of the Award on successful projects;
- The organizations of awardees will also become members of Intercultural Leaders, an exclusive skills and knowledge-sharing platform for civil society organizations and young leaders that work on addressing cross-cultural tensions. Through an innovative online system, Intercultural Leaders will harnesses the solidarity of its members to maximize the impact of their work and help them foster cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.