International Workshop on "Valuing Diversity and Dialogue: A New Alliance between Citizens and Governments"


Paris OECD Headquarters, France, 7 July 2011





The Workshop “Valuing Diversity and Dialogue: A New Alliance between Citizens and Governments”, organized by the MENA-OECD Governance Programme and the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation (ALF), gathered selected representatives of civil society and governments from MENA and OECD countries active in promoting diversity, social and intercultural dialogue to share experiences and disseminate good practices with a specific focus on the MENA Region.




  • By sharing their own experience and expertise, participants were confronted with a stimulating variety of ways to achieve the critical goal of harnessing the unexploited potential diversity can unlock. Representatives from governments, civil society and citizens were invited to describe how diversity is considered, within their respective countries and own experience and were asked to exemplify what actions, policies or reform projects are being implemented or promoted in this field. Challenges and major obstacles to take full advantage of diversity received particular attention.
  • Several areas were explored such as, for example: the role of public consultations in promoting full citizens representation, how CSOs foster cohesion based on socio-cultural dialogue, the importance of local authorities for inclusive and responsive policy making, and how diversity in the civil service drives the innovation, agility and excellence of the public sector, how diversity is tackled by emerging social movements in the phase of transition of societies, implementation of dialogue and participation strategies to value diversity by public institutions, etc.
  • A variety of approaches dealing with cultural diversity at the local level were presented and the potential of intercultural dialogue for the promotion of economic, social and cultural development of societies were explored, with a particular focus on the MENA region.
  • The reflections and proposals arising from the workshop constituted the background on which the OECD and the ALF will build a common strategy to help the MENA region seal a new alliance between citizens and governments, inspired by the value of diversity and intercultural dialogue and aimed at a citizen-centered social and economic sustainable development.





Agenda (English

List of Participants




Session 1: Diversity As an Asset for Social and Economic Development

  • Clem McCartney, Project Manager of the “Shared Society Project”, Club de Madrid (English- pdf)
  • Rasha Abdulla, Chairperson of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department at the American University in Cairo , Egypt (English- pdf)
  • Oscar Huerta Melchor, Public Sector Reform Division, OECD Secretariat (English- pdf)

Session 2: The Role of Central and Local Governments in Favouring Diversity and Representation

  • Alessandro Bellantoni, MENA-OECD Governance Programme, OECD Secretariat (English- pdf)


Session 3: Civil Society’s Tools and Strategies to Promote Diversity and Social Cohesion

  • Eleonora Insalaco and Claudia Marinaro, Approach to cultural diversity and dialogue as a basis for development: principles and practices, ALF (English- pdf)
  • Selma Ouissi, Coordinator of the project LAAROUSSA, Tunisia (Project LAAROUSSA)
  • Miriam Allam, Regulatory Policy Division, OECD Secretariat (English- pdf)


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