The debate entitled “Couscous Culture: is that what Intercultural Dialogue in the workplace is all about?" was organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the European Network Against Racism. The Debate highlighted that the promotion of the benefits of diversity in the workplace can lead to positive economic and social advantages.
This fourth Brussels Debate for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 focused on the challenges and opportunities posed by an increasingly intercultural work environment.
Today’s social reality in Europe, with its ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, represents a unique configuration in European history. The evening was opened by Vladimír Špidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities who said, “The advocacy of Intercultural Diversity in the workplace ensures business advantages, in that companies are able to hire and retain highly-skilled, talented and creative staff from a wide pool of international applicants.
” Benoît van Grieken, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager of Randstad Belgium further stressed that, “Diversity is a fact in stakeholder management. Instilling intercultural diversity from top management levels creates a win-win situation for all groups involved, such as the organisation itself, its job applicants, its workforce and its external partners.
” Vice-President of the European Network Against Racism, Chibo Onyeji lent another aspect to the Debate with his intervention. He underlined that, “Equality has not yet arrived in the workplace and that additional legal provisions against discrimination should be enforced.
” To sum up the main points of the evening, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Member of the European Parliament, aptly cited a quote from Goethe, “He who knows nothing about other cultures knows nothing about his own.
” The series of Brussels Debates are one of the core activities of the European Year that take place at European level.
Four Debates have already been held this year, covering migration and immigration, the role of arts and culture in intercultural dialogue, and inter-religious dialogue and active citizenship.
Debates later this autumn will address multilingualism, education, and the role of the media in intercultural dialogue. You can join the debate by sharing views with others from all over Europe on the Brussels Debate Forum
in the official website of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, www.dialogue2008.eu