The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) was established in 2005, at the political initiative of Mr. Kofi Anan, former UN Secretary General and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey. A High-Level Group of experts was formed by Mr. Annan to explore the roots of polarization between societies and cultures today, and recommend a practical programme of action to address the issue. The Report of the High-Level Group provided analysis and put forward practical recommendations, which is at the basis of the UNAOC implementation plan. In 2013, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser became UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, operating with UNAOC Secretariat from New York City.
The UNAOC has developed strong relationships with a wide range of partners such as States and governments, global and regional organizations, civil society groups, private foundations, media, and grass-root initiatives, with the objective to improve cross-cultural understanding between peoples and societies. The High-Level Group has identified four priority areas in its 2006 report: Education, Youth, Migration, Media. The UNAOC projects and activities revolve around these areas, guided by the assumption that they can play a critical role in reducing intercultural tensions and in building bridges between nations.
Under the UN Charter principles, the High-Level Group reports, and UN Secretariat’s priorities, the UNAOC works toward a more peaceful and more inclusive world. It seeks to encourage mutual respect between peoples of multiple cultures, faiths and origins, in order to reject extremism and embrace diversity. The UNAOC also aims at issuing recommendations to solve identity-based crisis and to promote cultural awareness in policy-making processes. The Highlevel group described UNAOC as an entity whose mission is to fight xenophobia and promote harmony between nations. It has been described by UN Secretary-General as a soft power tool for bridging divides and promoting understanding between countries or identity groups, while preventing conflict and promoting social cohesion.
The Fellowship Programme
The UNAOC Fellowship Programme aims at fostering intercultural exchange and interfaith understanding by engaging with emerging leaders and young professionals from across the world. The Programme is framed around a two-week exchange trip to Europe and North America and to the Middle East and North Africa between two groups of participants from both regions. The Fellowship offers its participants a first hand exposure to diversity and the opportunity to experience cultural immersion while interacting with a wide range of local actors and partners. In every country visited, fellows are being provided with crucial comprehension tools to understand the plurality and the complexity of their surroundings.
Over the years, and after 12 editions, the Programme has developed a global and plural Alumni network committed to spread awareness and understanding between peoples and societies of different cultures and religions. After their trip, participants will join this multicultural pool of 136 Alumni working actively to encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation within their community and across the world.
Ten to twelve participants from Europe, North America on one end, and from the Middle East and North Africa on the other end, will travel for two weeks to their counterparts’ region. During their trip, participants will interact with actors from various backgrounds in order to get an extensive grasp of their host country’s culture, politics, society, religion, media and more.
The main objective of the Fellowship is to involve participants into intercultural cooperation and interfaith dialogue, and encourage them to engage in broader and deeper discussions on cultural awareness and sensitivity. By exposing fellows to new ideas and perspectives, and by immersing them into culturally diverse and unfamiliar environments, the Fellowship Programme aims at challenging perceptions and deconstructing stereotypes. Building on that first step, participants are then better qualified to develop cross-cultural partnerships in their fields of expertise and take action on bridging divides between peoples from different religions and origins.
In 2015, MENA participants’ trip to EUNA countries will focus on a specific sub-theme: Migration and Integration. There are four main reasons behind such choice. First, Migration is one of UNAOC main pillars of action (along with Youth, Education, and Media). Second, this topic is at the center of current events in EUNA countries where the issue has become a focus of attention in media and political debates. Third, it remains broad enough to allow interaction with a wide range of actors, while ensuring effective exchanges and activities on the ground and across countries. Fourth, an important number of Alumni are themselves involved in the field of Migration and Integration. Their expertise will add a unique value to the content of the Programme, while strengthening the bounds between However, the agenda will also give central attention to more general aspects related to cultural interactions between EUNA and MENA societies, and will allow participants to meet with a variety of local partners in order to get a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of their surroundings. During their trip, fellows will meet with actors from different background, such as government officials, international organizations, community leaders, local entrepreneurs, civil society groups, media, and more.
The goal of this two-week trip is to enable participants to position themselves as informed stakeholders and to develop partnerships between both regions while reinforcing positive exchanges and cooperation. At the end of their trip, participants will have to write a collective report on Migration and Integration, assessing the situation, identifying key actors and challenges, and proposing an action plan to improve intercultural collaboration in the field of Migration and Integration.
Eligible participants must be:
- From the Middle East or North Africa
- Born between January 1st 1977 and December 31st 1990
- Fluent in English
- Be directly involved, at a personal and/or professional level, within the field of Migration and Integration through governmental position, politics, civil society, media, community/faith based associations and initiatives, academia, think-tanks, arts, and any other fields relevant to the Fellowship Programme’s objective.
- In the possession of a passport valid at least 9 months beyond October 2015 (July 2016 and beyond)
- Available to travel for a period of 15 days in the first half of October 2015 as scheduled by UNAOC
If you meet each of the above-mentioned criteria, your application will then be evaluated as explained in the next section.
Through this evaluation process, the selection jury will be looking for applicants with strong interest in learning more about EUNA countries and their cultures. To be selected, participants should have concrete ideas on how to engage with peers and partners from EUNA countries.
The jury will also be assessing professional accomplishment and personal involvement in the field of Migration and Integration, and will look for applicants with potential of shaping opinion and taking strong initiatives within their community.
Shortlisted candidates might be contacted for a 10-minute Skype or phone interview.
For applications meeting the eligibility criteria, a selection jury composed of UNAOC staff, Migration and Integration experts and professionals, and other relevant partners, will review each submission through a double-blind review process.
While selecting participants, the jury will also make sure to apply the following requirements for each cohort to be:
- Gender balanced
- Region balanced between participants from North Africa and the Middle East
- Limited to two participants per country
- Professionally balanced with no more than a third of the participants working in the same industry.
To preserve the above-mentioned balance and to ensure the quality and diversity of participants, the selection jury will select the next highest scoring candidate to replace the lowest scoring redundant candidate.
How to apply?
Please complete your application no later than Friday July 10th 2015 at 11:59PM GMT
Your file should include:
- Your application filled in English
- Your resume
- A scan of your passport
Only complete applications meeting the eligibility criteria and sent before the deadline will be
Application Form Instructions
- Only fill in the following application if you meet all the eligibility criteria mentioned above in Section 3. Eligibility criteria.
- The application is to be completed in English only
- The application is to be completed truthfully and in its entirety
- Make sure to attach all the documents required in Section 6. How to Apply?
- Do not attach anything else but the documents required in Section 6. How to Apply?
Disclaimer: UNAOC reserves the right to not select any applicants, or to cancel the Fellowship
Programme for any reason. UNAOC accepts no liability for cancelling the Fellowship
Programme or for anyone’s failure to receive actual notification of cancellation.
This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here: