Developing A Culture of Dialogue: Perspectives for Joint Action

November 2007 - February 2009
Istanbul, Antakya

The entire content of this project, which was inspired by the idea of bringing to Turkey a dialogue project initiated by the Swiss Academy for Development with minorities from Turkey in Switzerland, was developed with a dialogue group formed of representatives of 17 civil society organizations from different backgrounds, and local organizations in Antakya, that is the other part of the project.

In Turkey, intolerance against different ethnic and religious identities and different views is gradually increasing, thus the program aimed to develop dialogue by encouraging especially young people to work and produce in the civil sphere. As one part of the programme continued in Istanbul, another part was inaugurated in Antakya in November 2007. The programme supported by the Swiss Academy for Development ended in February 2009.

The aim of the Antakya part of the project was to enable the local work group formed to consolidate the existing dialogue between the various ethnic and religious communities in the city to organize cultural/artistic activities. Since working and producing together is the most effective way of getting to know each other, listening to each other and developing a culture of life together, the programmes that were developed envisioned people from different sections of society working together with the highest possible participation.

Following the preparatory meetings that began in late 2007, a local office was established and the events were shaped according to the demands of the participants. Workshops and conferences targeting children, young people and women formed the basis of the events programme.

From November 2007 to February 2008, two preparatory meetings, six conferences, four exhibitions, three workshops, one summer-school and a mini-festival were organized in Antakya. In addition to these events, Anadolu Kültür also supported a researcher working in the field of oral history, and a bilingual (Arabic-Turkish) theatre play. As for the Istanbul dialogue group that came together for nine meetings and a workshop, four conferences were organized; and in April 2008 took part in the Living Library project organized by the Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG).