Doc. 9934

27 September 2003

Cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries
Recommendation 1590 (2003)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 853rd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (24 September 2003)

1.       The Committee of Ministers has considered Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1590 (2003) on Cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries, and finds it highly timely. It wishes to underline the importance of developments in the south Mediterranean countries to Europe in general and European cultural co-operation in particular. The questions raised by the recommendation are, in essence, part of the new political priorities of the Council of Europe. It has already started integrating them into its annual programme of activities. Thus the Committee of Ministers is able to provide the Assembly with specific information in response to its proposals set out in paragraph 2 of the recommendation:

(i) organise campaigns on religious tolerance and understanding

2.       The Committee of Ministers, through the GT-Dialogue, a working group of the Ministers’ Deputies, might consider the possibility of organising a Campaign or a similar initiative on religious tolerance and understanding with a special emphasis on Mediterranean co-operation. The Council of Europe could cover this event from various aspects: human rights, equality, fight against racism and intolerance, education for democratic citizenship, intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention, youth building peace, integrated project 2 on "Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society", confidence-building measures, activities of the North-South Centre and of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe.

3.       For a number of years the North-South Centre (NSC), a Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe, has been developing an "intercultural and inter-faith dialogue" dimension, as part of its Transmed programme. This has led to a number of activities involving European and southern and eastern Mediterranean (Maghreb and Mashrek) countries. The next conference on this subject organised by the Centre is entitled "Intercultural Dialogue in the Mediterranean, the Foundations of Peace and Stability", and will be held in Amman (Jordan) on 30 November and 1 December 2003. The conference should be seen in the broader context of all the Centre's activities, via its European and southern Mediterranean co-operation networks.

4.       The Centre's 2004 activities programme places considerable emphasis on the education and media contributions to intercultural and inter-faith dialogue, in the sense of greater mutual understanding between cultures and civilisations. Programmed activities include:

-       Conference: "The role of education in citizenship building in the Mediterranean region", involving education ministers from Council of Europe, Maghreb and Mashrek countries;

-       Conference: "Europe and Islam: dialogue and peace";

-       Workshop: "Comprehension and dialogue through a positive image of others: the role of the media in the Euro-Mediterranean region".

The 2004-2005 programmes will also include activities on women as a focus for dialogue between the southern Mediterranean countries and Europe.

5.       The North-South Centre holds the vice-chairmanship of the Standing Conference of Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM), which enables it to develop media strategies aimed at fostering closer understanding between the two Mediterranean shores, in accordance with Council of Europe values.

6.       Since its inception, the Centre's Transmed programme has developed and strengthened co-operation with ALESCO, the Arab League, IESCO, the Arab Thought Forum, the Forum euromediterraneen des cultures and many other southern Mediterranean bodies committed to dialogue.

The Centre’s Executive Council is called upon to decide on accessions to the Partial Agreement by non-member countries of the Council of Europe.

(ii) provide the southern countries with expert assistance, programmes and material to combat illiteracy and develop co-operation in the fields of school textbooks, diplomas, vocational training, language learning and the use of audiovisual learning methods

7.       The Committee of Ministers believes that the Council of Europe’s education sector's intergovernmental programme of activities offers an excellent basis for the application of Recommendation 1590. Several new ideas are under consideration. Language policies and didactics, as well as the linguistic heritage are possible areas for southern Mediterranean involvement. This is a flagship activity for the Council of Europe, which seeks to encourage multiculturalism and multilingualism while improving communication skills and mutual understanding between European citizens and thus combat intolerance and xenophobia. Several opportunities are being considered and some initiatives being developed in the short term (see also Appendix V to the reply).

8.       The Council of Europe is not working in the field of combating illiteracy in which UNESCO is very active. As regards the issue of recognition of higher education qualifications and diplomas, the possibility exists for some of the countries concerned to join the joint Council of Europe UNESCO Convention (see also under iv and x below).

9.       In 2003 the report on "Education for Democratic Citizenship: a Lifelong Learning Perspective" was translated into Arabic and will be widely circulated in the southern Mediterranean countries. This report and other Council of Europe studies provided the basis for a Symposium on “Civic and Human Rights Education”, held in Rabat (Morocco) in March, with the contribution of Council of Europe, UNESCO, ALECSO and a number of National Commissions for UNESCO from European and Arab States, and with the participation of several Council of Europe experts.

10.       The activities within the ongoing programme on the "In-service training of educational staff" and the teaching methods applied, based on participation in both school and out-of-school settings, have proven to have great potential for Euro-Arab co-operation. In particular, for the first time, Egyptian and Lebanese teachers have taken part with European colleagues in Council of Europe-organised training seminars under this programme. This will undoubtedly open the way to other teacher exchanges that can be extended to the whole of the South Mediterranean region. Also, while vocational training is better dealt with by other organisations through specific regional co-operation programmes, work and experience in such areas as school textbooks and materials and the impact of new technologies on the organisation of education provision could be usefully shared and plans are being made in this direction.

(iii) promote and organise an approach to the interpretation of history with historians from both sides, bringing together shared elements to write a history of the Mediterranean in order to ensure that history textbooks express an inclusive rather than exclusive vision of the past, and, in this context, study the advisability of setting up a Mediterranean history-teaching observatory

11.       Although the idea of setting up yet another “Observatory” is probably not realistic for financial and other reasons, the promotion of best practice in history teaching (particularly with regards to controversial periods, curriculum development and teacher training) could certainly be pursued, and various possibilities are being considered for this purpose.

(iv) re-examine the idea of setting up a geographically decentralised Euro-Arab university which would have faculties in the South and the North, but would be unified by means of a virtual campus providing all the advantages of networked universities

12.       The Committee of Ministers supports the idea of closer university co-operation with the South Mediterranean area but without necessarily setting up a new physical institution. An alternative would be to build on existing higher education co-operation, in particular in the framework of the Community of Mediterranean Universities (CUM), which organizes some 175 universities from all parts of the Mediterranean and with which the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CD-ESR) has co-operated in the past, notably on regional co-operation in higher education. Among other activities, the CUM Schools1 stand out as a flexible model of organisation with past achievements and potential for further development.

This avenue in co-operation with the CUM could be better developed in such fields as higher education legislation, the recognition of qualifications and quality assurance and access to higher education. This would seem preferable to seeking to establish a new institution

(v) develop joint projects in the fields of archaeology and protection of the architectural heritage

13.       Cultural heritage is more and more recognised as a focal point for social and economic progress around the globe. A better knowledge of heritage values of different cultural communities having to live together can contribute to a better mutual understanding. From this point of view, the "Heritage education" projects and the "European Heritage Days" constitute interesting reference activities for a possible co-operation between Europe and south Mediterranean countries.

14.       The European Convention on the protection of the archaeological heritage (Valletta, 1992) defines not only a minimum of legal standards for the protection of cultural property but also provides a framework for professional co-operation. The access by southern countries to this convention could provide an appropriate framework for further action and the launching of co-operation initiatives.

15.       A number of projects on further training of professionals were carried out during the last 10 years under the auspices of the heritage sector of the Council of Europe. Granted by the European Commission (Euromed Heritage programme) and implemented by the European Foundation for Heritage Skills, they dealt with the management techniques of archaeological sites (PISA) and with the training methods of working site managers (SALAMBO). The results of these successful projects (including further training modules) could be used for future professional co-operation schemes. Simultaneously, experts of heritage administrations of southern countries could be involved from 2004-2005 in reflection groups set up for the elaboration of a new Council of Europe instrument on cultural heritage and relating to the sustainable use of heritage assets in a globalised society and economy.

(vi) promote encounters and permanent partnerships between men and women working in the cultural field on both sides, seeking mutual recognition of values, traditions and cultures, based on human rights and fundamental freedoms

16.       The Committee of Ministers, being the decision-making body of the intergovernmental organisation, has organised a Ministerial Colloquy of the European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs “The new role and new responsibilities of Ministers of Culture in initiating intercultural dialogue, with due regard for cultural diversity” (Strasbourg, 17 and 18 February 2003), during which the Ministers considered a draft Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention, to be formally adopted at the next Ministerial Colloquy (Opatjia, Croatia, 20-22 October 2003). The text aims at defining a European framework of co-operation which would create, on the one hand, conditions for promotion and construction of an intercultural society based on intercultural dialogue and respect of cultural diversity, and which, on the other, would favour prevention of violent conflicts and promotion of past-conflict reconciliation. This objective should be reached through the implementation of cultural action programmes aiming at bringing cultures closer through positive confrontation and development of cultural exchanges.

(vii) organise encounters and exchanges between writers, philosophers, intellectuals and opinion leaders

17.       Within the Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention Project, a first expert colloquy on "Dialogue serving intercultural and inter-religious communication" was organised in Strasbourg, from 7 to 9 October 2002. This brain-storming meeting brought together representatives of various religions, experts in intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, in conflict prevention, politicians, representatives of international organisations, foundations, and NGOs as well as cultural operators working on intercultural communication projects, coming from all over Europe, Japan, Canada, USA, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. A delegation of the League of Arab States as well as a delegation of the Organisation of Islamic Conferences participated in the working sessions.

18.       This reflection will continue in 2003 (Intercultural Forum foreseen in Sarajevo in December 2003) and concentrate on "(re)thinking stereotypes - constructing intercultural and inter-religious dialogue", focusing especially on the sources of stereotypes, the necessity of dealing with divergences and building blocks of dialogue. The third step, foreseen in 2004, will focus on the definition of core-values for intercultural and inter-religious communication.

(viii) encourage interactivity among various museums in the Mediterranean as permanent cultural activity centres

19.       Interactivity among museums and other cultural institutions should be initiated and improved all over Europe. While looking for new ways of co-operation, taking due account of the objectives of the museums’ policies, the Mediterranean area could build useful examples on the basis of pilot-projects on such contents as exhibitions, pedagogy of arts, illustration of widely cultural issues and values, participation of public, financing, etc.

20.       To know and compare the different, yet common, civilisations, by integrated and/or specific subjects of exhibitions, would contribute to the increasing of reciprocal knowledge, interest, respect, and ways for further co-operation with the Mediterranean countries. The most important opportunity offered to this kind of (new) co-operation is the variety and diversity of the museums, and the benefit each of them could take from dealing, for instance, with such a subject as the new role of the museums in our time and in the future. Developing co-operation on ways to interest the public (youth, disadvantaged population, non informed, non motivated groups) in that kind of cultural (museums) offer could also be a relevant subject of a common programme.

21.       Aiming at giving better access to archives (cf Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation Rec(2000)13), a project on Ottoman archives is about to be launched, which is expected to initiate an international co-operation, including the South Mediterranean countries, which share common history. A meeting of experts will take place in Strasbourg on 26 September for concrete proposals on the methodology, the management and the financial aspects of the project.

(ix) promote encounters among youth organisations from both sides, using the facilities of the Strasbourg and Budapest European Youth Centres

22.       During 2002 the statutory bodies of the youth sector of the Council of Europe identified orientations for the work in the next three years. They agreed that the sector’s programme should focus on promotion of peace and intercultural dialogue, as one of its three priorities.

23.       One should also note the Council of Europe (Youth Sector/North-South Centre) training course “Intercultural dialogue and solidarity in the Mediterranean”. Addressed at youth leaders and youth workers from European and non-European (Mediterranean) countries, the course enabled 30 of them, active or interested in Euro-Mediterranean youth projects, to develop intercultural learning, human rights education and global education with young people, and to initiate common projects in these fields. The results of the course should be sustained by the publication of Compass2 in Arabic in 2003.

24.       A second course took place in May 2003. As the result of the course, two pilot projects for Euro-med youth co-operation will be submitted to the European Youth Foundation for funding support. An informal network of multipliers for Euro-med youth co-operation and guidelines for future projects in Euro-med training co-operation have started to take shape. The results, in the form of the report, will be publicised on the

Internet and included in the planning of future activities in the Covenant with the European Commission on Euro-med Youth training, notably in a course on minority rights and the participation of women. Appendix IV to this reply provides further information on this activity.

25.       The Council of Europe youth sector and the European Commission are currently finalising a Partnership Agreement on Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in the youth field, which will serve as the framework for the implementation of a two year programme (2003-2004) aiming to provide further quality training and learning opportunities for youth workers and youth leaders active in Euro-Mediterranean projects, based on intercultural learning, citizenship and participation of young people and human rights education. The Covenant will also be implemented in co-operation with the North-South Centre.

26.       The programme will include the following:

- training course on intercultural learning and human rights education in the Mediterranean (2003);

- training course on participation of women and minorities in the development of citizenship and active participation of young people (2004);

- long-term training course on projects for youth participation and intercultural exchange (2003-2004);

- training course for trainers, in co-operation with the SALTO Euro-Med resource Centre (2004);

- production of training and educational materials (2004).

(x) give fresh impetus to the Euro-Arab youth dialogue

27.       Within the Council of Europe’s co-operation with UNESCO, the UNESCO Mediterranean Convention offers a platform for co-operation between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, and the Council of Europe supports UNESCO’s efforts in rendering this Convention more active after a number of years of relative inactivity. Thus, the Council of Europe contributed to the meeting of the Mediterranean Convention held in Malta in January 2002 and plans to contribute to the forthcoming meeting of this Convention, planned to be held in Dubrovnik in spring 2004.

28.       The Mediterranean Convention is important also in the context of the planned revision of the UNESCO regional conventions, which to some extent may be based on the Council of Europe/UNESCO Recognition Convention (Lisboa Recognition Convention, ETS No. 165), and to which the Council of Europe is prepared to contribute. This work will also encompass the UNESCO Regional Convention for the Arab States, some of which are also parties to the Mediterranean Convention.

(xi) support, as far as possible, the extension of the Barcelona Process youth programmes to all Council of Europe countries: the Action Plan on Dialogue between Cultures and Civilisations, the Tempus programme, Netd@ys, and EuroMed Youth

29.       The Committee of Ministers will ask its relevant committees to bear this proposal in mind.

(xii) organise a think-tank made up of scientists and humanists, in order to analyse the ethical implications of scientific progress

30.       A Colloquy of experts (which could subsequently become a think-tank) could most valuably contribute to clarifying divergencies notably in the meanings and interpretation of the concepts of "science", "progress", "development"; forged by cultural, philosophical, ethical and religious traditions and schools of thought, they have crucial implications for societal policy; reciprocal better understanding can only advance intercultural and inter-faith dialogue.

(xiii) instigate ongoing relations with organisations operating in the South such as Alecso, Isesco, the Arab League, the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture and the Standing Committee for Information and Cultural Affairs with a view to pragmatic institutionalisation of genuine dialogue between civilisations and cultures

31.       The Committee of Ministers has invited the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) to participate, as an observer, to the European Colloquy of Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs (Opatjia, Croatia, 20-22 October 2003) and the 21st Session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education (10-12 November 2003, Athens, Greece), in the framework of the Council of Europe’s own activities on inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue and following the initiative launched by UNESCO to create a platform for Euro-Arab dialogue and co-operation.

32.       The Council of Europe’s Secretary General has sent a letter to ALECSO’s Director General (see Appendix V to the reply) inviting him to apply for an observer status of ALECSO within a number of Council of Europe’s Steering Committees. Moreover, the Committee of Ministers has invited to the Ministerial Colloquy on Culture Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, as well as the League of Arab States and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

(xiv) encourage accession by southern countries to the Council of Europe conventions which are open to non-member states of the Organisation, especially in the cultural field

33.       The Committee of Ministers is already following this line and has invited Tunisia to accede to the Anti-Doping Convention, following a Euromed seminar on doping held in Marrakech on 21-23 January 2002. Ratification by the Tunisian Parliament is underway and should be completed very soon. Appendix VI to the reply gives a wider picture on this question.

(xv) study the preconditions for granting Council of Europe Observer status to south Mediterranean countries

34.       The Committee of Ministers reiterates its position in its reply to Assembly Recommendation 1359 (1998) on Sustainable development in the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins.

Appendix I

Comments of the CDEJ concerning Recommendation 1590 (2003) of the Parliamentary Assembly, on cultural co-operation between Europe and the South-Mediterranean countries

The CDEJ, at its 30th meeting on 18 and 20 February 2003 examined the draft decision of the Committee of Ministers concerning Recommendation 1590 (2003) on cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries.

The CDEJ welcomed Recommendation 1590 (2003) and wished to inform the Committee of Ministers of the following activities to be implemented by the youth sector in 2003-2004:

2003-2004 Partnership programme with the European Union on Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in the youth field

The Council of Europe youth sector and the European Commission are currently finalising a Partnership Agreement which will serve as the framework for the implementation of a two year programme (2003-2004) aiming to provide further quality training and learning opportunities for youth workers and youth leaders active in Euro-Mediterranean projects, based on intercultural learning, citizenship and participation of young people and human rights education. The Covenant will also be implemented in co-operation with the North-South Centre.

The programme will be co-financed by the Council of Europe (within the framework of the existing youth sector’s budget) and the European Commission on equal footing. It will include the following:

-       training course on intercultural learning and human rights education in the Mediterranean (2003);

-       training course on participation of women and minorities in the development of citizenship and active participation of young people (2004);

-       long-term training course on projects for youth participation and intercultural exchange (2003-2004);

-       training course for trainers, in co-operation with the SALTO Euro-Med resource Centre (2004);

-       production of training and educational materials (2004).

Appendix II

Comments by the CD-ESR3 Chair on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1590 (2003) on Cultural co-operation between Europe and the South Mediterranean countries

The Chair and the Secretariat of the CD-ESR welcome Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1590 (2003) on Cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries. In general terms, they underline the importance of developments in the south Mediterranean countries to Europe in general and European cultural co-operation in particular. They consider higher education as part and parcel of this development, both in terms of higher education policies and in terms of the impact of higher education and research on all sectors of society.

We would welcome closer contacts with the south Mediterranean countries and would at the same time like to point to some ongoing contacts and activities. Within the Council of Europe’s co-operation with UNESCO, the UNESCO Mediterranean Convention offers a platform for co-operation between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, and the Council of Europe supports UNESCO’s efforts in rendering this Convention more active after a number of years of relative inactivity. Thus, the Council of Europe contributed to the meeting of the Mediterranean Convention held in Malta in January 2002 and plans to contribute to the forthcoming meeting of this Convention, planned to be held in Dubrovnik in spring 2004. In this context, we would also like to point to the link with the CD-ESR’s very active co-operation in higher education in South East Europe.

The Mediterranean Convention is important also in the context of the planned revision of the UNESCO regional conventions, which to some extent may be based on the Council of Europe/UNESCO Recognition Convention (Lisboa Recognition Convention, ETS 165), and to which the Council of Europe is prepared to contribute. This work will also encompass the UNESCO Regional Convention for the Arab States, some of which are also parties to the Mediterranean Convention.

While they support the suggestion of closer university co-operation in the Mediterranean area expressed in paragraph 2.iv of the Recommendation, the Chair and the Secretariat of the CD-ESR feel the proposal to set up a specific institution for this purpose is misguided, at least if the intention is to set up a new physical institution. An alternative would be to build on existing higher education co-operation, in particular in the framework of the Community of Mediterranean Universities (CUM), which organizes some 175 universities from all parts of the Mediterranean and with which the CD-ESR has co-operated in the past, notably on regional co-operation in higher education. Among other activities, the CUM Schools – advanced level courses of short duration co-organised by at least three Mediterranean universities on topics of particular concern to the region – stand out as a flexible model of organization with past achievements and potential for further development.

We recommend that the Council of Europe seek to pursue this avenue in co-operation with the CUM and, if appropriate, the North-South Centre. The experience of the CD-ESR in intergovernmental co-operation as well as in targeted co-operation with specific countries and areas could be put to full use in such a venture, where issues like higher education legislation, there cognition of qualifications and quality assurance and access will need to be addressed. This would seem preferable to seeking to establish a new institution.

Appendix III

Comments of the Chair of the CD-ED concerning Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1590 (2003) on cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries

The Chair and Secretariat of the Steering Committee for Education (CD-ED) welcome Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1590 (2003) on cultural co-operation between Europe and the south Mediterranean countries.

They are very pleased to note that the Recommendation, particularly paragraphs 2.ii, 2.iii and 2.xiii, fully reflects the new political priorities that the CD-ED and the Education Directorate have introduced into the intergovernmental activities programme in the last two years.

The CD-ED, in conjunction with ALESCO, UNESCO and some its national committees, is seeking to develop intercultural (including inter-faith) dialogue in the region, on both shores of the Mediterranean, through co-operation in areas connected with the Council of Europe's educational activities.

A number of new areas of co-operation were identified at a conference hosted by the Council of Europe in 2002. This year, representatives of Arab countries have taken part in the Council of Europe's ongoing teacher training programme and the report "Education for Democratic Citizenship: a Lifelong Learning Perspective" has been translated into Arabic and will be widely circulated in the southern Mediterranean countries. It has also been translated into Hebrew and disseminated in Israel.

The Chair and Secretariat of the CD-ED believe that the education sector's intergovernmental activities programme offers a good basis for the application of Recommendation 1590. Several new ideas are under consideration. Diversity of the linguistic heritage is one possible area for southern Mediterranean involvement. This is a flagship activity for the Council of Europe, which seeks to encourage multiculturalism and multilingualism to improve communication and mutual understanding between European citizens and thus combat intolerance and xenophobia.

The Council's work on education for democratic citizenship and its human rights training for teachers could offer another broad area for applying the recommendation, together with its long-established activities on history teaching and the revision of school textbooks.

Appendix IV

Intercultural learning and solidarity in the Mediterranean

A training course in human rights education and intercultural learning with young people in the Euro-Mediterranean context, 2 to 11 September, European Youth Centre Budapest

The importance of developing communication and co-operation possibilities for youth policy actors across the Mediterranean was recognised early by the Council of Europe’s youth sector. A series of activities on Euro-Arab dialogue were held between 1994 and 1998 focussing on developing political co-operation among youth organisations and culminating in a symposium held at the EYC Budapest in 1997. More recently, the threats to peace and equality in human dignity that have escalated since September 2001 have seriously affected young people in the Mediterranean region and re-created prejudice and cultural discrimination that stress antagonism as opposed to co-operation and confrontation instead of peace building.

It was against this background that the Directorate of Youth and Sport and the North-South Centre (Directorate of Political Affairs) took the initiative of organising a training course for youth leaders interested and active in Euro-Mediterranean co-operation focussing on intercultural learning and human rights. This pilot course aimed at enabling youth workers and youth leaders to develop their competence and skills for project development in intercultural learning, human rights education and global education and had the following objectives:

-       to develop a common understanding of the situations and challenges faced by young people across the Mediterranean;

-       to provide tools for analysis of the present challenges to closer co-operation among partners across the Mediterranean, including xenophobia and racism, prejudice and ignorance, social exclusion and poverty, and unequal opportunities for social and political participation;

-       to familiarise the participants with the approaches and activities of COMPASS (the manual on human rights education with young people);

-       to provide information about existing possibilities and conditions for the development of Euro-Mediterranean youth co-operation projects;

-       to support participants in developing common projects and to identify common criteria and approaches for follow-up projects and initiatives;

-       to develop an informal network of youth workers and youth leaders in the European and Mediterranean regions.

The course was a success before it started. More than 350 applications to participate were received, with a good geographical spread from member states and from Eastern and Southern Mediterranean countries. The provision and the dissemination of the course information in Arabic language had a clear positive role in this respect. The course was attended by 30 participants from Algeria, Armenia, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Malta, Morocco, Palestine, Poland, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.

The programme was structured so as to provide knowledge and information on three key issues: human rights and human rights education, intercultural learning and the development of local follow-up projects. The methodology adopted allowed for a deep and intensive exchange about common values and the role of human rights as the basis for co-operation and development of intercultural learning approaches.

The course produced 8 projects that are now in the process of implementation by the participants, ranging from youth exchanges, dissemination of COMPASS and human rights education at local level, and the development of regional networks.

The European Commission was represented at the course and provided useful information about its Euro-Med youth programme and the possibilities it offers for youth projects. Both the North-South Centre and the Directorate of Youth and Sport evaluated very positively this co-operation and are committed to continue it, probably together with the European Commission, in the form a Covenant on training for the Euro-Med youth programme.

Appendix V

Strasbourg, 14 August 2003

Dear Sir,

I note with great satisfaction that discussions between the Council of Europe and ALESCO as part of the initiative launched by UNESCO and some of its national committees concerning the establishment of a Euro-Arab platform for co-operation and dialogue have been quite encouraging, particularly in the education field.

I believe that the discussions have laid the foundations for a partnership between our respective organisations in areas of common interest such as education, culture, the natural and cultural heritage, youth and sport.

Since there are a number of overlaps between the relevant Council activities and those of ALESCO I would like to make a number of proposals for common action, particularly concerning education, which could be implemented in the very near future.

The first such area is that of education and the linguistic heritage. This is a flagship activity for the Council of Europe, which seeks to encourage multilingualism among European citizens to improve communication and mutual understanding between individuals and thus combat intolerance and xenophobia.

Another possible focus is the Council of Europe's work on education for democratic citizenship and human rights, a major aspect of which will be the "Year of Citizenship through Education" in 2005.

The "continuing training of educational staff" activities, and the new teaching methods to which they have given rise, based on participation in both school and out-of-school settings, could also lead to joint activities. For example I am pleased to note that, for the first time, Egyptian and Lebanese teachers have taken part with European colleagues in Council of Europe-organised training seminars under this programme. This will undoubtedly open the way to other European-Arab teacher exchanges.

I have also asked the Council departments responsible for culture, the cultural heritage and youth and their respective steering committees to consider joint activities with ALESCO aimed at increasing mutual understanding and encouraging cultural diversity.

ALESCO could also request observer status with our committees responsible for cultural and scientific co-operation (Education, Culture, Heritage, Higher Education and Research).

In the mean time, if you agree, I will seek the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers' authorisation for your organisation to take part in two important conferences of ministers from the 48 parties to the European Cultural Convention. These are the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs (Opatija, Croatia, 20-22 October 2003) on the theme: "the new role and new responsibilities of ministers of culture in initiating intercultural dialogue, with due regard for cultural diversity", and the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education (Athens, 10-12 November 2003) on the theme: "Intercultural education: managing diversity, strengthening democracy".

I also take this opportunity to inform you of the Council of Europe's contacts with the Arab League and its Secretary General, Mr Moussa, and with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. A number of possible areas for practical co-operation with these two organisations have already been identified.

Finally I very much look forward to meeting you in Strasbourg in the near future to strengthen the foundations of our co-operation, which I already consider to be extremely promising. I am sure that this hopeful start to our relationship will soon be transformed into lasting and productive exchanges between partners.

Yours faithfully,

Walter Schwimmer

Monsieur Mongi BOUSNINA

Directeur Générale

ALECSO

Mohamed V Avenue

TUNIS / TUNISIE

Appendix VI

STE 18 –       European Cultural Convention

STE 119 –       European Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property

STE 121 –       Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe

STE 143 –       European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (revised)

STE 147 –       European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production

STE 119 –       European Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property

STE 121 –       Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe

STE 143 –       European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (revised)

-       ALGERIA – nil

-       EGYPT – nil

-       ISRAEL

STE 15 –       European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas leading to Admission to Universities

STE 20 –       Agreement on the Exchange of War Cripples between Member Countries of the Council of Europe with a View to Medical Treatment

STE 24 –       European Convention on Extradition

STE 27 –       European Agreement concerning Programme Exchanges by means of Television Films

STE 30 –       European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters

STE 112 –       Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons

STE 49 –       Protocol to the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas leading to Admission to Universities

STE 86 –       Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition

STE 98 –       Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Extradition

STE 99 –       Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters

STE 167 –       Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons

STE 182 –       Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters

-       MOROCCO

STE 104 –       Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (“Bern Convention”)

STE 27 –       European Agreement concerning Programme Exchanges by means of Television Films

STE 34 –       European Agreement on the Protection of Television Broadcasts

STE 53 –       European Agreement for the Prevention of Broadcasts transmitted from Stations outside National Territories

STE 62 –       European Convention on Information on Foreign Law

STE 66 –       European Convention of the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage

-       TUNISIA

STE 27 –       European Agreement concerning Programme Exchanges by means of Television Films

STE 104 –       Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (“Bern Convention”)

STE 135 –       Anti-Doping Convention


1 Advanced level courses of short duration co-organised by at least three Mediterranean universities on topics of particular concern to the region.

2 “COMPASS – Manual on Human Rights Education with Young People” is a comprehensive manual offering sound background knowledge on human rights-related issues, a wide diversity of practical exercises, methods and references to relevant legal documents, organisations and proposals for action plans. Eminently practical, it has been conceived for use both in non-formal and in formal education settings. It has been published in English, French and Russian in the course of 2002. Copyright agreements for translation in non-official languages are under preparation. The Compass website will be accessible from the DYS websites and will have its own address (www.coe.int/compass).

3 Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research.