BMW Group and UNAOC honour ten organisations from ten countries with the Intercultural Innovation Award

Festive awards ceremony took place during theme week "Tolerance & Inclusivity" at EXPO 2020 Dubai

BMW Group and UNAOC honour ten organisations from ten countries with the Intercultural Innovation Award
  • Over 1,100 organizations from 120 countries applied for prestigious award
  • US $20,000 financial grant for each selected project and support from UNAOC, Accenture and BMW Group

Dubai. The BMW Group and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) have bestowed ten organizations from ten countries with the Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) for their outstanding social commitment. The award ceremony took place last night at EXPO 2020 Dubai (German Pavilion), coinciding with the themed week on Tolerance and Inclusivity, and the International Day of Tolerance. The awards ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Ms. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates and Managing Director of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau.

“The Intercultural Innovation Award honours people and projects that promote diversity, tolerance and inclusion in a particularly creative way. These are the values that move us forward as a society and as a company. We are convinced that progress requires cohesion – that is what the BMW Group stands for. Together with UNAOC, we make a meaningful contribution to respectful dialogue,” says Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Labour Relations Director, and patron of the award.

“As the Intercultural Innovation Award celebrates its 10-year anniversary, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group continue to collaborate to promote a more inclusive global community by strengthening grassroots initiatives that are deeply committed to fostering intercultural dialogue and understanding. We count on continuing this ever-growing collaboration between UNAOC and the private sector, which has shown to amplify and strengthen the work of social innovators around the world. It is their commitment and visionary thinking that have given the UNAOC-BMW Group partnership such value and impact,” said Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

Dr. Hamid Haqparwar, Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East, emphasized that “seeing so many worthy organisations and initiatives from all around the world being rewarded in Dubai is extremely inspiring. The BMW Group feels honored to collaborate with UNAOC on this project, which perfectly reflects the theme of EXPO 2020 Dubai - Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

Diversity and understanding – for strong civil societies worldwide.

The BMW Group and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), through the Intercultural Innovation Award, have been promoting intercultural understanding and strengthening civil societies for the past ten years. This year, 1,100 organizations from 120 countries applied to the open call. With the support of an International Jury, ten organizations were selected, coming from ten different countries: Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Switzerland. The awardees will each receive financial support of 20,000 US Dollars. They will also receive professional mentoring from the BMW Group, UNAOC and the consulting firm Accenture. Among other things, the selected organizations will benefit from business and strategic project support and become members of the Intercultural Leaders network, which connects professionals and specialists worldwide. Yesterday’s award ceremony was hosted by Mr. Miguel ngel Moratinos, the High Representative for UNAOC, and Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Labour Relations Director, and patron of the award.

Since its inception, the Intercultural Innovation Award has been conferred to 71 organizations, reaching more than five million people worldwide with their projects. The BMW Group and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations have very recently agreed to continue their successful partnership in the years to come.

The award winners (in alphabetical order):

Initiatives of Change International – International Trust Building (Switzerland).
The International Trust Building programme supports communities in times of conflict and social upheaval, providing resources to address and overcome conflict issues. For example, board games have been developed for young people in Indonesia who are vulnerable to extremist groups. More information: 

La Cana, Productos Con Causa – Knitting a Better Future (Mexico).

La Cana is a non-profit organisation that promotes fair working conditions and vocational training for women in prison. La Cana enables these women to produce high-quality handmade products and earn an income away from crime. More information: 

Mediterranean Youth Foundation – Dialogue on the Human Fraternity Document (Egypt).

This project is the world’s first inter-religious youth dialogue. It uses workshops to empower youth to implement the concept of “human fraternity” in their communities and counter hate speech, extremism and intolerance. More information: 

MITTI Social Initiative Foundation – MITTI Café Inclusion with Every Meal (India).

MITTI Café runs “inclusion cafés” staffed by people with disabilities. By facilitating interaction, MITTI Café promotes awareness of inclusion and provides a safe workplace for people with disabilities. More information:   

Peacegeeks Society – Arrival Advisor (Canada).

Arrival Advisor provides refugees and migrants with reliable information about the asylum application and immigration process in Canada. The app provides newcomers with all the information they need. Once downloaded, they can access all resources anonymously and offline. More information: 

Place Network – Emerging Leaders (France).

PLACE Network was launched in 2017 and offers a platform for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to make their success stories visible and motivate them to actively participate in the social life of their adopted country. The project highlights the cultural, social and economic benefits of migration for society. More information: 

Politize! Civic Education Institute – Politize! Ambassadors Programme: Promoting Civic Empowerment for All (Brazil).

Since 2018, the Politize! Ambassador Programme has been sharing knowledge, training opportunities and education experiences with young people who want to participate in the political life of their communities. Civic education workshops train young people to become leaders in politics and society. More information: 

Spielen in der Stadt – Always Remember, Never Forget (Germany).

Always Remember, Never Forget is a joint project of Spielen in der Stadt e.V. (Playing in the City) and the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. Schoolchildren find new ways of engaging with Munich’s National Socialist past through creative film, dance theatre and performance formats. More information: 

Street Project Foundation – Creative Youth Boot Camp: Art for Social Transformation (Nigeria).

The Creative Youth Boot Camp brings together young people from over 200 ethnic groups in Nigeria to get creative together. Performing arts are used as a means to address and counteract social conflicts. The young people’s stories become scripts for theatre performances and radio play series that they produce together. More information: 

Strengthening Youth Leadership Collective – SMART Advocates: For Effective Dialogue to Address Grassroots Conflicts (Sri Lanka).

The Youth Leadership Collective is a community of young people who have been engaged in community development work across all ethnic and religious lines in Sri Lanka since 2013. The SMART Advocates Programme trains people to take action against hate comments and misinformation on social media platforms. More information: 


Please contact us directly if you have any questions:
Corporate communications
Osama El-Sherif, Head of Corporate Communications, BMW Group Middle East
Alessandro Girola, Programming Coordinator, UNAOC
Phone: +1 929 274-6217, Email: 

 The BMW Group

The BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles with its BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad brands, and a provider of premium financial and mo-bility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly plants in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network with representatives in over 140 countries.

The BMW Group achieved global sales of more than 2.3 million automobiles and over 169,000 motor-cycles in 2020. Earnings before tax in the 2020 financial year amounted to EUR 5.222 billion and turn-over was EUR 98.990 billion. The company employed 120,726 people worldwide as at 31 December 2020.

Long-term thinking and responsible action have always been at the heart of the BMW Group’s eco-nomic success. The company set its course for the future very early on and consistently places sus-tainability and resource conservation at the centre of its approach – from the supply chain and produc-tion right up to the end of the use phase of all its products.  


The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General, which aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions and help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism.

UNAOC was established in 2005, at the initiative of the Governments of Spain and Turkey, under the auspices of the United Nations. In January 2019, H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos assumed the posi-tion of High Representative for UNAOC, succeeding H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who suc-ceeded H.E. Mr. Jorge Sampaio.

UNAOC maintains a global network of partners, including states, international and regional organiza-tions, civil society groups, foundations, and the private sector, to improve cross-cultural relations be-tween diverse nations and communities. 

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