This is a call to youth from around the world wanting to build inclusive societies through understanding and respect among cultural and religious communities
- Are you between 18 and 35 years old? *
- Are you a member or a representative of a youth-led organization, network or initiative?
- Have you undertaken initiatives at the community or policy level that foster social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, and promote peace?
- Do you want to contribute to a global conversation on intercultural understanding and exchange innovative experiences?
- Do you want to meet other youth leaders from all over the world and develop joint actions?
- Would you like to take part in discussions that will help shape the United Nations’ agenda with regards to relations among different cultures?
If yes, apply now for a chance to be selected for a fully funded participation to the Youth Event and 7th UNAOC Global Forum in Baku, hosted by the Government of Azerbaijan.
* Applicants selected to the 7th UNAOC Global Forum will be aged between 18-35 during the entire Forum. To be considered eligible, applicants must be born on or between April 28, 1980 and April 25, 1998.
1. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
The Alliance of Civilizations is a United Nations political initiative of the Secretary-General. It was established in 2005 by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with the co-sponsorship of the Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey.
The primary mission of the UNAOC is to forge collective political will and to mobilize concerted action aimed at improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities. The Alliance develops its actions at both governmental and civil society levels. It also works to counter forces that fuel polarization and extremism. The UN Secretary-General has described it as a soft power tool for bridging divides and promoting understanding between countries or identity groups, all with a view toward preventing conflict and promoting social cohesion.
The Alliance is all at once a matchmaker, convener, and catalyst. At the heart of the Alliance’s operational work lies the notion of partnership. These partnerships with wide-ranging actors multiply and amplify the impact, relevance and anchorage of the Alliance’s work. Such partners include governments and international organizations; local authorities, cities; NGOs; foundations and philanthropists; media; corporations; religious leaders; academics and educators; citizens. UNAOC has four priority areas for action namely, Education, Youth, Media and Migration. UNAOC recognizes the critical role that programming and policy-making in these areas can play in reducing polarization and identity-based tensions and in helping to build bridges between communities.
2. The 7th UNAOC Global Forum and the Youth Event
The UNAOC Global Forum, held since 2008 in Madrid, Istanbul, Rio, Doha, Vienna and Bali, has become the premier forum in the world for governmental and non-state actors to converge and engage in a global conversation on intercultural understanding, exchange innovative experiences and develop joint actions. It brings together government heads of states and foreign ministers, prominent personalities and experts, current and potential partners, and others from different sectors, including civil society, academia, corporate and youth. It is a unique platform for world leaders and heads of state to advocate publicly the importance of the intercultural dialogue agenda. For details about the past forums, please visit www.unaoc.org.
The 7th UNAOC Global Forum will take place on April 26-27, 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Forum will explore the topic of Living Together in Inclusive Societies. More information about the Baku Forum can be found here (website currently in development).
Up to 150 youth from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds with outstanding track records in intercultural dialogue and youth work will be selected as participants of the Youth Event and the 7th UNAOC Global Forum in Baku. The Youth Event, taking place on April 25, 2016 is conceived as a preparatory event to maximize and enrich youth’s experience of the Global Forum, a unique international level opportunity for the civic participation of young people. During the Forum, participants are exposed to key stakeholders and experts in areas of their interest, they have a stake in the discussions and they can network with their peers and a broader range of actors in the field of intercultural dialogue.
During the Youth Event, participants will be invited to engage with the Forum theme and subthemes and bring youth voices to the Forum discussions. They will also work on the creation of Narratives of Tomorrow as the main outcome of the Youth Event. These narratives articulate participating youth’s vision and solutions for the world to “live together in inclusive societies” and chart the course for the way forward. They will also:
- Engage with UNAOC on the relevance of its activities for young people;
- Grow their network and expand their activities through interaction with other youth interested in intercultural dialogue and social inclusion;
- Gain greater access to and knowledge of the global youth movement for peace and its network.
The Youth Event will be an output-oriented, sustainable event, where youth will establish contacts, actively exchange and explore how they can collaborate together, before and after the Global Forum. Youth will be invited to be active and multiply the results of the Event and Global Forum after they return home.
In order to launch discussions in advance, during March-April 2016 the organizers will invite all selected youth participants to engage in online consultations. Participants will join an interest group to discuss one Forum sub-theme of their choice and start brainstorming on the elements of the Narratives of tomorrow to be finalized on April 25. Online interactions will also help youth to virtually introduce themselves, learn more about their backgrounds, interests and their organization’s activities, thus maximizing the benefits of this event.
3. Timeline and logistics
- December 7, 2015- January 17, 2016: Call for Applications to the Youth Event
- By February 15, 2016: Review and selection of participants
- By March 11, 2016: Issuance of letters of invitation and travel itineraries
- March-April 2016: Online consultations with youth participants
- April 24, 2016: Arrival of participants in Baku
- April 25, 2016: Youth Event
- April 26, 2016: First Day of the 7th UNAOC Global Forum
- April 27, 2016: Second / Final Day of the 7th UNAOC Global Forum
- April 27-28, 2016: Departure of participants
Language: The working language of the Youth Event is English.
Diversity: We are committed to ensuring diversity of age, region, gender, culture, ethnicity, socio-economic and religious/non-religious backgrounds. We are committed to ensuring equal access for youth participants with disabilities. All venues will be equipped with wheelchair access.
4. Costs covered by the organizers
As an official policy, the organizers of the 7th UNAOC Global Forum do not require payment of any participation fee. All selected youth participants will have access to the Youth Event and Global Forum and will be provided with round-trip international ticket (economy class) to Baku; 4 days accommodation (in shared accommodation [double-rooms], with a participant from the same gender, from April 24 through April 28, A.M. hours). Meals and coffee breaks will be provided during the official program of the Youth Event and the 7th UNAOC Global Forum, as well as shuttles to/from the airport in Baku.
5. Costs covered by the participants
Youth participants will be responsible for their transportation to and from the airport in their country of residence, visa costs (application fees, pictures, travel to consulate/embassy, courier service, etc.), medical insurance for their stay in Azerbaijan, as well as any incidental expenses, souvenirs, equipment, etc., and meals incurred outside of the official portions of the Global Forum.
6. Selection of participants
Youth participants aged 18-35 will be selected on the basis of merit demonstrated through motivation, experience, relevance and potential. The selection committee will ensure balance in terms of age, gender, geography, and diversity of backgrounds (cultural, educational, professional, area of focus, etc.) among selected participants. In addition, special attention will be paid to ensure participation of youth from marginalized or disadvantaged groups; from conflict-affected areas or from communities going through a post-conflict process. The selection committee will be composed of representatives of the organizing committee (UNAOC and host country) and representatives of youth-led structures, organizations or networks.
Eligibility criteria (all requirements must be met in order to be considered eligible):
- Age: Youth participants should be between 18-35 years of age during the entire 7th UNAOC Global Forum (born on or between April 28, 1980 and April 25, 1998).
This means that, on the day of the Youth Event, the applicant will be at least 18 years old but not older than 35 years old; and on the last day of the Global Forum, the applicant will be at least 18 but not older than 35 years old.
Therefore, all applicants must be born on or between April 28, 1980 and April 25, 1998. No exceptions will be made.
- Organization: applicants must be members of (or affiliated with) non-government and non-for-profit youth-led organizations, networks, initiatives or movements (led by youth for the benefit of youth) and have the ability to consult with and reach a wider group of young people, audience or network.
- Commitment: youth applicants must demonstrate commitment to diversity and pluralism, nonviolence, peaceful and inclusive societies. The organizations and networks represented should: Adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles and values of the Charter of the United Nations; have internal democratic and transparent processes of leadership, decision-making and consultation; be independent, unaffiliated with any political party.
- Language: Command of English is sufficient to take part in the 7th UNAOC Global Forum. The applicant understands English very well; possesses intermediate to fluent levels of English, which allow her/him to participate to the conversation and input.
- Passport: the applicant holds an international passport valid until at least November 1, 2016. (For a visa to be issued, a passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months after the expected date of entry into Azerbaijan).
- The application is duly completed, submitted by the deadline and contains all supporting documentation, requested as part of the call. Half-complete applications or applications filled in other languages than English will not be reviewed and considered.
- Motivation and contribution to the event: the applicant demonstrates that she/he is highly motivated to attend and will substantively contribute to the Youth Event sessions, outcomes, as well as to the 7th UNAOC Global Forum.
- Interest in themes: the applicant has shown past experience and leadership in issues related to intercultural dialogue, peacebuilding and the UNAOC mandate through examples of initiatives he/she has undertaken at the community or policy level or has demonstrated a great interest to get involved in this set of issues.
- Understanding of issues and originality of experience and vision: the applicant demonstrates an understanding of the issues to be discussed at the Youth Event and Global Forum. He/she also brings a unique perspective and original vision to resolve some of the issues.
- Outreach: The applicant and his/her organization have the capacity to disseminate the results of the 7th UNAOC Global Forum back to their community and to a wider network or audience (e.g. access to a large network of youth or youth organizations at a local level, etc.).
- Future impact and follow up: the applicant expressed his/her strong commitment to propose ideas / plans / activities as a result of the 7th UNAOC Global Forum, including at policy level, in his/her local community, or globally / regionally. They also demonstrate potential to share benefits of their participation with an audience or stakeholders.
In order to be considered complete and valid, application package must include the following and be submitted through the online application system available here:
- An application form, completed and certified by the applicant;
- A copy of the identification page of your international passport; an
- Your resume/curriculum vitae in English (maximum 3 pages).
Word/character limit for each question in the application form needs to be respected. The application system automatically counts words and characters.
The application deadline is January 17, 2016, 11:59 PM Eastern Time (New York).
7. Invitation letter and visa to enter Azerbaijan
The organizers reserve the right to contact only selected participants. By the end of February 2016 they will issue an official letter of invitation, for the record purposes and visa application; by mid-March the organizers will issue ticket itineraries (not actual tickets) to participants who require a visa to enter Azerbaijan. It is expected that using the letter and the itinerary, participants will contact the nearest Consulate / Embassy of Azerbaijan servicing their nationality and apply for a visa by March 18, 2016, allowing sufficient time to process application. Upon receipt of the visa and informing the organizers, participants will receive a round-trip ticket to Baku. Participants from specific nationalities will be exempt from visa requirements, while others will be able to obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport. These participants will receive their tickets by mid-April.
Please note that the letter of invitation to the Youth Event and the 7th UNAOC Global Forum and the presentation of all required documents do not automatically guarantee the issue of a visa to enter Azerbaijan. Local authorities of Azerbaijan reserve the right to refuse the visa, even though all documentation has been submitted. Therefore, it is the sole responsibility of the selected participant to take care of his/her visa. The organizers of the Youth Event and the 7th UNAOC Global Forum will not contact Consulates / Embassies of Azerbaijan on behalf of applicants. In the event that the closest consulate or embassy of Azerbaijan is located in another country than the country of residence of selected participants, it is the responsibility of the selected participant to organize his/her travels to that consulate or embassy and to cover associated costs.