Welcome to Foyer’s International Newsletter - February 2013
Welcome to the first Foyer International Newsletter of 2013, a year that will be especially dedicated to dialogue and intercultural communication. A taste of things to come!
Conference celebrating twenty years of Intercultural Mediation in Healthcare
Foyer’s intercultural mediation service celebrates its 20th anniversary with a conference on intercultural mediation in health care. The conference will be held on 1st March and will offer an overview of what has been accomplished in the field until today. Mediation experts will also trace possible future paths for the use of mediation in Brussels and in Belgium.
In 2012 Foyer participated in an international conference on mediation in Dublin, where it became clear once again how strongly intercultural mediation is on the rise in Europe as a method to facilitate communication with particular target groups and to stimulate prevention in health care.
Back in 1992, Flanders did pioneering work in this field when an intercultural mediation service was established in each of the provinces. Oddly enough, almost all of these services have been reduced in size and phased out in recent years. Foyer’s intercultural mediation service remained operational in Brussels, though – with excellent results.
The intercultural mediator’s job goes beyond mere interpreting. Mediators have their origins in the target groups for which they work, which enables them to appreciate and translate or explain the background of their clients. Obviously, this does not come automatically: it requires training and support.
20 years of intercultural mediation offer enough material for an interesting discussion. Among the speakers at the upcoming conference are doctors who have pioneered intercultural mediation in Brussels and elsewhere, but also policymakers, and even a stand-up comedian, who will enter into a surprising dialogue with mediators of Turkish, Chinese and Roma origin.
The conference will close with a final speech by regional minister Brigitte Grouwels and a musical endnote.
Registrations for the conference – largely in Dutch -are still open. Contact Foyer for more information.
Brussel in Dialoog / Bruxelles en Dialogue
Today’s society does not lack debate or discussion. Genuine dialogue, however, is much rarer. And it is even more unusual when people who do not know one another at all, and might pass one another on the street without so much as a nod, sit down and really listen to what the other has to say.
Since 2007 Foyer has organized an annual Dialogue Day, in association with over sixty Brussels organizations, great and small. 2013 will see some changes to the concept of this dialogue day. First of all, we want to widen our reach, so that even more people will be brought into contact with one another. In addition to this, we want to pay particular attention to the dialogue method itself and explore its full potential.
Currently, Foyer is scouting charismatic dialogue ambassadors, gifted table designers and inspiring locations all over the city.
In the week from 14th until 20th October, various dialogue events will take place in Brussels, within the framework of the new and improved “Brussels in Dialogue” project. Local organizers are free to decide where they put up their table and invite people. A company or government agency might want to invite people who live near the office block, but who have never seen it from the inside, or spoken with the people who work there every day. A socio-cultural organization might want to organize a dialogue event on an evening or during the week-end. Families with children who share the same street or block may want to get together on a Sunday afternoon, and so on.
Apart from conventional dialogue tables, which consist of eight to ten people plus a trained dialogue facilitator, there will be a number of artistic experiments with alternative forms of dialogue: expressing oneself through bodily movement, sound or colour – anything goes. Artists and art students are invited to participate in a contest to design a table that can be placed in a public place and at which people can sit down to meet and talk with one another. A jury will pick out five winning designs, which will play their part in Brussels in Dialogue.
And what about you? Foyer’s Social Cohesion team is waiting for your original dialogue idea.
Jorsala @ Foyer
Back in 2005, Sebastien de Fooz started walking in Ghent. And he kept on walking until, 184 days, 6,000 kilometres and thirteen countries later, he arrived in Jerusalem.
His pilgrimage, captured in a gripping book, inspired Sebastien to develop Jorsala, a project aimed at establishing a European dialogue route running from Brussels to Istanbul. Last year Jorsala did a try-out walk from Brussels to Aachen (reported on in a previous international newsletter). The project has since found a new home under the wing of Foyer, where the concept of the dialogue route will be fine-tuned. Jorsala wants to locate, promote and multiply “dialogue spaces” throughout Europe, where people can talk to one another openly, leaving behind fear and prejudice.
In the spring of 2014 Jorsala wants to launch its journey to Istanbul for the promotion of dialogue. Even if the 2012 walk from Brussels to Aachen was a success, the 2014 walk will be organized in a somewhat different way. First and foremost, a 3,000-kilometre journey is logistically challenging. That is why the Jorsala walk to Istanbul will be based on the principle of collective intelligence or sociocracy, a participative approach which turns the participants into organizers.
A team of 20 walkers who took part in the 2012 try-out are currently developing the 2014 concept further. Sebastien de Fooz continues to coordinate Jorsala. Feel free to contact him if you too would like to participate.
Foyer des Jeunes: Slam kids go international
Youth centre Foyer des Jeunes is setting up an exchange project for its “slam kids” with a group of youth centres in Fresnes-sur-Escaut, a suburb of Valenciennes, France.
The collaboration, soon to start, will culminate in a joint performance at Marseille in 2014, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new port. In Marseille the Dynamo Théâtre company will provide the artistic coaching and support.
The twenty youngsters taking part in this Foyer des Jeunes exchange project are 14 to 21 years old and they share a passion for slam poetry and rap. It all began as workshop that barely attracted more than three or four youths at Foyer des Jeunes, but it has turned into a serious project.
Bachir M’Rabet, coordinator: “We are a youth centre, not a school. Yet we see that many young people with an immigrant background have difficulties at school or drop out. One of the reasons for this is that even though they master the French language, they miss out on certain nuances. The slam project addresses this problem by making the youngsters explore language and expand their vocabulary in a playful way. When we first asked them to “look for synonyms”, they just told us, “What?!”. Now they have their own dictionaries and they come to us with texts they have written spontaneously, at home.
While the Foyer slam project focuses on spoken word and rap, the kids ad Fresnes-sur-Escaut work primarily with creative art and graffiti. This could be the beginning of a beautiful international friendship and a celebration of urban art.
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