Monday 9 June 2008, by European Union
The promotion of the benefits of diversity in the workplace can lead to positive economic and social advantages – that was the lead idea in the fourth Brussels Debate for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 held on the evening of 4 June 2008. It focused on the challenges and opportunities posed by an increasingly intercultural work environment. The participants agreed that today’s social reality in Europe, with its ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, represents a unique configuration in European history.
The debate took place in the Residence Palace in the framework of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, under the title «Couscous Culture: is that what Intercultural Dialogue in the workplace is all about?». It was organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the European Network Against Racism.
The evening was opened by Vladimír Špidla,European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities who said that advocacy of intercultural diversity in the workplace «ensures business advantages, because companies are able to hire and retain highly-skilled, talented and creative staff from a wide pool of international applicants».
Benoît van Grieken, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager of Randstad Belgium further stressed that diversity is a fact in stakeholder management. «Instilling intercultural diversity from top management levels creates a win-win situation for all groups involved, such as the organisation itself, its job applicants, its workforce and its external partners.»
Chibo Onyeji,Vice-President of the European Network Against Racism, shed light on another aspect to the debate by claiming that «equality has not yet arrived in the workplace and that additional legal provisions against discrimination should be enforced».
In a lively debate with the audience, the MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides quoted from Goethe: «He who knows nothing about other cultures knows nothing about his own.»
The series of Brussels Debates are one of the core activities of the European Year that take place at European level. Four Debates have already been held this year, covering migration and immigration, the role of arts and culture in intercultural dialogue, and inter-religious dialogue and active citizenship. The remaining Debates, later this autumn, will address multilingualism, education, and the role of the media in intercultural dialogue.
You can join the debate by sharing views with others from all over Europe on the Brussels Debate Forumin the official website of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, www.dialogue2008.eu. MEMO/08/368
Brussels, 06 June 2008
Source : Europa