Innovation Award Finalists

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group have pooled their expertise in intercultural matters to form a long-term partnership aimed at fostering understanding and peace across cultural and religious borders. The Intercultural Innovation Award is unique in that it introduces a new form of partnership between the private sector and the UN. The award selects and supports the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world. The most outstanding projects receive prize money as well as consulting services from the BMW Group and the UNAOC. With the award, the co-sponsors aim to strengthen the projects’ effectiveness and encourage their adaptation to other contexts. Project support is customized based on the individual and specific needs of award winners.


Ten finalists will present their projects at the Viennese Volkstheatre on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013. The High Representative for the UNAOC and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President, Corporate Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications will chair the ceremony, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. High-level representatives of the UNAOC and the BMW Group will give the award to the five top organizations. The winners will not only receive prize money, but also individual support and consulting services for the duration of one year, which are intended to reinforce  the success and sustainability of the award-winning projects


As former Secretary General of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundations and the initiator of study centers at five renowned universities, Muna AbuSulayman enjoys an excellent reputation as an expert in management, education, sustainable development, Islam/West and Female Empowerment.  She is best known in the Arab world as an award-winning media personality and co-host of Kalam Nawaem, the number one Arab TV program on social issues which led her to be chosen as one of the Influential Arabs and Muslims in the World in numerous lists.

Heather Johnston holds more than twenty years of international experience in the field of intercultural communication. Presently, she is sharing her expertise gained in Malawi, Honduras, Egypt, and Ghana at the Centre for Intercultural Learning, a leading Canadian institution in intercultural training. Previously she has worked for the University of British Columbia, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Cairo American College, and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is the Founder and Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change.  She is on extended leave from her position as an Assistant Professor in the Politics department at the University of San Francisco.  Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg is passionate about the connections between rigorous analysis and committed social activism.

Dr. Barry van Driel, who holds a graduate degree in Psychology of Culture and Religion, is the Vice-President of the International Association for Intercultural Education and the International Director for Teacher Training and Curriculum Development at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In this role, he conducts numerous interviews on current topics such as xenophobia, racism and discrimination. He is a member of the UNAOC initiative Global Experts and has also been a member of last year’s Award jury.

Professor Fethi Mansouri is the Director of the Strategic Research Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation as well as Chair of Migration and Intercultural Studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. He is the editor of the Journal of Intercultural Studies and has served as Global Expert advisor to the UNAOC on cultural diversity and international relations.



Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group – Recycling as Bridge and Binder (India)


Cultural Infusion – Sound Infusion (Australia)


FilmAid – Filmmaker Training and Screening Program for Refugees and Host Communities in Kenya (Kenya)


IDResearch Kft. – Immigropoly (Hungary)


KI Volunteers – Muslim Youth Volunteering for interfaith dialogue and understanding (Philippines)


Plain Ink – When change reads like a book (Italy)


Puerta Joven. Tecnologia, Juventud, Cultura y Desarrollo (Young door, Technology, Youth, Culture and Development) – Languages of Youth (Mexico)


Search for Common Ground Morocco – Multimedia & Intercultural relations in Morocco


TakingITGlobal – TakingITGlobal Online Community (Canada)


The Parents Circle – Crack in the Wall (Israel/Palestine)