On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21st, (sala de atos, at 2:30) a meeting entitled “Communication and Intercultural Mediation” was organized within the framework of the Permanent Seminar on Communication and Diversity. This initiative of the Communication and Society Research Center was promoted by researchers Rosa Cabecinhas and Ana Maria Silva, and focused on the role of mediation strategies to foster intercultural diversity.
The first presenter was Cristina Milagre, coordinator of the High Commission for Migration’s (ACM) Center for Intercultural Dialogue, who described the functions of this organisation of public policies, particularly in what concerns the field of mediation and intercultural diversity. Furthermore, in order to clarify the importance of mediation as a strategy to foster intercultural dialogue, she presented three examples of mediation strategies in different situations in the Portuguese context.
Elisabete Pinto da Costa, director of the Conflict Mediation Institute of the Lusophone University of Porto, opened the discussion to theoretical approaches and authors in the field of mediation, with an emphasis on perspectives of intercultural communication. This speech was aimed at raising awareness of mediation as a strategy that could contribute to an increase in dialogue and intercultural diversity.
Margarida Morgado, director of the Interdisciplinary Center of Languages, Cultures and Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, introduced some of the projects in which she has participated that involved album books. During her speech she underlined the role of this type of materials in developing critical thinking and how communication can contribute to social inclusion.
The closing address was given by Ana Maria Silva, professor at the University of Minho and researcher at the Communication and Society Research Center, who spoke of her new research project – CReE.A – Construction d’un espace européen de la Médiation pour enlace social. This project, which includes Ana Maria Silva and Rosa Cabecinhas in its Portuguese team, includes 7 European countries and aims to consolidate the training and professionalization of social mediators through European mobility, and to build a European Area of Mediation for Social Inclusion.
The debate was centered on the importance of the role of mediation in the school context, on the promotion of intercultural diversity, critical thinking and creativity and on the role of school, family and communities in prompting critical reading.