Intercultural Innovation Award.

Intercultural understanding
The BMW Group is a leader in intercultural understanding.

How does the BMW Group realise this goal in concrete terms?

January 2019. As a global company with a multinational workforce, the BMW Group has a vital interest in good understanding between different nations, religions and ethnicities. We welcome the opportunity to support social organisations worldwide and promote innovative ideas through our partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC). Every two years, in conjunction with the UNAOC, we present the Intercultural Innovation Award  for grassroots projects aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue and worldwide cooperation – for example, by working for equality and equal opportunities, promoting understanding between peoples or combatting xenophobia. The Award chooses ten winners to receive support for a year – not only financial assistance, but also access to the know-how and networking opportunities offered by the UNAOC and the BMW Group. The aim is to expand the reach of these projects and amplify their effectiveness.

The most recent award, presented in November 2017, honoured projects in Argentina, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel, New Zealand, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda and the United Kingdom. The organisations recognised received extensive support throughout 2018 – for example, through capacity-building workshops on topics such as impact assessment, leadership and organisational culture. The award-winning projects seek to promote better educational opportunities, peace and conflict resolution, as well as cultural understanding among children and inter-faith dialogue.

Since the first Intercultural Innovation Award was presented in 2011, the partnership has recognised over 50 organisations, with projects that had reached a total of more than 2.58 million people by the end of 2018. One topic many of the projects have in common is gender equality, which is also one of the BMW Group’s core values. Numerous projects receiving support were created “by women, for women”. Two examples of this are the projects “Safecity”  and “Ten By Three”, whose female award-winners were mentored for a year by BMW Group managers. Safecity aims to prevent violence against women in Indian cities, primarily by improving safety in public spaces. The project relies heavily on technology and “crowd data” to track and combat aggression in urban areas. Ten by Three, previously known as “The Blessing Basket”, helps craftswomen in rural areas market their products at a fair price as a way out of poverty.

The Intercultural Innovation Award is an excellent example of how collaboration between the private sector and a United Nations organisation can have an impact. The UNAOC and the BMW Group are joining forces and sharing resources to support innovative projects. Each partner leverages their expertise to help grassroots organisations achieve sustainable growth and deliver rapid and substantial improvements. We firmly believe that our involvement with the Intercultural Innovation Award makes an important contribution towards our sustainability goal of intercultural understanding.