Honesty and openness

We are different people within the one intercultural family. We listen to each other with openness, neither ignoring nor over-emphasising existing differences, the otherness, as “the bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices”.

Mutual respect

We show and practice mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and opinions, even if we have opposing views or disagreements. We are “creating civilised frameworks to disagree”[1]. Our intention is to learn from history, not to use history as a weapon against each other. We do not seek confrontation, do not provoke and do not mock the beliefs of others.

Personal participation

Participation in the ICLS is based on personal merit and not on the representation of any institution. We are coming from different backgrounds, learning about each other and about individual and collective non-violent skills, and taking personal responsibility in the local and global Network of Trust.

Teaching wisdom

Experts can only speak for their own culture or religion. Participants come from different backgrounds and form varied groups during training sessions. Everyone is encouraged to answer questions with wisdom, dignity and empathy even if challenged or provoked.

Gender Parity in Decision Making

All ICLS activities should benefit from a balanced male and female participation at all levels. This gives us greater wisdom in decisions and greater capacity in action. Our independent decisions and actions are taken in friendly partnerships with civic, public and private actors.

Proportionate financing

The expenses of any ICLS activities should be financed in a reasonably proportionate way to ensure our work is great value for money. Proportionate financing is an important tool for communities that are the main and long-term stakeholders of our activities and networks. These communities hold joint ownership of activities with the ICLS and its external supporters.

Network of Trust

The Network of Trust brings together those who have been involved in the range of ICLS activities as alumni, organisers or speakers. They stay in contact with each other through the interactive, dialogue-oriented intercultural Network of Trust and maintain or acquire new contacts, participate in new training activities and develop joint projects.

The Network of Trust encourages alumni to lead local and global partnerships to transform conflicts and balance sharing in intercultural relationships. The principle of joint ownership runs through the management of the ICLS as an organisation, its local organising groups and its alumni networks.

Cooperation with other bodies

The ICLS has been involved in a number of awareness-raising activities in the framework of the EU’s Active Citizenship programme. It is a member of the Active European Citizenship Group set up by the EU Commission, was Rapporteur of the Working Group on the follow-up to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, and is represented on the steering group of the Platform for Intercultural Europe, which it contributed to setting up.

The ICLS was invited to Istanbul in April 2009 for the Second Forum of the United Nation’s Alliance of Civilizations to conduct a presentation of our methodology and principles.


The driving force behind the sustainability of ICLS’ actions is its alumni. These dynamic & creative people, inspired by the dialogue and interaction which they experience in the course of the seminars, then go on to apply the ICLS approach in their day-to-day life.

This can take many different forms, from engaging in community work to setting up local or even international NGOs to creating journals and on-line communication tools. The on-line French magazine, No Ghetto, as well as the Italian on-line magazine, Meltin’Pot, were both initiatives of previous ICLS alumni.

We expect great things of ICLS alumni, and we hope that they will nurture the seeds of positive change: in the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead, ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’

[1] El Hassan Bin Talal at OIC-EU Joint Forum, February 2002