Intercultural Citizenship Education in Paros within the “Women on islands, Motors of Sustainable Tourism” Program

What could be in common among Paros’ Civil Society members, a women’s entrepreneurship enhancement program in Sustainable Tourism and the Little Prince of St. Exupéry? All three converged nicely in a common place and time, specifically on May 25 2021, at the site of the cultural association “Archilochos”, in Parikia, Paros. There, the members of Fotoessa, with the support of the Paros Business Networking Group, had the opportunity to present to local bodies and active citizens of Paros civil society, the transnational program “Women on islands, Lever for the Development of Sustainable Tourism” and have a productive discussion.

The innovative project supports women entrepreneurs to develop pioneering tourism activities, experiences and products in disadvantaged and isolated areas, in particular on small islands, and to contribute to sustainable local development with quality tourist attendance throughout the year. The project also aims to support the leading role of women and to highlight the cultural heritage of the island. In the context of the meeting, Aspasia Protogerou, trainer in Intercultural Citizenship Education of the Anna Lindh Foundation, developed the topic “Intercultural Citizen Education: Need and Opportunity”.

Using as a parable the excerpt from The Little Prince of St. Exupéry, where the fox teaches the little hero how to tame her and become friends, the speaker outlined the mechanism of intercultural dialogue: how by cultivating mutual respect and acceptance and recognizing entrenchments and stereotypes, we can arrive at fruitful communication and creative synergies. After all, these factors are directly linked to the achievement of the programme’s objectives:

  • the protection and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage of the island
  • the exchange of intercultural resources and experiences, know-how and competences throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region, through civil society multiplier bodies
  • the creation of alternative and special tourism products and experiences
  • the participation in diverse audiences in order to enhance intercultural dialogue
  • the strengthening of the leading role of women participants

During the meeting, Fotoessa co-founder, Stefanos Vallianatos, presented alternative models of social and creative entrepreneurship, smart tools and best practices for start-ups with a positive social impact. He also provided information about the Anna Lindh Foundation, the network that promotes intercultural dialogue between civil society organizations in Europe and the Mediterranean, with the aim of understanding each other and the creative and peaceful coexistence of our societies. A fruitful discussion followed, between the attendees, with an exchange of views and relevant experiences.