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Teatro Valle Occupato wins the Euromed Award for Dialogue 2012

Teatro Valle Occupato, a self organised Italian group of art workers defending Culture as a common good, has been awarded yesterday in Nicosia, Cyprus for the 7th Edition of the Euro-Med Dialogue Award in the presence of the Heads of the Anna Lindh National Networks and several civil society representatives, for their valuable contribution in the thematic "Youth for Change, Social Justice and a Shared Development".

Teatro Valle Occupato, an artist group which occupied the Teatro Valle refusing budgetary cuts to cultural policies and social dumping against its operators and aiming at preserving Culture as a primary right accessible to all citizens was voted by the majority of the members of the Anna Lindh Foundation's National Networks of civil society, recognizing this year the contribution of organizations and individuals in promoting a culture of dialogue, social justice and citizenship in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. Inspired by the theory of self-government of cultural spaces, Teatro Valle artists have developed Statutes for a new foundation named “Teatro Valle Bene Comune (Common Good)” mixing arts with spaces for civic engagement. Teatro Valle lives on a daily basis the concrete practice of “Commons”, embodying the belief that a better world is possible only through qualitative relations between people.

The second place of the Euro-Med Award for 2012 went to Association for Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW) (Egypt), an organization which fights for alleviating poverty and eradicating cultural differences between genders that perpetuate inequality. The third place went to t Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) (Israel, Palestine) only joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy think-tank in the world devoted to developing practical solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fourth place went to Symβiosis (Greece), association which focuses on information and education, freedom of expression, public debate and active civic participation, so that youth and communities voice their needs and ideas. The fifth place went to Reem Kassem (Egypt) who established in 2011 AGORA for Arts and Culture, an independent organization connecting arts practice and non-formal education with social development; and finally the sixth place went to Mounir Bensalah (Morocco), political activist and blogger, member of several associations and NGOs, and member of the National Council of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH).

The bestowing ceremony has been followed by a debate focused on the 2012 Award theme "Youth for Change, Social Justice and a Shared Development: Which Challenges?" with the presence of Mrs Sylvia De Fanti and Mrs Simona Senzacqua, actresses and political activists from Teatro Valle Occupato as well as several specialists in the topic.

The Euro-Med Award for Dialogue between Cultures is an annual competition which recognises the efforts of individuals and organizations working for the promotion of intercultural dialogue. This inter-network program is co-organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Fondazione Mediterraneo. The selection of five finalists for the Award is made ​​by the Heads of the National Networks. The selection of the winner is carried out by members of the National Networks through an online voting system, encouraging the participation of the National Networks in our effort.

The 2011 edition of the Euro-Med Award of Dialogue, the Presidency of the Jury chose "Dialogue for Citizenship and Freedom " in the framework of the Believe in Dialogue, Act for Citizenship regional initiative. For the first time the Award went to an Egyptian NGO, "Development No borders", for their work on the promotion of citizenship and active participation among youth. For more information please click here: http://www.euromedalex.org/resources/awards/euromed-award/previous-editions/2011

The theme of the next edition of the Euro-Med Award for Dialogue, discussed by the Presidency of the Jury, will be "Migrants as Actors for Mutual Understanding".