“Thank you again from the bottom of my heart! I really think that last week was one of the most unbelievable I've ever had, something I will never forget.”
(Jenni Raikkonen, Finland)
Connecting Cultures is a unique, UNESCO-backed educational initiative that brings young people from the Western and Arab world together on short journeys into the wilderness of the Omani desert. The aim? To encourage face-to-face dialogue, celebrate cultural diversity, break down stereotypes, identify shared values and – in so doing – promote better understanding.
It’s a goal we share, which is why we’ve been a major sponsor of the programme since its inception in 2004. Our grants have since supported seven expeditions – or journeys of discovery – for those we hope can be ambassadors for change. They include the 18 young women who made the most recent trek in December 2011, from as far afield as the UK, Oman, Poland, Iraq, Spain, Morocco, Finland, Jordan, Germany, Lebanon, Slovenia, Singapore and Yemen. Before them, two groups of 18 men and 18 women, both aged 17-24 and representing a variety of Euro-Arab nations, made respective five-day hikes through the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and across the Shaqiya Sands earlier that year. Thousands more like minded young people engaged, en route, through the programme’s interactive website.
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