In today's globalised world, intercultural dialogue is presented as a vital tool for tackling the incomprehension that exists between cultures and is one of the most efficient means for preventing and solving conflicts.
The result of the growing importance of intercultural dialogue in various sectors, international organisations, etc., is the creation of various meeting forums for intercultural understanding, in which Spain is playing an extremely active part due to the initiative of the Spanish President's proposal of the Alliance of Civilisations to the United Nations.
The Ministry of Culture has galvanised intercultural dialogue as a permanent process and on 27 and 28 April 2006 organised the Conference of Granada, Europe for Intercultural Dialogue. The result of this meeting was the European Commission's clear support of the initiative, which declared 2008 the European year of Intercultural Dialogue, later developed into Decision 1983/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council which was approved on 16 December 2006.
The purpose of this European Year is to make citizens, and especially young people, aware of the challenges imposed by accepting the principle of cultural diversity, increasing Europe's conscience with regard to solidarity, respect and understanding of other cultures and making intercultural dialogue a transversal priority of community policy. At the same time, it allows synergy to be established with other internal community policies that seek social cohesion and with external community policies that endeavour to improve relations and co-operation with other regions.
On 31 January 2008 Spain hosted the official launch of the campaign, by holding an institutional function and other high-profile cultural events in twenty Spanish regional capitals.