In recent years there has been a rise in discrimination and xenophobia in Western Europe with attitudes, behaviours and policies reinforcing one another. Xenophobic actors are taking advantage of the economic crisis and are using Muslims, immigrants and Roma as scapegoats. The Open Society Fund to Counter Xenophobia takes the term xenophobia to refer to those attitudes, prejudices, behaviours and policies that reject, exclude or deny equal treatment and often vilify persons, based on perceived racial or ethnic origin, or national or religious background.
The Open Society Fund to Counter Xenophobia, a grant-making program of the Open Society Foundations, will tackle both the causes and manifestations of xenophobia in order to see acts and practices of discrimination reduced, to guarantee non-discriminatory policies and to (re)gain a social and cultural consensus in which xenophobic views and practices are considered unacceptable.
The Open Society Fund to Counter Xenophobia was launched at the end of 2011 and its strategy takes into consideration the investment by private foundations and the European Union in order to cover the existing gaps. The Open Society Fund to Counter Xenophobia aims to reduce discriminatory and xenophobic attitudes, practices and policies across Europe, particularly towards Muslims, immigrants and Roma. Beyond an investment on transnational and pan-European issues and projects, particular attention will be devoted to a few countries (Italy, France, The Netherlands, and Spain) and to certain regions or cities. The Fund to Counter Xenophobia now also comprises the Italy program which since 2010 has been supporting projects related to migrants’ rights, Roma and minority rights and freedom of the media. The Fund to Counter Xenophobia adopts a variety of interventions, including support for civil society, migrant led NGOs, grassroots initiatives, media relations and campaigning, strategic litigation, monitoring, advocacy, research and cultural strategies. The Fund also encourages partnerships with other Open Society Foundations programmes and external foundations.
The Open Society Fund to Counter Xenophobia will mainly contact potential grantees proactively, but it will also be open to consider unsolicited proposals (application templates are available at left and can be submitted in English, French, Italian or Spanish). Eligible initiatives will aim to:
- Strengthen NGOs working to reduce xenophobia and intolerance at national and pan-European levels.
- Support the development of innovative grassroots NGOs.
- Sustain networking collaboration and knowledge sharing among civil society organizations.
- Test “opposition research” methodologies.
- Support cultural innovative strategies.
- Support policy analysis and pragmatic research.
More information on the Open Society Fund to Counter Xenophobia is available for download at left (in English, French, Spanish, and Dutch).