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The Intercultural Dialogue Index (ICDI): An Index for Assessing Intercultural Relations

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Mansouri, Fethi & Elisa, Amanuel.
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Intercultural dialogue (ICD) refers to a process of contact, interaction and exchange of views on the basis of equality, respect, and mutual understanding between individuals or groups from diverse backgrounds. A large body of research has discussed ICD and its potential value for fostering social cohesion and peaceful coexistence across difference. However, there is a lack of robust benchmark data that precludes researchers and practitioners from empirically testing assumptions and hypotheses pertaining to ICD.

This article discusses the development of the Intercultural Dialogue Index (ICDI), a proposed composite index for measuring the extent to which ICD is being pursued and implemented as a diversity management tool within different countries. The index builds on the conceptual assumptions underpinning ICD, uses publicly accessible data, and applies methods that allow for replication, upgrading and comparability with relevant indices.

This article assesses ICD prevalence for 51 countries based on three interrelated dimensions covering legislative and structural environments as well as opportunities for intercultural encounters. Altogether, 31 indicators across the three dimensions are identified and grouped under 10 broad components to capture both macro- and micro-level factors affecting ICD and intergroup relationships nationally and globally. The article briefly summarises some preliminary ICDI findings and discusses key methodological constraints and conceptual challenges. Theoretical and practical implications of ICDI are also provided.