BMW Group Intercultural Innovation Award Won by Indian NGO – MITTI Social Initiative Foundation

Business Wire India

  • Over 1,100 organizations from 120 countries applied for prestigious award
  • US $20,000 financial grant for each selected project and sup-port from UNAOC, Accenture and BMW Group
  • Festive awards ceremony took place during theme week “Tolerance & Inclusivity” at Expo 2020
The BMW Group and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) have bestowed ten organizations from ten countries with the Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) for their outstanding social commitment. One of the winners of the prestigious award is from India – MITTI Social Initiative Foundation. The award ceremony took place last night at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, on the margins of the themed week on Tolerance and Inclusivity, and the International Day of Tolerance.

Mitti Café is a chain of sustainable, inclusive cafes that provides experiential training and employment to adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. The organization’s outreach initiatives help create awareness about inclusion and disability rights. Mitti Cafés across India are managed by hundreds of adults with special needs who have served over 5 million meals in just 4 years. Through ‘Karuna Meals’, the organization’s staff also provides low-cost, quality nutrition to homeless and daily wage workers, out of a mobile cafe.

“The Intercultural Innovation Award honours people and projects that promote diversity, tolerance and inclusion in a particularly creative way. These are the values that move us forward as a society and as a company. We are convinced that progress requires cohesion – that is what the BMW Group stands for. Together with UNAOC, we make a meaningful contribution to respectful dialogue,” says Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Labour Relations Director, and patron of the award. The awards ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Ms. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates and Managing Director of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau.

“As the Intercultural Innovation Award celebrates its 10-year anniversary, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group continue to collaborate to promote a more inclusive global community by strengthening grassroots initiatives that are deeply committed to fostering intercultural dialogue and understanding. We count on continuing this ever-growing collaboration between UNAOC and the private sector, which has shown to amplify and strengthen the work of social innovators around the world. It is their commitment and visionary thinking that have given the UNAOC-BMW Group partnership such value and impact,” said Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).
Diversity and understanding – for strong civil societies worldwide.
The BMW Group and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), through the Intercultural Innovation Award, have been promoting intercultural understanding and strenthening civil societies for the past ten years. This year, 1,100 organizations from 120 countries applied to the open call. With the support of an Internationa Jury, ten organizations were selected, coming from ten different countries: Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

The awardees will each receive financial support of 20,000 US Dollars. They will also receive professional mentoring from the BMW Group, UNAOC and the consulting firm Accenture. Among other things, the selected organizations will benefit from business and strategic project support and become members of the Intercultural Leaders network, which connects professionals and specialists worldwide.

Yesterday’s award ceremony was hosted by Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the High Representative for UNAOC, and Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Labour Relations Director, and patron of the award.

Since its inception, the Intercultural Innovation Award has been conferred to 71 organizations, reaching more than five million people worldwide with their projects. The BMW Group and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations have very recently agreed to continue their successful partnership in the years to come.

The award winners:

MITTI Social Initiative Foundation – MITTI Café Inclusion with Every Meal (India).
MITTI Café runs “inclusion cafés” staffed by people with disabilities. By facilitating interaction, MITTI Café promotes awareness of inclusion and provides a safe workplace for people with disabilities. More information:

Initiatives of Change International – International Trust Building (Switzerland).
The International Trust Building programme supports communities in times of conflict and social upheaval, providing resources to address and overcome conflict issues. For example, board games have been developed for young people in Indonesia who are vulnerable to extremist groups. More information:

La Cana, Productos Con Causa – Knitting a Better Future (Mexico).
La Cana is a non-profit organisation that promotes fair working conditions and vocational training for women in prison. La Cana enables these women to produce high-quality handmade products and earn an income away from crime. More information:
Mediterranean Youth Foundation – Dialogue on the Human Fraternity Document (Egypt).
This project is the world’s first inter-religious youth dialogue. It uses workshops to empower youth to implement the concept of “human fraternity” in their communities and counter hate speech, extremism and intolerance. More information:

Peacegeeks Society – Arrival Advisor (Canada).
Arrival Advisor provides refugees and migrants with reliable information about the asylum application and immigration process in Canada. The app provides newcomers with all the information they need. Once downloaded, they can access all resources anonymously and offline. More information:

Place Network – Emerging Leaders (France).
PLACE Network was launched in 2017 and offers a platform for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to make their success stories visible and motivate them to actively participate in the social life of their adopted country. The project highlights the cultural, social and economic benefits of migration for society. More information:

Politize! Civic Education Institute – Politize! Ambassadors Programme: Promoting Civic Empowerment for All (Brazil).
Since 2018, the Politize! Ambassador Programme has been sharing knowledge, training opportunities and education experiences with young people who want to participate in the political life of their communities. Civic education workshops train young people to become leaders in politics and society. More information:

Spielen in der Stadt – Always Remember, Never Forget (Germany).
Always Remember, Never Forget is a joint project of Spielen in der Stadt e.V. (Playing in the City) and the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. Schoolchildren find new ways of engaging with Munich’s National Socialist past through creative film, dance theatre and performance formats. More information:

Street Project Foundation – Creative Youth Boot Camp: Art for Social Transformation (Nigeria).
The Creative Youth Boot Camp brings together young people from over 200 ethnic groups in Nigeria to get creative together. Performing arts are used as a means to address and counteract social conflicts. The young people’s stories become scripts for theatre performances and radio play series that they produce together. More information:

Strengthening Youth Leadership Collective – SMART Advocates: For Effective Dialogue to Address Grassroots Conflicts (Sri Lanka).
The Youth Leadership Collective is a community of young people who have been engaged in community development work across all ethnic and religious lines in Sri Lanka since 2013. The SMART Advocates Programme trains people to take action against hate comments and misinformation on social media platforms. More information: