Linking aims to create a relationship between diverse cultures which is of mutual benefit.
Linking across cultures is an effective way of:
- Learning about others
- Challenging assumptions
- Helping to break down barriers in ways that can help an overseas link
- Increasing knowledge and understanding of global issues
- Broadening and deepening knowledge about other countries
- Developing friendships and feelings of solidarity with others
- Strengthening the local (York) community and challenging narrow and distorted ideas about other races and cultures.
It can also be great fun!
Linking and partnerships between two communities working together can be short- or long-term initiatives and can develop in different ways:
- On a personal basis.
- Between representatives/members of a local organisation e.g. youth group, church, hospital or local council.
- Between villages/towns with a focus on developing a range of jointly agreed activities.
There are of course many ways in which Links can be initiated; some may be started after a visit to, or contact with, another country, or perhaps there is a specific event or problem that provides the spark. Another way in which a link may begin, and certainly a way in which to test its ideals, is to develop and deliver a project.
Building Linking partnerships takes time, commitment, openness and honesty if trust, respect and understanding are to develop. The exchange of information, as well as reciprocal exchange visits, can strengthen a shared understanding of what a Link can plan to achieve over time. One important characteristic of Linking is that it is not a one-way donor-recipient process whereby benefits (financial and other) flow in one direction. It is a two-way exchange based on equality of decision-making, which recognises the developmental needs of both communities.