PAAL is an artistic organization made up of inter-cultural mediation experts on a mission to enable intercultural dialogue between different ethnocultural communities through creative activities which provide participants opportunities to meet and communicate. The organization strives to push Montrealers to enrich their intercultural communication skills, profit from the city’s cultural richness, heighten their sensitization to the cultural communities around them, and open themselves up to the wider world - free of fear of the “Other”. PAAL hopes to be recognized as a positive force in Montreal’s transition to an increasingly empathetic, inclusive, egalitarian, and just city.
The word “intercultural” is used to define the interactions and rapport between different cultures. “Intercultural mediation” refers to the actions taken by professionals, like those at PAAL, to reconcile tensions and differences between the members of diverse cultural groups. There are two overarching branches of intercultural mediation; prevention and sensitization, and intervention and conflict resolution. PAAL specializes in sensitization to cultural diversity. They do so by incorporating unique forms of cultural expression into their workshops through art, stories, and craft. As no term exists to describe this unique approach, PAAL coined the term “inter-cultural mediation”. Whereas classical intercultural mediation uses speech to unite individuals, inter-cultural mediation, as PAAL defines it, uses art as its unifying tool.