UNESCO publishes “Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework”

In March, UNESCO established a significant milestone in the area of Intercultural Competences by publishing the document “Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework“. This document serves as a reference framework that will help interculturalists and other professionals working in related fields to use as a common reference when discussing the components and dimensions of Intercultural Competence and its intersections with Cultural Diversity, Human Rights and Intercultural Dialogue.

This document represents a milestone in the field because it conceptually brings together and synthesizes a multitude of terms and concepts related to Intercultural Competence and offers definitions to all of them. As a framework, it places and defines the area of work of Intercultural Competence in a globalized world in which everyone is impacted by intercultural exchanges and influences at some level and therefore acknowledges the need for everyone to be interculturally skilled. It describes some of which might be the next challenges for policymakers, civil and human rights activists, social justice and inclusion specialists, politicians, economics and health professionals, educators, etc., and offers definitions for 26 concepts that should be common vocabulary across fields that draw on Intercultural Competence.

More importantly, this framework also offers these definitions and concepts in a programmatic and operational plan and specific action steps to immediately target institutions and populations that can benefit by accessing Intercultural Competences:

  • Clarifying Cultural Competences,
  • Teaching Cultural Competences,
  • Promoting Cultural Competences,
  • Enacting Cultural Competences,
  • Supporting Cultural Competences.

"The operational plan builds upon all these concepts, and so is depicted in the visual conceptualization as branches on the trunk of the tree. No match is intended between a specific branch and the theoretical concepts appearing closest to it – all concepts should be understood as having at least potential relevance at all operational steps."

This UNESCO document “Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework” is called to be a necessary reference in our intercultural work and in improving numerous areas of cultural diversity and rights studies, professional sectors, as well as education and development.

If you want to learn more about this document came to be, you can also read it in this entry on the blog of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue by its director Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz.

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