A wonderful week at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication

This blog post was contributed by fellow AFSer, Fran Baxter. Fran’s involvement with AFS started when she sent both her daughters on AFS exchanges and since than she has hosted many AFS students at her home in Australia. Over the years Fran has taken part in many AFS activities in various roles and currently she works part time for AFS Australia as the Learning Services Manager and manages the AFS Educational Impact Assessment Pilot as a consultant for AFS International.

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From July 13 to July 24 the 39th annual Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) took place at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. I was fortunate to attend SIIC for the second time, my first time being in 2013.

SIIC is an extremely engaging, motivating, positive and inclusive learning environment. For two weeks, hundreds of people working in education, training, business and consulting, in both international and domestic intercultural contexts, come together to take workshops on different topics within the field of intercultural communication.

The most difficult part of attending SIIC is choosing which courses to take, as all courses are relevant to anyone within the intercultural learning field! The faculty are highly skilled, knowledgeable and approachable and they include renowned intercultural theorists such as Janet Bennett, Executive Director and co-founder of the Intercultural Communication Institute (ICI), Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, Mick Vande Berg, Darla Deardorff and Stella Ting Toomey, just to name a few.

In total over 550 participants attended SIIC this summer, representing a diverse national and professional group of learners who are eager to learn and share their expertise. AFS was represented at SIIC this year, with 21 AFS volunteers and staff attending from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Honduras, India and USA over the course of the two weeks. Of these 21 AFSers, 15 are AFS-SIIC scholars which means that they received scholarships from AFS Intercultural Programs to attend SIIC. They are now back in their home countries completing their scholarship requirements which integrate their SIIC experience with their roles at AFS. I’m personally very excited to apply what I learned at SIIC to the AFS Educational Impact Assessment Pilot and local projects at AFS Australia.

I would recommend SIIC to anyone who wants to expand his or her intercultural competence, and to individuals who recognise that the learning journey continues for life. Come to network with like-minded individuals who recognise the value of shared knowledge. Come to interact with the teachers and students who were happy to share their experience and are open to new learning. Come for the many “a-ha!” moments, and to transfer what you learn to your context within AFS or beyond.

AFS Scholars at SIIC 2015

Each year I attend SIIC, I am left with one thing: the desire to learn more.

See you next July for the 40th year of SIIC!

 

Intercultural Link News Magazine v4 i2&3 – Global Edition

 

The newest edition of the Intercultural Link News Magazine has just been launched. Read it on-line or download it here. Enjoy!

 

 

 

AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the new issue of AFS Intercultural Link Newsletter volume 4, issues 2 and 3 – Global Edition, which can be shared with everyone interested in learning more about intercultural education.

At AFS we understand that intercultural learning goes far beyond that of our exchange students. This issue brings you some ideas on how to use intercultural learning with host families, both on the level of concepts and in practical activities, featuring:
  • a look at what potential obstacles to intercultural communication exist and how to overcome them;
  • a new Learning Session Outline to help you introduce basic notions of intercultural learning to new host families;
  • an interview with Fred Dervin, whose work focuses on the intercultural learning and communication;

and much more!

The AFS Intercultural Link News Magazine is the quarterly magazine on intercultural learning in the AFS Network. The magazine features content shared by the Intercultural Learning Work Group as well as other AFS Partners and guest writers, including information on trends in intercultural education, interviews with experts in the field and overviews of upcoming and previous conferences.

 

Teacher Education for Change: Pestalozzi Programme

As governments and leaders around the world realize the growing importance of the change in how we educate the 21st century citizens, we can see intercultural and global competencies making their way to educational policies and more concretely into curricular documents around the world. This trend as such won’t make a difference unless it’s embraced by educators and that’s why we should be asking: How does the policy get translated into practice, into the day-to-day reality in the classroom?

One of the initiatives that strives to respond to the above mentioned challenge is the Council of Europe Pestalozzi Programme. It is a program for the professional development of teachers and education actors which aims to deliver the message of the Council of Europe and its values – democracy, respect for human rights and dignity and the rule of law – into the practice of education (formal, non-formal and informal). It supports its member states in the move from education policy to education practice in line with these values by offering training activities, publishing and sharing resources and creating an on-line Community of Practice.

The program targets teachers, school principals, inspectors, educational advisers, teacher trainers, textbook authors and other education professionals and supports them in the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes they need in order to guide and facilitate the learning of the young members of their societies.

The growing need for the development of transversal knowledge, skills and attitudes among teachers to make them fully equipped for educating the 21st century citizens is a belief that is also strongly present in the work of AFS Intercultural Programs, which cooperates with teachers and educators in many of the Council of Europe member states, as well as with those outside of Europe.

Pestalozzi program represents an inspiring and valuable resource for anyone who works on intercultural competence development of pre-service and in-service teachers, educators and other related audiences. Visit the FAQs to learn more about the program or explore how to take an active part in the training events and modules.

 

 

Intercultural Link News Magazine v4 i1 – Global Edition

The newest edition of the Intercultural Link News Magazine has just been launched. Read it on-line or download it here. Enjoy!

AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the January/February/March/April 2013 issue of AFS Intercultural Link Newsletter volume 4, issue 1 – Global Edition, which can be shared with everyone interested in learning more about intercultural education.

The AFS Intercultural Link News Magazine is the quarterly magazine on intercultural learning in the AFS Network. The magazine features content shared by the Intercultural Learning Work Group as well as other AFS Partners and guest writers, including information on trends in intercultural education, interviews with experts in the field and overviews of upcoming and previous conferences.

Youth Programs for ICL and IR

This post is part of a series by guest writer Paul Edinger comparing the fields intercultural relations and international relations.

There are many educational programs for young people in the fields of intercultural learning and international relations. While their approaches may differ due to the unique subject matter of the two fields, these programs have an overall goal of increasing understanding and knowledge across societies.

One of the most well known youth driven international programs with a basis in international relations is Model United Nations. These programs allow young adults to represent a different member state of the United Nations in a setting that mimics the actual deliberations and functions of the real United Nations. Through these events, students can argue their own nation’s position or a completely different nation’s position. Together, the students debate international issues, draft resolutions and form diplomatic alliances.

While these programs take the form of fun, friendly competitions, they allow students to learn about the various cultural and political issues that are on the forefront of global affairs. They learn about why states have their particular positions on issues and use this knowledge to collaborate on common interests and bridge differences.

There are also many youth organizations that provide education about differences from an intercultural learning standpoint. For example Youth Peace Camp is one such organization that uses ICL to educate youth from conflict ridden regions. At the initiative of the Council of Europe in 2004, this organization has had a presence in areas of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A more culture specific organization is the UK-German Youth Ambassadors Programme. This initiative engages youth interested in German and British culture to participate in seminars and other activities in order to advance the understanding of people from both countries.

In each organization, culture is studied on its own term on a very personal level. This is in contrast to an international relations (IR) centered youth program, such as the model UN, because IR focuses on formal policies among different governments. However, there are other youth centered international organizations that combine the government policy centered approach of IR and the culture learning strategies of ICL. YC Social Diplomacy is a non-profit that seeks to enhance the tolerance and understanding of young people of the Black Sea region through a combination of youth-driven government policy research and essay writing and cultural exchanges, seminars and other personal educational activities. This organization combines concepts of IR and ICL into one comprehensive program designed to advance awareness and understanding throughout the region.

AFS is a youth organization that is centered in the principles of ICL. Its programs offer culture learning in an educational context. While different, IR based programs and ICL based programs enrich each other. They offer different perspectives on many overlapping topics, all of which are firmly based on the principle that education is the key to understanding differences.

Paul Edinger is a contributing writer for the ICL Blog. He was an intern at AFS International in 2011 in the Development and Branding department, and continued in 2012 in the Intercultural Learning department. He holds a B.A. in International Studies.