An initiative worth following took place on 15 May 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. The AFS Turkish Volunteer Association in partnership with the Galatasaray University organised a Symposium, which tackled interculturalism from two angles: managing intercultural learning environments in educational institutions and managing intercultural working environments in corporations.
The event involved a diverse range of speakers. The keynote words were addressed by professors Michel Bourse and Nilgün Tutal Cheviron from the Communication Faculty of the Galatasaray University, who both pointed out the diverse understandings and contexts of culture and intercultural interactions.
Within the educational sector Linda Ziberi (SEE University in Skopje), Serif Derince (Koc University in Istanbul) and Burak Ülman (progressive school in Bodrum) presented interesting case studies of intercultural and multilingual education, from primary school to university context. The formal education representatives were complemented by the input of Izabela Jurczik-Arnold from EFIL, who brought in the perspective and specificities of intercultural learning in the non-formal education setting. Finally, additional points of view were presented by two speakers from the corporate world, who talked about the role and practical implications of cultural diversity within work life.
Remarkably, the coherence and complementarity of the different content contributions was very clear, while the mutual awareness of different developments and strengths of each intercultural context, on the contrary, was not great. All the more, the idea of the Symposium deserves attention and praise. The project was not only a chance for different experts to come together and contribute to the intercultural debate, but also for AFS to be visible in the intercultural education sector. A special thanks for the initiative goes to the project coordinator, Ömer Ongun from the AFS Turkish Volunteer Association!
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