27 Nov 2013

Scholars & Practitioners getting together towards the development of Intercultural Competence

The Department of Cross-Cultural Psychology of Tilburg University and the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) Nederland hosted a one-day symposium entitled “Advancing Intercultural Competence Development: Initiating the dialogue between researchers and practitioners”. The event took place on Wednesday, 16th of October 2013, at Tilburg University, south of the Netherlands. It was a success!

This event was part of SIETAR Nederland’s Elfstedentocht (‘Eleven City Tour’), a tour across the country where eleven major Dutch universities and applied universities involved in cross-cultural research are hosting a meeting for practitioners and scholars connected with intercultural studies.

SIETAR Nederland is committed to the development of Intercultural Competence and shares the idea that practitioners and scholars have a lot to learn from each other.

The topics discussed in the panels where related to one of the four concentration areas below:

·      Intercultural competences: What are they, how can they be assessed and developed, and how do they contribute to intercultural effectiveness?
·     Effectiveness of interventions: How do intercultural training, coaching and counselling contribute to intercultural competence development?
·    Diversity management: Developments and challenges for researchers and practitioners in addition, we welcome papers on cross-cultrual psychology addressing other areas
·    Cultural differences: Insights from research and practice

It is relevant to remark how diverse the presentations were under those four major areas. Intercultural competence is important from the medical clinics daily routine to corporate affairs. Wherever there is more than one culture (or sub-cultures) involved, there is a need for intercultural management and that is only possible to be performed with excellence by trained professionals – that is, intercultural scientists and practitioners with deep knowledge on intercultural communication theories & frameworks.

I had the chance to present the results of my MA in International Communications dissertation in a presentation named “Cross-Cultural Media Relations”, which was classified under the “cultural differences” umbrella.

"Intercultural competence is becoming a must-have skill in today’s business world no matter in which specific sector you work. Therefore, understanding cultural differences is strategic in enhacing one's capability to interact and communicate efficiently across national borders".

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