Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework

Type: Publication
Theme: Other
Format: PDF
Publisher: International Partner
Contact: k.stenou@unesco.org
Short Summary:

What are intercultural competences and why are they necessary in this globalizing world that has moved people of different backgrounds closer together? What place do intercultural competences take – and what place should they take – in shaping this new landscape? Globalization shrinks the world, bringing a wider range of cultures into closer contact with one another more often than in previous generations. Cultural diversity and intercultural contact have become facts of modern life, so intercultural competence becomes a requisite response. Since we understand cultural diversity to be a resource (in the ways that biodiversity serves as a resource), we must learn to cope with the implications, using cultural diversity as the resource that it can be. To develop intercultural competences facilitates relationships and interactions among people from various origins and cultures as well as within heterogeneous groups, all of whom all must learn to live together in peace.
Once the need for intercultural competence is accepted and felt as urgent, it becomes essential to develop a broad range of theoretical concepts and definitions, taking into consideration the existing plurality of languages, histories and identities. Mutual trust and exchange about similar and differing experiences, values and overlapping lives serve as the beginning points for developing these common definitions and creating a new space of interactions. This document first provides key concepts to nurture the debate on intercultural competences and then an operational plan, to turn debate into action demonstrating that everyone needs intercultural competences today as a result of globalization, and so efforts must be made to ensure that everyone gains them.

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