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Grundtvig Learning Partnership 2011-2013

Improving Intercultural Competence: Mainstreaming Intercultural Opening

Social competences are ever more needed to deal with a complex society. With migration being a reality in Europe, the terms “allochthonous” and “autochthonous” having become well known to a broader public. While migrants have become part of all European societies, still, there are many questions to answer in terms of education, access to employment and participation, which are also relevant with regards to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

Social competences are essential not only for pedagogical members of staff in adult education. Nevertheless, the social competences or rather intercultural competences of the individual will only be fully explored, if applied in a corresponding and supporting organizational and structural setting. On organizational and structural level the increased confrontation with question of interculturality require the mainstreaming of intercultural opening in order to be successful towards the major challenges in the field of adult education.

The Grundtvig Learning Partnership “Improving Intercultural Competences - Mainstreaming Intercultural Opening” -with 6 partners in 4 EU-countries, intends to foster and develop intercultural competences of staff in the adult education working with young migrants and/or disadvantaged groups in order to improve the intercultural and social togetherness in European societies.

The priority will be given to improve qualifications and explore, how organizations can provide an adequate setting for their staff to enable their social competences and how local, regional, national and European structures can help or hinder an "Intercultural Opening". The European partners will examine the structures in their context and share best practice which will be shared via a dedicated website and various publications.

Interkulturelle Öffnung

Interkulturelle Öffnung ist ein Prozess der Organisationsentwicklung, durch den Verwaltungen, kleine und mittlere Betriebe, Unternehmen, soziale Dienste, Bildungseinrichtungen und andere Organisationen sich auf die heutige, von Migration geprägte Gesellschaft einstellen. Das Ziel interkultureller Öffnung ist, Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund die gleiche Teilhabe an gesellschaftlichen, wirtschaftlichen und politischen Prozessen zu ermöglichen. Ein gleichberechtigter Zugang zu Bildungseinrichtungen, öffentlichen und sozialen Diensten, Betrieben und Vereinen soll gewährleistet werden. Dafür muss zunächst ein Bewusstsein für bestehende Zugangsbarrieren und Diskriminierung geschaffen werden, um sie dann abbauen zu können. Der Prozess der Organisationsentwicklung findet sowohl auf struktureller als auch auf individueller Ebene statt. Auf der individuellen Ebene ist ein Ziel, dass die Mitarbeitenden kulturelle Vielfalt als gesellschaftliche Normalität anerkennen und wertschätzen. Sie sollen befähigt werden, in dieser differenzierten Gesellschaft handlungsfähig zu sein. Auf der strukturellen Ebene werden Strukturen und Routinen an die gesellschaftliche Realität angepasst. Interkulturelle Öffnung besteht aus verschiedenen Maßnahmen und Instrumenten, die auf den spezifischen Kontext und die Institution zugeschnitten sind.  


Transnational Meeting in Brussels and Eupen, Belgium, 26th-28th of June 2013


The final transnational meeting took place in Brussels and Eupen, Belgium, from the 26th – 28th June 2013. Within the 3-day-programme a large variety of topics, activities and methods were foreseen. One of the priorities of the meeting was to connect the learning, the good/best practices and the results of the the IIC-MIO project with European policy and debate. The partnership shared expertise in order to relate to the European adult education debate with regards to interculturality / social competences and other relevant aspects and deepened the understanding of European and national level needs in dedicated EU-workshops. The partners also presented and disseminated the results in a large adult education event in Eupen, in collaboration with the National Agency of the DG.

On the first day in Brussels the partnership discussed the mainstreaming of intercultural dialogue into the recent and future developments on European level, intending to relate the IIC-MIO project to the EU policy debate. This was supported by an EU WAREHOUSE input on EU2020 in connection with the Education&Training policies on key competencies. The partners then got various inputs with regards to intercultural opening in the Belgian context. Isabelle van Loo from the education and culture department of the "Royal Museum for Central Africa" presented aspects of intercultural opening on organisational level, including information on the history of the relations Belgium-Congo as well as the colonization of Congo, the history, background and policy of the museum. Very interesting aspects for the partnership were specifically the developments and changes in the cultural orientation of the museum as well as the (Belgian) recruitment policy and its intercultural opening as a long process with many variables.

Stéphanie Marques Dos Santos, the Chef de Cabinet de L’Echevin Bea Diallo, gave first hand insights into measures and instruments on local / community level with regards to Bruxelles/Ixelles/Matongé, picturing the different levels of the Belgian regional / local educational system and its impact on intercultural opening as well as the relevance of sport for the integration of young people.

On the 27th of June 2013 the partners presented the project results in at a well attended "Mittagskonferenz" in Eupen, in cooperation with the National Agency of the German speaking community (DG). Cèline Liessem, the coordinator for the Grundtvig programme, welcomed the European guests as well as the guests from the adult educational and social sector of the DG. Kerstin Weertz, director of EU WAREHOUSE, gave a lecture with regards to intercultural competences in the framework of EU-policies and Nadège Kouleikina, the delegate for intercultural aspects of the city of Eupen pictured in depth the intercultural aspects in the DG. Those input were completed by Francis Grandjean, who summed up the most important steps taken in the partnerships and highlighted the most important findings of the group. Different methods were presented to the audience by the IIC-MIO partners "in action". The lively discussions and the professional exchanges with the audience were deepened at the occasion of a joint lunch, to which EU WAREHOUSE had invited.

After some EU workshops held at the premises of the Ministry, the end of day was highlighted by the visit of the reception of the German speaking Community in Belgium in the "Hôtel de Ville" in Brussels. Freddy Thielemans, Mayor of Brussels, opened the reception, followed by a speech of Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Minister-President of the German speaking community of Belgium.

On the final day, the partners engaged in workshops and finalized the learning partnership. The steering committee met in order to overview and plan the final steps, the other participants and learners went on a guided walk-through the African quarter (Matongé) in Ixelles.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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