Does interculturalism need to be replaced, reformed or reshaped to match the challenges this world faces?
The SIETAR Europa 2022 Congress wanted to open the next chapter of Interculturalism and I believe it did. Held in Malta and open to participants virtually and in person from all over the world, the Congress provided the perfect platform post (almost!) the Pandemic to re-invent the future with new ideas and re-focused urgencies.
Gabor Holch, from the editorial team of Curiously Intercultural, was the man on the ground while Zaira and I pitched in our virtual presence to capture the mosaic of teaming activity in the global intercultural world.
When I read the program calendar to see which programs would be the most appealing for me; it was a difficult choice. Then the words Global Competence, games and sustainability-jumped out at me and the options were frozen.
On 19th May, I found myself cohorting with two other participants in the Global Team Game developed by Maria Todosiychuk, International Trainer in Intercultural Competence. It was intriguing…to try and save the world virtually in the limited time given. The premise was that the Earth is on the brink of extinction. A few survivors from different parts of the globe (us!) met to combine efforts and develop a strategy to save the Planet. Not only were the survivors different, but we were also superheroes with our own unique superpowers and individual vulnerabilities, which made working as a team a little complicated.
The question was: Would we find our way as a team, agree about the strategy, and save the Planet?
I was lucky to have a role character similar to my own. However, the other participants didn´t, which revealed to us how challenging it is for different personalities to come together as a whole.
The main outcome of the entire process exposed the oft missed point that a task completion in a team is subject to the play of interacting complex personalities. In order for a team to be cohesive and perform at its optimum, individuals need to be aware of their own strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities while understanding those of their colleagues. That said, our small team developed harmony after we broke the ice and engaged in deeper connection before coming back to the given task.
I would like to say that we saved the earth in 45 minutes…but we didn´t! However, we met amazing people from different parts of the globe, learnt some and gave some with ample laughter. The earth will gradually be saved, I believe…we are on the right track.
I find global games as invaluable tools to enhance team play and productivity with happiness, particularly in the digital era we are living in, nowadays.
The next day, I saw myself in a session of the Global Mind Monitor- action for collective well-being and sustainability presented by Ankie Hoefnagels, lecturer of Global Competence and Director of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. I am so glad that I chose to be there because my reflections on global competence were mirrored in tools developed by a unique collaboration between International Research Management, Zuyd University and Etil Research Group.
What was most appealing was the fact that the tools use self-reflection and don’t serve as a means to moral judgement. For long, I have dwelt on the concept of thoughts, words and behaviour leading to an integrated personality and on the 20th I saw it all incorporated in a self- assessment monitor as part of education for sustainability and global competence. It was wonderful to know that the program has been used by several universities in Europe and they are looking to try and see it go global.
As a parting shot, I will quote Bob Dylan (it was mentioned in the slides by Ankie).
Don’t criticise what you can’t understand!
Wishing them luck with lots of love from Hamburg! Watch out for more from Gabor and Zaira… I am absolutely sure that Gabor would have gone into a photo frenzy in Malta!