For the first time since its establishment, SIETAR Europa organised the Virtual Institute from 3 – 24 September 2021 where people came together to learn, to grow, and to connect with like-minded spirits interested in the intercultural field. The first edition of the Virtual Institute, made possible by Tamara Thorpe, Grant Douglas, Bee Bauman, Steve Miller and Papa Balla Ndong of SIETAR Europa, was all about anti-racism, inclusion, and intersectionality.
Three unique master classes were offered during the Virtual Institute to understand anti-racism, inclusion, and intersectionality on a deeper level. The master classes were divided into three pillars that functioned as a gradual build-up from origin to application. All of the master classes were taught by experts on the aforementioned topics to create a solid base of knowledge for the persons who joined the online sessions.
The Virtual Institute started with the master class ‘Research’. Participants were introduced to the history of cultural research and research paradigms in relation to anti-racism, inclusion, and intersectionality. Scholars from different universities presented their thought-provoking research in such a way that it resulted in lively debates.
The second master class, ‘Education’, focused on the challenges of teaching topics on anti-racism, inclusion, and intersectionality. The role of educators and relevant skills needed to address racial inequalities were explored during this session. Participants were even challenged with their own unconscious biases and prejudices, which added a little spice to the master class!
The final master class, ‘Training’, was a practical session and combined the latest research in diversity, equity, and inclusion with a training on how to apply relevant skills and strategies in today’s rapidly changing corporate world. The last masterclass had a focus on business, which made it easy to apply the content to the participant’s own working environment.
Next to the main courses, an extra element was added to the weekly schedule. The Arts and Film Festival provided an extra dimension to the Virtual Institute by giving the opportunity to participants to approach the topics more lightly, but still being educative. The main goal of the bi-annual online event, and this time part of the Virtual Institute, was to promote interculturality by creating awareness about social, cultural, and human rights issues. After the screening of some thought-provoking movies, there was room for processing the content with open discussions – in some cases even with the film makers!
In case you missed the Virtual Institute and are curious about the intercultural content, fret not: the video recordings will be resold for the discounted price of €59,- for the next four weeks on our website. Click this link to access the Resources page on our website.
Overall, the level of participation exceeded our expectations and we at SIETAR consider the Virtual Institute to be a great success. There was enough room for both in-depth discussion as well as more casual conversation. The Virtual Institute did not only provide a source for learning, but also a source for connecting with others. Over time, a sense of community grew among all people involved within the sessions, which was a pleasant development to notice. Due to the success of the first edition, the Virtual Institute will return in the upcoming years as a bi-annual event during non-Congress years. We would like to thank the speakers, facilitators, and everyone else that made this event possible and hope to see you (virtually) during our next edition!