I feel honored having been invited to speak at the SIETAR Europa Congress 2015 in Valencia, Spain.
Traditional forms of intercultural trainings have often been criticized for causing a number of problems like stereotyping or fostering adversary group dynamics. Often those problems have been marginalized as simple quality problems. In my SIETAR talk, I make the point that those problems are not just bad side effects but put the overall effectiveness of intercultural trainings as we know them into question. They do not arise because of some bad trainer. They must always occur because the underlying cultural paradigm is wrong.
Based on the concept of multicollectivity, I propose a revised understanding of interculturality and intercultural competence. If we take these findings seriously, it becomes clear that we need new forms of intercultural trainings:
We need an intercultural reset! Let’s start anew!
Instead of disseminating alleged “knowledge” about other cultures, we need to teach people how to prevent the downward spiral of collective dissociation that usually starts when people interact with others who they perceive as not belonging to them. We have to help them learn how to transform situations that are perceived as intercultural into normality.