Symposium “Intercultural Competence at Work” successfully concludes the EU project Prominence

Category: Englisch

Hosted by Seinäjoki UAS the virtual closing event of the project to promote mindful encounters through intercultural competence and experience took place

On 19 November Seinäjoki University of Applied Science, Finland hosted the final online event that concluded the project Prominence - Promoting mindful encounters through intercultural competence and experience, a joint effort between seven European universities to promote the development of intercultural competences among students, teachers and employers. The project, an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership coordinated by the University of Debrecen, was co-founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union (2017-2020) with the participation of  Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences from Germany, Université Savoie Mont Blanc from France, University of Economics in Varna from Bulgaria, University of Economics in Bratislava from Slovakia, University of Economics in Katowice from Poland and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences from Finland. 

The event that was held online due to the ongoing pandemic situation in Europe centred around the topics ranging from discussions on interculturalism and global mindset to pedagogic implementations of courses in multilingual and intercultural environments. Contributions comprised theoretical  and  practical approaches introducing case studies. The host of the event was Kaija-Lisa Kaija-Liisa Kivimäki, Senior Lecturer from Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SEAMK), who was taking the more than fifty participants through the internationalization event online. Dr Anne Maria Aho, Dean of the School of Business and Culture of SEAMK as host welcomed the participants and Marjo Arola introduced the participants to SEAMK’s internationalization strategy and mobility activities. Dr Päivö Laine, SEAMK, one of the main initiators of the project, presented the rationale and agenda of the forthcoming final Prominence publication “Intercultural Competence at Work”. 

A panel discussion looked into challenges and opportunities arising from the present situation and the implications for internationalization and international education. The discussion was based on one of the contributions for the final publication and chaired by the author Prof. Dr. Alexandra Angress from TH Aschaffenburg, Germany. The need to create and maintain social interaction among students and teachers/staff of HEI as well as seeking to encourage student and teacher engagement also in (purely) online learning environments in the present pandemic was stressed by the host Dr Aho. Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) was presented by Ruth O’Brien, representative of the Centre for Global Engagement, Coventry University as an initiative that successfully has been engaging teachers and students across cultures and embedded into the curriculum to allow international HEI partnerships to continue and even to expand in times of the pandemic. The implications of the present uncertainty for business and traineeship opportunities across cultures for students and recent graduates were discussed and in this context, the creator and founder of a university-enterprise consortium in Erasmus+ in Slovakia Karol Ovesny, underlined the need for a new set of skills and attitudes in “the new normal” for the latter.  Intercultural learning opportunities arising from blended mobility formats for study semesters as well as from traineeships with regard to the future Erasmus programme as of 2021 were presented by Beate Körner who oversees Erasmus+ strategic partnerships in the German National Agency Erasmus+ at DAAD, Germany.

The coordinator of the project, Dr Troy Brian summarises the ambition of the final internationalization event: “Our closing conference, as well as the resulting publication, were dedicated to our esteemed colleague, Dr. Päivö Laine, the brainchild of our project. It is in the many thoughtful and poignant comments which arose during the conference presentations and panel discussion that we see the real impact of our project. ..Our closing conference was a great success and brought wonderful closure to our Prominence project”.
The individual contributions are among those published in the final Prominence publication entitled “Intercultural Competence at Work” which will be published online by the end of the year also on the website of the Prominence project.