Intercultural Training in Strasbourg, France
In December, I traveled to Strasbourg, France to take part in a training course titled “Global and Effective Youth Projects for Intercultural Dialogue.” The United Nation’s Alliance of Civilizations (UNAoC) and the Council of Europe sponsored the course. The twelve participants, including myself, represented the international dialogue projects chosen by this year’s grant committee. You can read about TYO’s project here.
The training was an amazing opportunity to learn about intercultural dialogue while also taking part in it. The participants at the training came from all over the world. Through learning from my peers at this conference, I came to understand the exact meaning of ‘alliance of civilizations.’ Everyone was so passionate about their project and eager to effect positive change in their community and share it with others. We also had plenty of fun. One night we decided to go to Kehl, across the border in Germany. We went to a coffee shop to have some tea and coffee. As we sat down, we were all speaking in English, our shared language, and some of us were engaged in side conversation in our native tongues. When the waiter came to collect our order, we realized that he only spoke German and none of us did! We started to talk with him in our mother tongues attempting to gauge whether he also understood Arabic or Croatian—he did not. Finally, through pantomime and pointing, we received our orders. It was a crazy night.
On a professional level, this conference strengthened my skills in human rights education, intercultural dialogue, monitoring and evaluation, and project management. I left the conference feeling very confident in my ability to express myself to people from other cultures and in turn to better understand them.
Imad is TYO's Volunteer Coordinator and a UNAoC Project Coordinator.