This April, a cohort of 22 lecturers with the Higher Colleges of Technology participated in an Inter-Cultural Intelligence Certification workshop, as part of their preparation to lead a 16-week intercultural communications course.
KnowledgeWorkx, based in Dubai, facilitates the ICI Certification workshops. Through an endorsement from the Ministry of Higher Education in the UAE, this course has been running for more than five years now. It is exciting to add 22 more lecturers to the roster of ICI-certified course instructors. On average, KnowledgeWorkx helps the Higher Colleges of Technology equip 1200-1800 students per year with Inter-Cultural Intelligence training.
From KnowledgeWorkx' perspective, it was a tremendous privilege to conduct a workshop with a record-setting amount of combined intercultural experience in the room! Together, these seasoned lecturers in the room brought 579 years' worth of experience to the table—an absolutely enormous amount of rich intercultural expertise! The amount of combined experience was one of the unique beauties of this particular workshop.
That level of knowledge and accrued wisdom makes the workshop material come alive even more meaningfully for everyone. Though, from a facilitation point of view it can make it a bit more difficult to manage, because are so many stories to tell, and seemingly never enough time! When you gather together so many years of intercultural experience into one room, and you seek to examine intercultural situations, it results in the sharing of countless practical and memorable stories—from which everyone benefits! One participant remarked that the workshop provided "relevance not just as course material but as life material."
There was also a great diversity among the participants' proficiencies and affinities. Myriad academic disciplines were represented in the room by artists and photographers, linguists and language-acquisition specialists, social dynamics specialists, experts who specialized in understanding terrorism, and more.
So much expertise in the room is also bound to be accompanied by a deeper approach from an academic standpoint—and this workshop was characterized by a lot of wrestling through difficult scenarios and questions from a variety of angles. Each of these 22 lecturers brought their own presuppositions and expectations coming into the workshop, and it was a great exercise to document those expectations at the outset, and then revisit them at the finale.
At the end, everyone came up and added three summary words or phrases in three category columns, many people realized they had to adjust their thinking and were pleasantly surprised to be able to mark what they learned in four short days! One participant shared that they recognized room for development in intercultural communications, "despite having lived and worked in multi-cultural environments for many years."
Helping new generations of Emirates students thrive in an inter-culturally complex and global world
The 2030 Education Strategy describes how the UAE intends its students both to be rooted strongly in their national identity, and at the same time able to engage the world. As a result, the country has become, more than ever before, a crossroads of trade, of politics, of relief and development, and medical and scientific research. This makes our Inter-Cultural Intelligence program a compelling addition to many higher education curricula.
Quickly becoming the global preferred choice for Inter-Cultural Intelligence development, KnowledgeWorkx promotes mutual understanding of other cultures and perspectives in the workplace, and helps teams to develop the intercultural capacity necessary to thrive in a globalized world.