following short report on Budapest Conference, May 21st to
25th, was prepared originally for the SISONA SIG by Isabelle
Demangeat and Elena Garcea who were both participants at the
congress. It has been edited for use here.
you may know, the SIETAR EUROPA Conference in Budapest had
a different format than other SIETAR Europe Congresses: during
the whole event all 130 participants were invited to follow
a large group process around the theme of Communicating and
Collaborating Across Borders in the 21st Century: New Learning
Environments and Strategies.
the official introduction to the congress, we started with
a speech of a woman working on Roma issues in education within
the Hungarian Ministery of Education. She explained the system
she developed to insure the attention, the quality of work
done within schools for the education of Roma children, respecting
their very specific situation and their culture.
together through different settings, questions and phases,
working, discussing and sharing, we explored the past of the
intercultural field, reflected on trends and tried to figure
out which kind of new learning environements our field will
need to cope with the situations we are (and will be) confronted
with. The process was facilitated by a team of 5 facilitators
(Susan Vonsild, Anne-Hélène Guttierez, Veronika
Rolle Green, Simon Green and Isabelle Demangeat) and by the
main facilitator, Jeffrey Beeson.
dynamic of a large group is a very strong one - and this time
we could really experience it anduse it to resolve together
some confrontation - or should we say discussion?
the begining each participants received a coloured sticker
on their nametags - each color defined a stakeholder group
like: people working in the Training and Consultancy area
or, Government, or NGO'S, or Business etc... On the first
and second day, each stakeholder group had the opportunity
to discuss from their very specific perspectives the New Learning
Environments they encounter or they wish to develop. Each
group gave a performance on the stage - yes, really like theater!
- representing the picture they have from the future of our
intercultural field. They also shared experiences and expertise
regarding a common understanding of how to built the future
of our field.
last phase of the whole group process was the development
of projects people shared and committed to working on together.
Projects were, e.g. Organising the link between researchers
and practionners or, how to connect travelling SIETAR members
to other members for informal encouters, how to organise an
intercultural learning process for people working in an European
Organisation in Brussels, which resources are available and
which ideas are present for the next congress in Berlin. By
the way the dates are: April 1st to 4th 2004. Please check
on this SIETAR Europe Web site for future developments in
these projects and for more news of the 2004 congress.
congress format allowed a lot of exchanges, conversations,
made it possible to meet a lot of new people - for sure more
than during "traditionnal" conferences. If people
expected to get finished results and paper presentations -
for sure some of them were maybe disapointed. If people wanted
to experience how it can work to share a learning environment
and process each group member may shape and be responsible
for - I can imagine they were happy at the end of the conference!
At least the feedback shows a great level of satisfaction,
though not everyone would like only this kind of congress
in the future, though most would like to keep some of this
dynamics in coming meetings.
informal events - as usual in the SIETAR Europe Conferences
- gave us the opportunity of meeting SIETAR friends we often
meet once a year, the opportunity of dancing - and flirting
....! - together and of admiring the dancing performance of
annoucement of the SISONA Saturday luncheon in the plenary
session gave the opportunity to inform all participants about
the existence of our group. This luncheon was the only "specific
activity" organised by a SIG.
best wishes and looking forward to meeting a lot of you next
year in Berlin!