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Keynote Speakers

We are very pleased to announce the keynote speakers of this years’ Sietar Europa congress in Dublin, Ireland!

Find here more information about the speakers and their keynotes.
An overview is also available as a download (.pdf) here: download

Facilitated discussions:


Nguyen Phuong Mai

"How do evolutionary biology and neuroscience challenge our Intercultural communication theories?"

When: 25th of May 2017| Hour: 9.00am

Keynote speaker: Dr. Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai 

Associate Professor; Intercultural Management, Organization Leadership and Change | Middle East Studies;
Amsterdam School of International Business (AMSIB)

Abstract: The field of cultural studies has been visited and shaken lately by some of the most impressive studies on culture conducted by natural scientists. It is a situation that some scholars have considered to be “a wee bit of irony”, that we need colleagues from natural sciences to convince us that nothing about culture actually makes sense, unless being put under the interdisciplinary light with evolution and biology.  

This keynote summarizes the leaning points of Nguyen-Phuong-Mai, an interculturalist, when she encounters this emerging field of cultural neurosciences – a discipline that has merely put its name on the radar for less than a decade. The insight challenges our tradition of intercultural theories, inviting us to re-evaluate and refresh our understanding on many fronts, such as the purpose of culture, the binary system of values, the static paradigm, and the notion that individuals are products of culture. Intercultural communication is an interdisciplinary science. And in order to keep up with the complexity of this changing world, it should stay updated.




"Refugees, Immigrants and Others: Defending Immigration in a Populist World"

When: 25th of May 2017 | Hour: 9.00am

Keynote speaker: Dr. Randall Hansen 

Director of the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies; Munk School of Global Affairs;
Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto

Abstract: In Europe and the United States, opposition to immigration is rising. In the United States, a presidential candidate who called Mexicans criminals and rapists and who promised to build a wall between the US and Mexico enjoys over 40% support among the American electorate. In the UK, the ‘leave’ campaign won the June 23, 2016 referendum on remaining in the EU on the back of a nakedly anti-immigration campaign. And across Europe, far-right parties – the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, the Front National in France, the Danish People’s Party – are enjoying record levels of support. Even Germany, which used to be a no-go for the far right, has seen the Alternative for Germany win as much as 20% in state elections.

In Europe, three factors have conspired to create a crisis out of immigration. The first is the post-2015 mass influx of refugees, arriving mostly in Germany, Sweden and Austria (in that order). The second is intra-European migration, chiefly East Europeans moving west. And the third is a global rise of populism, in which unscrupulous politicians seek easy answers to complex problems. Demonizing immigrants is one easy answer.

The lecture will provide a brief overview of immigration streams, examine the economics of immigration, and discuss how Europe can exit its current immigration crises. 



chan hoong

"Navigating Hybrid Identities in a Globalized World: A Non-European Prospective"

When: 26th of May 2017 | Hour: 9.00am

Keynote speaker: Dr. Chan-Hoong Leong

Head of Social Lab and Senior Research Fellow
Institute of Policy Studies
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Abstract: The massive transnational migration of labour, refugees, and sojourners in recent decades has birthed a broad range of social contestations, political deadlocks, and economic anxiety among host societies. This tension is experienced by both dominant and non-dominant group members, and even within communities that are traditionally multicultural and immigrant friendly. The cultural fault line is not only politically divisive, but has in recent years fuelled an intense debate and soul searching on what should be the demographic texture of the recipient or native culture (e.g., should the country be mono- or multicultural? What is the preferred intercultural orientation in pluralist societies?), and how should non-dominant groups behave to be accepted as participating members in the host society (e.g., what to wear, what language to use).  This evolving socio-political landscape has given rise to the discourse on hybrid identity; how marginalised groups traverse between two or more ostensibly competing cultural identities. This presentation offers a comparative reflection from a non-European perspective – namely Singapore and her regional neighbours – on the manifestation and management of cultural hybridity and the reaction and response among the players. This is followed by a scholarly review on a recent initiative based on the social markers of acculturation – a benchmarking exercise on indicators of effective naturalisation – and the implications to policy formulation. Data from a recent cross-national study using the markers of acculturation from Finland, Canada, Japan and Singapore will be presented and discussed.




"What culture got to do with it: Setting an agenda for studying culture in the modern workplace."

When: 26th of May 2017 | Hour: 9.00am

Keynote speaker: Dr. Jo Angouri

Associate Professor, University of Warwick

Abstract: Intercultural communication (ICC) particularly in relation to the inter-national and more recently globalised economy has attracted significant interest over the years and the notorious difficulty associated with defining the core terms, notably culture and the intercultural, is well known and widely cited. Since the 80s the number of studies has grown exponentially and ICC skills and competences are commonly associated with a global mindset and the skills individual needs to have or acquire in order to interact successfully and work efficiently in multinational contexts. ICC is also commonly associated with, at least hopes for, team harmony and respect as well as tolerance and empathy. What these ideals mean, for whom and whether they can be achieved, however, is far from straightforward.

Accordingly, in this paper I discuss some of the dominant approaches to intercultural communication research and reflect on their strengths and limitations. My aim is not to engage in the well-known debate between Positivism and Constructionism and I will not argue for a ‘one size fits all’ theory. To the contrary, I aim to problematise some core assumptions that have been widely adopted in this field of research and I argue for a holistic and context sensitive approach drawing on a range of current and past projects in professional communication.

I also pay special attention at the gap between ICC theory and practice. Current conceptual work in ICC training by and large pivots on the concept of ‘difference’ and the need for understanding the cultural ‘other’. I start from a different premise here and discuss how reflexivity and understanding of the context and situated ‘self’ can equip individuals with skills and attributes that are relevant to the modern workplace. I close the paper with a framework for studying culture at work and I argue for a multidisciplinary agenda bringing together academic research and professional practice.



Academic keynote:


Michael Morley

"Can We Speak of Evidence-Based Cross-Cultural Management?"

When: 27th of May 2017 | Hour: 9.00am

Keynote speaker: Prof. Michael Morley

Kemmy Business School
University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland 
Past President, International Federation of the Scholarly Associations of Management

Abstract: This presentation will highlight some of the challenges that arise in institutionalising the evidence-based model. In particular, it will explore three distinct, but overlapping debates that have significance for the contemporary evidence-based management movement and its growth. Arising from the call for ‘engaged scholarship’, it will revisit some of the main trajectories underscoring the emergence of the academic practice divide inherent in business scholarship. In so doing, it will call attention to the consequences of this divide for the nature and state of the contemporary business school on the landscape of higher education, along with preferred approaches to education, professional development and industry engagement which distinguish business education from other disciplines. In a second thread, it will review the root trajectory of the evidence-based management movement as a counterforce against drift and an effort at enhanced systematics.  Beginning with a summary account of its genesis, it will then turn to its import for management scholarship and practice, calling attention to aspects of the manner in which we build cumulative knowledge in our field. In particular, it will scrutinise the extent to which we truly engage with that which has previously been established as part of the effort at building new knowledge. Finally, it will draw upon the example of cross-cultural research in order to illustrate some of the inherent contestations that arise when trying to build evidence based knowledge in the social sciences.






The full programme of the congress can be found here.

Gold sponsors of the congress

 WorldWork Logo Orange on White RGB  Human Factors logotype 1  DI logo  CN Logo CMYK


Silver sponsors of the congress

George Simons International and diversophy® CultureCatch and Richard Lewis Communications
CultureWaves DNLA


Bronze sponsors of the congress

BGRS Akteos



Intercultures Università della Svizzera Italiana Birkbeck University of London