Project „Promoting Intercultural Dialogue” (2007 – 2008), funded by EU Phare and SFL.
The over all aim of the project “Promotion of the intercultural dialogue” was to promote the understanding about the integration of the society by introducing and popularizing intercultural education, which is directed towards respect of the diversity of cultures in our country and their living together and mutual understanding, the promotion of tolerance by facilitating the strengthening of schools as the regional agents of society integration. The objectives were: to work out the further education course program on intercultural education; to develop the course trainers’ manual; to prepare the multiplicators of the further education course program; to ensure the support structures in five regions for implementing the reciprocal integration and intercultural program in the local community and at school; to train the multiplicators in intercultural education; to work out the course and learning materials; to approbate the further education program in the regional centres; to promote the mutually beneficial dialogue and cooperation in five regions (Latgale, Zemgale, Vidzeme, Kurzeme and Rīga) among the minority and Latvian language instruction schools, the pupils and their parents, the developing of the school partnership network; to promote the societal discussion and understanding in the field of integration and with the help of providing information to lessen the prejudices and stereotypes in the field of mutual relations by informing the state and regional mass media, by publishing the information on the project topicalities in the home page of Education Development Centre and by publishing the participants’ experience materials.
The aims set during the project were achieved. The further education program on intercultural education “The promotion of intercultural dialogue” has been worked out and approbated in five regions of Latvia (Latgale, Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme and Riga) and the program includes five thematic units:
- What is intercultural interaction, communication (The main concepts- culture, diversity; what is understood by intercultural education in the world)?
- Social groups (the theoretical background and practical understanding; themes – me as a minority and majority; the understanding of the value concept; social inequality and social mobility; the conflicts between the generations, educational levels, social classes, town-countryside: why and how to react; the change in the concept of the generations; gender equality).
- Diversity (simulations of life situations; diversity: religious conviction, sexual orientation, special needs, marginalized groups; tolerance in different situations).
- I myself (My experience and key values in life; augmenting one’s actions; how does the positive thinking influence the interaction and society; the mutual acceptance and recognition, what does it mean to be a member of the society?).
- Culture (The culture of notions, globalization, theoretical explanation and practical understanding concerning the interaction of cultures; culture in the age of globalization; stereotypes and reality. Multicultural society in Latvia).
The program is approved in the Ministry of Education and Science and is accessible now to all those who are interested in acquiring knowledge and skills of intercultural communication. It is possible to master the program as whole or only parts of it taking into consideration the needs and wishes of the organizations and those interested in it. The project participants mastered the full program and participated in the project together with the team of their school in different regions of Latvia.
During the project 20 multiplicators in five regions of Latvia were trained- Latgale, Zemgale, Vidzeme, Kurzeme and Riga who are able to run this program professionally and enthusiastically adjusting it to the specific needs of the regions or the particular organizations. The materials have been developed for the Trainers’ manual, which is intended for preparing qualitative sessions according to the thematic units and the needs of the target audience, which include materials for running the courses with the possibilities to adjust these materials to the specific features of the particular region and the target group. The further education program has been approbated and 150 participants and 30 school teams all over Latvia have mastered it. These people continue to popularize the ideas of intercultural communication in their schools and regions thus schools become the agents for the intercultural ideas in the regions. The inter-school cooperation has improved; the mutual communication among Latvian and minority pupils, their parents and pedagogues has been promoted. The information about the run of the project and its results has been regularly provided in the home page of Education Development centre, the regional press and the newspaper “Izglītība un kultūra” / Education and culture/.