ICL is not enough

The long-awaited discussion document on intercultural learning that has been developed by Dr Gavan Titley in follow-up to the Council of Europes Directorate of Youth and Sports Long Term Training Course “Intercultural Learning” — LTTC ICL. The document draws heavily on recent research carried out in the context of the research covenant between the Council of Europe and the European Commission and sets a useful precendent for further synergies between the research and training practise fields.

Taken in context with and close relation to the documents recently produced on quality standards in European level youth worker training, this document could serve as a basis for the improvement of the approach to and practise of intercultural learning. Stay tuned and read a review soon here at nonformality.org!

Copies have already been sent to the participants of the LTTC ICL 2003-2004 and the team of that course. It will be uploaded to the European Knowledge Centre and the Council of Europe is printing paper copies available for distribution. Please note that the document’s status is July 2005 although no date appears in the PDF version.

Wishing you interesting reading! Should you have comments, please do not hesitate to contact the author of this article, Yael, or the author of the publication, Gavan.

Gavan on Intercultural learning (pdf, 400 kb)

By Yael Ohana

Co-Founder of Frankly Speaking.


  1. This report is very timely and takes into account some of the burning issues regarding intercultural learning and the way it is used when working with young people. Some of these issues were discussed during a research seminar on “Resituating Culture

  2. Indeed, and see my comment on Lene Morgensen’s article on ICL in this edition. It also picks up on several key problems regarding ICL theory and practise in youth work outlined in Gavan Tiltey’s paper. It’s not only a matter of the construction of activities around static notions of culture. The problem is also one of a certain kind of unmediated altruism (viva tolerance! human rights! democracy!) that is being promoted by many youth programmes, advertently or inadvertently. Such terms, and the entire issue of the intercultural, are POLITICAL and must be treated as such. Hence, ICL is a form of learning for political literacy, in my opinion.

    That is one of the reason’s why I really hope that the session on Human Rights during the upcoming research seminar can address the depoliticisation of the “human” and the seriously problematic reign of “rights”. I dont mean to say Human Rights are not important, but it worries me that they are considered enough (in other words, it is the legal rights which count and not their respect and sanction). The rhetoric of so many governments, institutions and NGOs goes in this direction, unfortunately. Considering the continuing failure of anyone to deal with the ongoing food crisis in Africa or the negative consequences for civil liberties of the war on terror, how can we meaningfully speak about human rights? Admittedly, in practise, human rights education as proposed in the DYS HRE programme does go some way to addressing such problems and tensions. But, for as long as human rights education remains the preserve of the civic sector, it will remain maginalised to some extent. During the first “all different – all equal” campaign we used to say that even minorities need intercultural learning. Today, I believe more than ever that governments and institutions desperately need human rights education.

  3. I plan to use the Derdians in China in April. However I will work with 2 Chiense groups and make the engineers one Chinese group and the Derdians also as a Chinese group. We take this simulation game as a prelude to enter in conlfict management and central German & Chiense cultural standards as well as an exrecise for feed back. Even if stereotypes may enter we shall make the Chinese the experts and let them decide where they think that the Derdians may live.

    1. Hi Ulrich,
      I work on a cross cultural training and mainly focus on China and the West. I lived in China for 5 years and now I live in Germany.
      I saw your question above and I guess it is quite late to respond on that however, I am very curious to know how did it go, did you try that? what was the setting concept eventually and how was the group dynamic.
      Thanks, Danit

      1. Hi Danit, that’s the nice thing about the web — even 4,5 years later you can ask a question, not bad at all :) Let’s see whether Ulrich gets the notification and has time to respond. Andreas

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