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Young people and intercultural dialogue

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Title: Young people and intercultural dialogue


1
Young people and intercultural dialogue
  • EYCAdemy Research 2007/2008

2
The project EYCAdemy
  • EYCAdemy is a comparative qualitative European
    youth research project. The method used for the
    research are focus group discussions.
  • Focus group research is a qualitative method that
    helps to discover thoughts that are not obvious.
    In focus groups you get answers to questions you
    did not ask The open-ended interaction in focus
    groups leads to stimulation of thoughts and
    emotions, to the revelation of material which is
    not ordinarily forthcoming in an individual
    interview. Focus groups furthermore allow
    examination of how people in various roles
    interact, and the observation of important
    behaviour.
  • For focus group research the definition of the
    sample is of outmost importance, since
    qualitative research does not aim for
    representative results. Nevertheless the sample
    is drawn according the needs of the research to
    cover various groups and to create homogeneous
    group settings for each single discussion round
    at the same time.
  • For the EYCAdemy project young social researchers
    from different countries are specially trained in
    two sessions to organise, moderate and analyse
    focus groups.
  • In the first training session the trainees are
    intensively trained in the moderation of focus
    groups, in defining the research sample and
    guidelines. In their home countries the
    participants conduct research on a chosen topic.
    The second session aims to create an
    international report, comparing the national
    reports and defining patterns and differences.
  • The final report was completed by Manfred
    Zentner, who lead the research project.
  • The topic of the EYCAdemy project 2007/08 was
    Young people and intercultural dialogue.

3
RESEARCH DESIGN
  • 460 young people participated in 62 focus groups
    all over Europe.
  • The research was carried out in
  • Andorra (And)
  • Czech Republic (CZ)
  • England (Eng)
  • Estonia (Est)
  • Netherlands (Ned)
  • Poland (PL)
  • Romania (Rom)
  • Russia (Rus)
  • Serbia (Ser)
  • Turkey (Tur) and
  • Wales.

4
RESEARCH DESIGN
  • The sample for the research is defined through
  • a) education (high allows direct university
    entry and normally most of the students go to
    university low vocational schools, work,
    school dropouts),
  • b) age (15 to 26 with the break at the age of
    possible end of high school and entry to
    university),
  • c) experience with projects for intercultural
    dialogue (like the EU-programmes Youth, Youth In
    Action, Sokrates, Leonardo, Erasmus or other
    exchange projects as well as projects directly
    targeting intercultural dialogue) and
  • d) origin (rural or city, whereas city is
    defined as a town where all facilities important
    for young people are located all kinds of
    schools, university or other high education,
    leisure time facilities).
  • To provide a good talk situation the groups are
    divided as follows
  • 15 to the age of university entry / low education
    / city / no experience
  • 15 university / high education / city / no
    experience
  • University 26 / students high / city / no
    experience
  • University 26 / work low / city / no
    experience
  • University 26 / education mix / origin variable
    / experience
  • 15 uni or uni 26 / education mix / rural /
    experience variable

5
RESULTS
  • For the report, the results of the research topic
    are summed up in the following chapters Personal
    contact to other cultures, Differences in
    culture, Benefit of contact with other cultures,
    Understanding of the term intercultural
    dialogue, Projects for intercultural dialogue,
    Conclusions.
  • The results are illustrated by verbatim quotes
    from the different focus groups held in the
    participating countries.
  • Guidelines about conducting focus groups on this
    specific topic for the moderators are attached to
    this presentation.
  • For country details please refer to the country
    reports.

6
Personal contact with other cultures
  • In all countries the focus group participants
    had already contact with people from another
    culture, even if it was not immediately obvious
    to them. Many participants disagreed that they
    met people from other cultures when the topic was
    discussed the first time but after some thinking
    about the theme they agreed.
  • Young people mostly thought that they meet
    people from other cultures while being abroad
    as tourists or in exchange programmes. But in
    most of the countries also residents of the given
    country were mentioned. This tendency was the
    weakest in Poland and Turkey and the strongest in
    the Netherlands.
  • It was mentioned that in their own country young
    people have the chance to get in contact with
    other cultures when they meet migrants or
    representatives of minorities. These meetings can
    happen in everyday life (schools, universities,
    work, neighbourhood) or on a less regular basis
    when going to other parts of their city or
    country.
  • These encounters were not perceived as positive
    in all countries. Especially the perception of
    young people from minorities (Hungarians in
    Serbia and Romania, Roma in Romania and the Czech
    Republic, Russians in Estonia, Caucasian in
    Russia) was characterised by prejudices.
  • It was interesting to notice that in
    multicultural settings induced by historically
    caused migration (England-Newcastle,
    Netherlands-Utrecht) the perception of different
    cultures in everyday life was not as obvious as
    expected. It seems that daily contact with people
    from a different cultural background leads to
    more acceptance.
  • In general, the focus group participants shared
    the opinion that it is valuable to get in contact
    with people from other cultures because getting
    to know other cultures helps to reduce prejudices.

7
Personal contact to other cultures quotations
  • In bigger places you get a bigger variety of
    people but not around here being up north and
    rural. (Est)
  • I really have very little contact with other
    cultures, and I regret that because I live in an
    area that has many foreigners. In my school
    however, well I think there are two kids in my
    class that are from a foreign background. (Ned)
  • I have a friend from Latvia, I also
    communicated with guys from other European
    countries people are so calm, nothing like here
    in Russia. We always worry about different stuff,
    fuss about difficulties and tend to turn even
    small obstacles into great trouble. People there
    have a well-regulated life, they are pretty and
    happy to be who they are. (Rus)
  • Since I have started to study, every year,
    every summer-break I work in London. And I always
    share flat with people from other countries
    China, Pakistan, Czech Republic. It is more fun
    to live with them than to live with other Polish
    people. (PL)
  • In Dublin, I was living with Chinese, working
    with people from India, partying with Irish and
    at the university there was a mix of almost all
    cultures and that was great! (PL)
  • In Estonia there are people from many different
    nationalities, but I havent been in too much
    contact with them. (Est)
  • Yes, I mean if you look around. She looks
    around the circle She comes from Palestine. She
    comes from Cape Verde. She in turn comes from
    Ghana, therefore... (Ned)
  • You dont have to go abroad to compare
    different cultures (Eng)

8
Differences in culture
  • The main differences mentioned by young people
    were language, values, religion, food, customs
    and a general way of life as well as the attitude
    towards life. Also the sense of humour was
    mentioned.
  • One can find noticeable similarities in the
    perception of differences. Whereas the young
    people in the English groups could not find many
    differences because in the end all people are
    more or less similar young people in Russia and
    Estonia pointed to big differences in the
    attitude of life between them and western resp.
    south-western Europeans They are more polite,
    more relaxed and more open.
  • It was a general outcome that people from other
    countries have a different way of life, but this
    was normally not stated for the neighbouring
    countries except in Serbia and if minorities of
    these neighbouring countries were residents in
    the own country.
  • Religion was seen as big reason for differences
    but not the belief itself but the way people
    practice their religion.
  • Some Turkish young people as well as some
    Romanians mentioned that they felt prejudice
    against them when being abroad.
  • The focus group participants saw reasons for
    existing differences in the upbringing of
    children, the heredity and the resulting local
    customs.

9
Differences in culture quotations
  • In Switzerland they give four kisses when
    greeting, I thought it was funny. (And)
  • If you find a topic for discussion it doesnt
    matter from which nationality the person is.
    (Est)
  • Very small things that you are not aware of at
    the beginning, such as giving your left hand to a
    Muslim or to someone from Iran. These sort of
    things, if you dont know the meaning of these
    then you have no idea that they could be
    insulting to someone else. (Ned)
  • The Arabs, they are ready to kill themselves
    for a cause and become extremely violent if you
    say anything wrong about their religion. (Rom)
  • I think the main difference is in being
    free-hearted. For example in the south people I
    met are more free, friendlier and crazier, in
    the north they are closed. (CZ)
  • Italians are very religious. They pray all the
    time. (Ser)
  • At first the person from another culture seems
    to be an ordinary person, but at some point you
    see what strange things he/she is doing, but when
    you are with him/her longer together, the person
    turns back to ordinary again. I guess it is just
    a process of getting used to. (Est)
  • The people abroad are more free. Their customs
    and habits are different and they are usually
    polite and friendly. We do not approach people on
    the street. We dont understand this. But this
    comes from home and culture. (Est)
  • Estonians struggle with everything too much and
    live for the future. We should learn from the
    Spanish to live now and not for feeling good in
    30-40 years. (Est)

10
Benefit of contact with other cultures
  • In all the groups participants mentioned
    benefits of intercultural contact. The benefits
    can be more or less divided into two areas
    personal development and increasing tolerance.
  • Personal development is achieved on one hand
    because of an improvement of language skills if
    you meet people from other countries. If young
    people stay for a longer period in a foreign
    country this is also a positive aspect for future
    job perspectives. Beside that also soft skills
    improve because of an increasing knowledge. Via
    personal experience one learns that cultures are
    not always as presented in the media.
  • This leads to the big benefit for society as a
    whole increasing tolerance and decreasing racism
    and prejudices lead toward a reduction of
    tensions and the diminution of the chance for a
    conflict.
  • No big differences in the perception of the
    benefits were to be found in between the
    different groups inside the countries Higher
    educated people stressed a little bit more the
    fact of achieving language skills. The benefits
    for society were seen alike only expressed in
    different ways Whereas the young people from the
    higher educated groups used terms as tolerance
    the others described the same phenomenon by using
    expressions like understanding that all young
    people are similar.
  • For young people with a different cultural
    background than the majority in a country the
    contact with people from the mainstream culture
    also provides the opportunity to correct wrong
    perceptions and to fight prejudice.

11
Benefit of contact with other cultures 2
  • Beside these benefits also a higher appreciation
    of their own country, their own living conditions
    and their own culture was mentioned in all
    countries.
  • In general it was pointed out that personal
    benefits sum up to a benefit for the whole
    society. But it is interesting to note that in
    the Serbian groups it was mentioned that the
    contact to other cultures benefits on personal
    level and on the level of society but the
    interests of the politicians are sometimes
    independent of this development.
  • But not only positive aspects were pointed out
    in some groups it was mentioned that it might
    lead to conflicts if too many people from other
    cultures are migrating to a given country and do
    not / try not to accept the customs and values of
    the new home.
  • In connection to this the fear of losing their
    own culture was also mentioned in some groups.
    Especially the fear of getting americanised was
    mentioned in some countries.
  • On the other hand an important impact on society
    is seen in the possibility of economical
    development of the country if foreign companies
    invest. This might furthermore lead to more
    political stability.

12
Benefit quotations
  • Being aware of equality between people unifies
    human beings. (And)
  • I can challenge racism with an informed view
    (Eng)
  • It broadens your mind about the world you go
    somewhere and come back and are happier. (Est)
  • By being able to understand and experience each
    others lifestyles and respect each others
    values, communities can become closer and have
    more to share. (Wales)
  • What you see nowadays on the news is Moroccan
    this, Turk that, Surinamese this, Antillean that.
    You dont hear the positive things, only negative
    ones. (Ned)
  • It is when you have met other people and
    countries that you realize how small you actually
    are. (Ser)
  • By staying abroad we can develop language
    skills, for example accent and slang. (PL)
  • Meeting people from different cultures changes
    personal points of view. It is possible to
    decrease, even to overcome prejudices. For
    example, Ive been once in Mardin, it was a
    village where Kurdish people live mainly. I
    really experienced that we shouldnt think
    negatively about them, we are not different and I
    noticed we are a part of a combined culture.
    (Tur)
  • Differences between cultures make every culture
    richer. But, they shouldnt merge, so they
    shouldnt lose their particularities. (Tur)
  • …appreciate what we have… (And)

13
Benefit quotations 2
  • ACCEPTANCE in capital letters, to avoid things
    like World War II, thanks to acceptance. (And)
  • If we become more opened, then the society will
    also be more open. It is like a snowball effect.
    (Est)
  • We were excluded from the rest of the world,
    and that was destructive. (Ser)
  • We can reap benefits at an economic level
    its an opportunity to promote Polish culture.
    (PL)
  • In the situation as it is now between the
    Romanians and the Italians if an exchange was
    made, or if they the Italians knew other
    Romanians, they would see they are not all like
    that. (Rom)
  • You go in person, but when you return, you tell
    others what youve seen, and automatically
    everybody around you starts to change. (Rom)
  • People are growing more individualistic and
    more envious they do not feel so much a part of
    a specific community anymore. (Rom)
  • Definitely, society can learn something new
    from other cultures. (Cz)
  • Some traditions in this country have been lost
    along the way. (Eng)

14
Understanding of the term intercultural dialogue
  • Even though all the people participating in the
    research had experience in contact with other
    cultures and even though the vast majority of the
    participants saw these encounters positive for
    themselves and for society, the term
    intercultural dialogue was by the lower educated
    groups mostly not understood correctly.
  • The meaning of this expression was not clear to
    all.
  • Explanations of the term ranged from a correct
    description to a discussion between
    representatives of different cultures and to a
    communication training.
  • It was sometimes seen as a typical
    bureaucratic or scientific expression which is
    politically correct but has no or little content.
    Especially in Andorra the connection to
    politicians was pointed out and that gave a bad
    impression of intercultural dialogue.
  • Also some stated that because of the connection
    to the official terminology some groups of people
    in society would be excluded from special
    projects of intercultural dialogue just because
    they are not interested whenever they think it is
    official or political.
  • When the meaning of the term was explained in
    the groups by the moderators almost everybody
    agreed that intercultural dialogue is important,
    They emphasized the possibility to meet with
    people from other cultures and to reduce the
    chance for conflicts.
  • The aims of intercultural dialogue are seen in
    knowledge and understanding which lead to
    tolerance and acceptance and eventually to the
    reduction of racism.

15
Intercultural dialogue quotations
  • Very politically correct, but give this term a
    normal name so that people can understand it.
    (Ned)
  • Negotiation in order to work a solution on
    global problems. (Rus)
  • For me, intercultural dialogue is bringing
    together the richness of the different cultures
    and learning from each other... (Tur)
  • Intercultural dialogue is equal communication.
    On an individual level it takes place also now in
    the focus group, when we all evaluate each others
    culture. Me as a cultural phenomenon (Est)
  • For me, dialogue is overcoming the barriers,
    finding similarities and elimination of faults.
    (PL)
  • Its related to migration, how to integrate
    newcomers, to what level we should assimilate
    them. (PL)
  • I can also imagine that in such an
    inter-cultural dialogue where there are so many
    people from different cultures, there are people
    who dont even understand the concept. I think
    that this might exclude a lot of people. (Ned)
  • For instance, an artist from France is
    encouraged to work with some Russian gallery,
    theatre, museum… so on. And this artist putting
    his entire soul into his creation. This is
    Intercultural dialogue. (Rus)
  • Neither government, nor social authorities are
    able to work out a solution on this difficult
    situation, people themselves are in charge of
    their future, first of all they have to realize
    it personally. We need to pay much more attention
    to the upbringing of younger generations and to
    fostering democratic values and tolerance towards
    other nations. (Rus)

16
Intercultural dialogue quotations 2
  • Its important to learn about the philosophy of
    other cultures, not only their traditions,
    gastronomy, etc. in order to understand their way
    of thinking. (And)
  • Intercultural dialogue is not important. I am
    afraid that soon we will be all one big European
    mass. (Est)
  • I think its a good concept and I agree with
    it. But the name does little for me as it makes
    it sound boring and too intellectual for many
    young people to even bother taking it on board.
    (Wales)
  • Just take a look at our Parliament and youll
    see whether our people are ready for any kind of
    dialogue. (Ser)
  • If there were cooperation with Albanians
    before, maybe we wouldnt have this situation
    today. (Ser)
  • Intercultural dialogue is essential and
    unavoidable, its a natural process, a
    consequence of cultural development. (PL)
  • Many conflicts with Arabs are the results of
    lack of understanding of their religion. We
    should start the discussion with Muslims, before
    some radical group will do it. (PL)
  • I think our differences are our richness. A
    world with the same type of people, behaviours
    and cultures would be very boring!.. (Tur)
  • I see the aim also in the fact that
    intercultural dialogue might help foreigners
    coming to the Czech Republic to adapt here
    easily. (Cz)
  • People should want this themselves. If you do
    not want it, even if it is implemented by law, it
    wont do any good. (Ned)

17
Projects for intercultural dialogue
  • The vast majority of the focus group
    participants were interested to be part of
    projects for an intercultural dialogue, since
    they provide young people with personal
    experiences and learning possibilities.
  • The expectations of an appropriate design of
    such projects varied not only between the
    countries but also between the groups. No common
    patterns were to be found in the answers. For
    some, intercultural exchange projects were only
    connected to student exchange programmes, for
    others it meant meetings with people from other
    countries and for some it also included contacts
    with minorities in their own countries (but some
    objected to that, since the differences wont be
    that big).
  • It was a common opinion that politics (and
    politicians) should not be part of the projects.
  • The main obstacles for taking part in a project
    for intercultural dialogue were lack of
    information, lack of time (besides school, work,
    family and friends) and lack of money (for longer
    exchange projects). Also the barrier of language
    capability was mentioned. Furthermore it has been
    pointed out that not many organisations and
    institutions exist that organise such projects,
    so the number of opportunities is limited.
  • But above all, insufficient information is seen
    as the biggest obstacle for a personal
    participation.
  • It is furthermore noticeable that in the
    Netherlands projects for intercultural dialogue
    were understood as projects inside the country.

18
Projects quotations
  • Its necessary for us that the projects
    schedules are compatible with our working life.
    (And)
  • It would be good if we could speak the
    language. (Eng)
  • I would like to go to an exchange student
    programme, but I heard stories, that the family
    where I am going to live, can be strange. I am a
    little afraid. (Est)
  • An obstacle is also feeling guilty because of
    my parents. In case I go somewhere and start to
    like it there and I am not coming back who
    would take care of the parents who are living
    here? (Est)
  • Personally I dont think these schemes are
    advertised very well and it was only by chance
    that I was given an opportunity to take part in
    this focus group. (Wales)
  • Simpler design, simpler name. So that you can
    open a low-threshold shop somewhere and organise
    activities there. By means of advertising or
    posters. (Ned)
  • I really think that the less government
    intervention, the better! Thats because I go
    pretty crazy from all these terrorism actions.
    All this government intervention should be as
    little as possible. I think these things should
    come mainly from municipalities and neighbourhood
    frameworks. (Ned)
  • It would be interesting mingling with people
    who have different customs, who live far away.
    (Ser)
  • Intercultural dialogue is not just formal
    projects and meetings. It happens everyday when
    we meet someone different, it happens when young
    people are travelling and working abroad. (PL)
  • I really would like to participate in that kind
    of project. It is very important for me to learn
    how the other people live on earth!... (Tur)
  • Haha, and who is going to take care of my
    child? Earn money? (Cz)

19
CONCLUSIONS
  • Meeting with people with a different cultural
    background is seen as an important means to
    increase tolerance and understanding and to
    reduce prejudices.
  • Young people do have contact with other cultures
    if not personally then via media.
  • The benefit of meeting people from other cultures
    is the increase of knowledge especially
    language, which leads to better chances in the
    labour market.
  • The benefit for society is the reduction of
    prejudices and the diminution of the chance for
    conflicts and wars.
  • The term intercultural dialogue is too
    bureaucratic for young people, especially for
    juveniles with lower education. Furthermore the
    term sounds very political which makes it less
    interesting for the young.
  • The interest in participating in intercultural
    projects is widely spread if it also brings
    personal benefit (e.g. language). But the
    information about opportunities for such
    participation is not sufficient.

20
GUIDELINES
  • EYCAdemy European Research Training 2007/2008

21
OPENING
  • Start Hello, my name is… And this is my
    assistant...Thank you for coming to this group
    today. We do have a camera here and will record
    the discussion, but this is only for us (because
    my assistant might not be able to put everything
    down but we have to make a report, so the taping
    helps us, but it is not broadcasted, and nobody
    else sees it, ...) if it is the law, that you
    have to ask for an individual permission of every
    participant do so
  • We will just talk a little bit about things you
    do, so this is no test, you can not say something
    wrong. You can say everything that comes into
    your mind about the topics, nobody will see it
    and in the report their will be no names.
  • But for the beginning, so that my assistant can
    get used to your voices, and can take good notes,
    please just tell us one by one your name and your
    age.
  • 0. Now we can really start. I am interested in
    your travelling and in your holiday activities.
    So what is your favourite spot for holidays? Give
    me some reasons for that. Can you please describe
    that place, so everybody might get an impression
    about it.

22
INTRODUCTION
  • I am interested if you ever had personal contact
    to people from another culture. To whom?
  • Please do also think about migrants, refugees,
    minorities, or other religions.
  • What makes them different?
  • And where did you get in contact with people from
    other countries? Could you please describe the
    situation when this happened.
  • And when?
  • Was this during your holidays? At school? In your
    home town? In a pub? During leisure time? Think
    of all situations when you met such people and
    describe them.
  • Were there differences in the contact?
  • Did it have different effects? I mean, did you
    experience the difference between you and the
    people from the other culture in a different way?
  • What was the most effective form of contact
    with regards to experiencing the difference?
  • Was this positive or negative?

23
KEY QUESTIONS
  • What do you think was it important for you to get
    in contact with another culture? here is the
    step from getting in contact with people from
    another culture to contact to another culture
    implying a more abstract way of analysis of
    cultural differences.
  • Why was it (not) important for you?
  • What is your benefit if you get contact to
    another culture, if there is one?
  • Is there a benefit for society if contacts to
    other cultures are happening?
  • What is the benefit?
  • Do you also see problems if different cultures
    get in contact?
  • Please describe the problems that you see.
  • Now many politicians talk about intercultural
    dialogue. If you have hear dthis term, how do
    you understand it?
  • Can you describe it please?
  • Is it important that intercultural dialogue
    occurs? (If the term is not known intercultural
    dialogue is understood as exchange between people
    from different cultures especially with
    minorities or migrants.) Why (not)?

24
KEY QUESTIONS / CLOSING QUESTIONS
  • What do you think is the aim of intercultural
    dialogue?
  • Knowledge? Tolerance? Acceptance? Understanding?
  • What is your personal opinion on intercultural
    dialogue?
  • Do you think it is a good idea?
  • Would you be interested to join projects for
    intercultural dialogue?
  • What should they look like?
  • Who would be in charge of these projects?
  • What would you need to join such projects? Do you
    need more information on them?
  • Do you need money? Time?
  • What are obstacles for you to join these projects?

25
Young people and intercultural dialogue
  • EYCAdemy Research 2007/2008
  • Supported by the Partial Agreement within the
    framework of the Council of Europe.
  • Project administered and report commissioned by
    EYCA - European Youth Card Association
  • pitálska 27, 811 08 Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Tel 00421 2 529 21 655
  • Fax 00421 2 529 20 005
  • mail_at_eyca.org
  • www.eyca.org / www.euro26.org
  • Report finalised by
  • Manfred Zentner (jugendkultur.at)
  • Manfred is an Austrian youth researcher and
    trainer, who is also the national correspondent
    for Austria to the European Youth Research
    Network and national correspondent to the
    European Knowledge Center.
  • For further information mzentner_at_jugendkultur.at
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