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Dickinson College, IIE Announce Innovative New Partnership 

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A workshop in inclusivity and intercultural competency will take place Dec. 17-18, 2020

Dickinson College and the Institute of International Education (IIE) today announced an innovative, new partnership to provide much-needed training opportunities that go beyond cultural awareness education and instead reimagine an international education framework that incorporates global, intercultural and equity inclusion lenses. Dickinson and IIE will kick off this new partnership with "Moving from Inclusivity Talk to Equity in Action in International Education Leadership," a workshop in inclusivity and intercultural competency geared toward higher education professionals, faculty members and international educators across sectors, including NGOs, foundations and federal government agencies from around the world, whose work requires advanced knowledge and skills in support of equitable, global community building. The workshop will take place Dec. 17-18. Register here.

"This partnership represents a merging of strengths between two powerhouse organizations with shared missions related to global education, engagement and knowledge exchange. Together, we are poised to build something great and far-reaching," said President Margee M. Ensign, for whom building intercultural competency skills at the undergraduate level has been a chief priority since joining Dickinson in 2017.

"To accomplish the goal of building inclusive and equitable global communities, we need to find a way to fuse diversity, equity and inclusion skills, best practices and pedagogy with intercultural competency and global learning. This means opening a space for a different way of thinking about our work, our international partnerships and the role that we play in bringing marginalized voices into the discussion," said Ensign. 

According to Samantha Brandauer, associate provost and executive director of Dickinson’s Center for Global Study & Engagement, U.S. higher education and international education have been critiqued for "talking the talk but not walking the walk" when it comes to inclusivity and equity work. "By not addressing larger and more global systemic issues of inequity with local resonance, such as social justice, racism and climate change, institutions reinforce and exacerbate the world’s existing inequities and disparities," said Brandauer.

Dickinson and IIE believe one of the ways to begin to address these challenges is to find the intersection between intercultural and global learning and diversity, equity and inclusion—work that has been traditionally siloed. At Dickinson, this intersection is highlighted by the close collaboration between Brandauer and Amer Ahmed, interim executive director of equity & inclusivity and visiting lecturer in intercultural studies, who co-chair the President's Commission on Inclusivity, which will become a new All-College Committee of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Experts including Brandauer and Ahmed believe the lack of collaboration between two important fields of inquiry has allowed ethnocentrism to go uncritiqued in diversity, equity and inclusion work and discussions of power and privilege to go unchecked in intercultural circles. The partnership between Dickinson and IIE aims to bridge the gap by bringing practitioners, scholars and learners from across disciplines, backgrounds and cultures together to create new knowledge, best practices and collaborative approaches that grapple with the complexity of building trust and equity across cultures.

"This is a unique and important moment to be delving into the intersection of intercultural competency and diversity, equity and inclusion, both of which are core to IIE’s values. Dickinson is just the right partner to be working with, and we have an opportunity to make a real difference, starting with this workshop," stated IIE’s President and CEO, Allan Goodman.

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Published December 4, 2020