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Intercultural horizons 2017: Innovative Approaches to Education for Democratic Culture and Inclusive Societies

Inspired by the recent work of the Council of Europe Competencies for Democratic Culture (2016) and the nascent European community of practitioners and researchers of service-learning and community engagement (IARSLCE Europe), this edition of Intercultural Horizons will be dedicated to innovative approaches to education for democratic culture and inclusive societies. The objective is to bring together two streams of thought: on one hand the ideological framework of the Council of Europe and its call(s) to action and on the other hand the pedagogical strategies (and their implementation) of practitioners and researchers of service-learning, community engagement, and intercultural education that may already be operational in responding on a institutional level, both governmental and non. We believe that a strong response to the requested competencies for democratic culture, as highlighted by the CoE (2016, p. 35), may very well come from the fermenting service-learning and community engagement initiatives present in Europe. Our goal is to deliberately bring together these parallel fields to spark dialogue and foster mutual understanding between the main stakeholders in this initiative. That being said, the dialogue at this event should center around the following matters (both in scholarly research and/or practical application - we welcome both): education, active citizenship, language acquisition and plurilingualism initiatives, service-learning and community engagement, intercultural and interfaith dialogue, anti-terrorism measures, conflict-resolution and peaceful co-existence.

The 2017 conference will be in many ways the continuation of a series inaugurated by Siena Italian Studies in May 2011, with each conference exploring in various ways themes of service-learning, community engagement and intercultural education.  The following subthemes are examples of discussions we invite you to consider (particularly in light of recent developments regarding migration and the resurgence of nationalism and xenophobia), but they are by no means exhaustive. Creative and original proposals that highlight any aspect of the overall conference theme and subthemes, be they historic, sociological, linguistic, metaphoric and more, will be viewed favorably.

  • The role of formal and informal education and training in facing the challenges of intercultural understanding and engagement;
  • Educational strategies for encountering and challenging the resurgence of nationalistic, xenophobic and related developments in the European context;
  • Languages: language acquisition strategies for migrant peoples, the impact of integration on the acquisition of linguistic competence in the language(s) of the host country;
  • Opportunities for mobility, professional and cultural encounters at a time of increasing insularity and ethnocentrism;
  • Developing a global and sustainable leadership to strategically address and support multicultural identities and multilingualism;
  • Service-learning and other experiential education strategies to promote civic engagement and intercultural understanding;
  • Other proposals that honor the overall themes of the conference but may offer a new or alternative perspective.


As a presenter, you have the opportunity to enjoy multiple benefits by participating in this great event.

  • Publish your paper.  Accepted papers for presentation have the opportunity to be published in 2018.
  • Great publicity.  You will be featured in the conference program as well as on the website.
  • Professional development and resource acquisition.  Expand your knowledge and gain insight from best practices presented by fellow professionals in the field.
  • Networking. Join the growing Intercultural Horizons network of academics, professionals and individuals passionate about intercultural education and democratic culture.


Proposals will be accepted through February 1st, 2017.  Notification of acceptance will be sent by February 20th, 2017. Presenters will be asked to confirm their participation and register by April 1st, 2017. 

Proposal submissions will be accepted electronically via the following form or email to Proposals via email should include the following information:

  1. Title of session proposed
  2. Names (first and last) of presenters and institutional affiliation (if any)
  3. Abstract (250 words not including bibliography)
  4. Brief bio of each presenter (100 words each)
  5. Keywords regarding topic of proposal

Preference will be given to sessions that include:

  • Multiple institutions/organizations and diverse perspectives
  • Regional diversity
  • Panel discussions
  • Facilitated roundtables

All sessions must include adequate time for discussion. Presentation times and formats may vary according to the number of accepted proposals and will be communicated upon acceptance of your proposal.

The official conference language is English. Proposals, sessions and papers must be completed in academic English.

Online Proposal Submission

To submit a proposal please complete the form below. Additional attachments with references or tables, charts, etc. may be sent separately to in a PDF file.

Name *
100 words max. each presenter
250 words max. not including bibliography (additional documentation can be emailed to above address)