The latest edition of the Intercultural Communication and Collaboration Forum (ICCF) which was recently held at Qatar Foundation (QF) has drawn a number of participants from across Education City.

The forum was held in partnership with different universities in Education City and with QF to develop intercultural collaboration in a ‘diverse and rich environment’. These partners included VCUarts Qatar, Weill Cornel Medicine – Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Georgetown University Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar.

Key Role for VCUarts Qatar

VCUarts Qatar played a key role in the event by collaborating with the other partners to bring world class experts to the three-day programme. The forum focused on deepening the understanding of intercultural communication, its challenges, and the development of intercultural competence and collaboration.

According to VCUarts Qatar Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Committee Chair Valerie Jeremijenko, PhD, they work in an incredibly diverse environment and there is so much potential to learn and grow from such an experience, but only if one takes the time to reflect and discuss experiences.

ICCF provides us with that opportunity and brings us all closer together as we share that experience.’

The forum offered one-, two- and three-day classes in topics such as emotional intelligence, cross cultural conflict, neuro-linguistic programming, and women in leadership.

A total of 10 classes and workshops was held between 23 to 25 April. The speakers included Dr Basma Ibrahim DeVries, an intercultural trainer and professor at Concordia University; Dr Anita Rowe, a partner in the Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Institute; and Dr Donna Stringer, a cross-cultural consultant.

In a place like Education City where multiple cultures and languages are at the helm, a rich and diverse environment is created, requiring collaborative initiatives to facilitate greater understandings of how faculty, staff and alumni can fully utilise the opportunities brought about by such programmes.

Laura Green, the Director of Personal Development and Counseling at VCUarts Qatar, and who participated in the forum said that living in Doha and working for QF guarantees a first-hand intercultural experience. However, she said that this does not mean that the diverse terrain can be negotiated positively.

The complexities of carrying out our work in such a landscape can lead to unintentional misunderstandings and missed opportunities, even when we have the best of intentions.’

At a time when diversity is not only encouraged but inevitable, the ICCF workshops are the much-needed antidote to the dilemmas that occur in the workplace and classroom. Each expertly crafted session provides a framework through which one can see others more deeply and compassionately. Green said she has eagerly awaited for the annual ICCF workshops.

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