The EUCTI Consortium resumed its usual (training) activities as the premier training of 2023 focused on Intercultural communication and strengthening intercultural competencies in the Central African Republic (RCA). The Austrian Centre for Peace (ACP) conducted two online training courses with the same topic for two participant groups: the first group attended the training between 24 and 25 January, and the second between 31 January and 1 February. The language of the courses was French.
10 participants that attended it were very active and engaged, which resulted in an excellent attendance rate as all of them were present during the entire course. The group was diverse in gender, experience and nationality aspects. Although the allocated time for training was short, it was used efficiently with interactive activities, plenty of breakout groups, Mural, videos, plenary discussions and a chat box.
The second part of the course had a larger group than the first, with 19 participants. The group was again very diverse – varying in experiences, nationalities and gender. Attendees were again very engaged and actively participated throughout both intensive training days.
The course combined theoretical concepts and inputs, self-assessments, group exercises, plenary discussions, and various tools, including videos and pictures. It provided plentiful opportunities for participants to exchange. Collectively these different methods will have helped all types of learners, including those willing to apply new tools rapidly in their working environment, those willing to deepen a particular topic following the training and those with limited available time but an interest in improving their performance at work.
The initial feedback that the participants provided at the end of the course was very positive and suggested that the expected learning outcomes were fulfilled. Both editions of our intercultural communication training were really enjoyable to conduct, especially due to an excellent trainer and the staff from the EUAM RCA, who ensured active engagement and reflection, which contributed to the course’s success.
The training is designed for professionals in an intercultural environment in civilian crisis management. Primarily, this training was intended for EU Advisory Mission in RCA (EUAM RCA) staff in need of strengthening their intercultural competencies and was open to participants from other international organisations working in a crisis management environment in the RCA. Both groups of a maximum of 20 participants were to complete the self-paced online learning part before attending the synchronous online live sessions on the Zoom platform.
The participants extended their knowledge on the topic by combining theory with practice and critical reflection on past experiences. Because operating in a culturally diverse context can be a challenge for anyone, especially when working in conflict-affected areas, the training on intercultural communication focused on a range of practical solutions and guidance to deal with and overcome such challenges effectively.
During the course, the participants engaged in interactive discussions and sessions, video analysis, case studies and simulations. Together with the trainers, they explored common pitfalls that lead to misunderstanding and cause tensions, (regionally specific) cultural differences in values, norms, and behaviour, and acquired competencies that allow effective communication across cultural barriers. Getting to know, understand and adopt a culturally sensitive approach enabled the participants to adequately, sensibly, and successfully fulfil their responsibilities and duties.