In the first half of 2017, the DOC Research Institute has paid particular attention to the issue of intercultural education, promoting the culture of peace and the dialogue of cultures through education and experience sharing. The DOC has planned and implemented innovative educational initiatives, aimed at enhancing the level of intercultural understanding in the Eurasian region and around the world.
On 17 April 2017, the DOC Research Institute co-organised the online educational workshop, ‘International Dialogue and Intercultural Communications in a Global World’, with other partners from the Institut Sorbonne-Kazakhstan (ISK); the International Relations Chair and UNESCO Chair on Pedagogy at the Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University; the UNESCO Regional Cluster Office in Almaty on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; and the UNESCO Chair “Science and Spirituality” at the R.B. Suleimenov Institute of Oriental Studies; and UNESCO Chair “Philosophy in the Dialogue of Cultures” at the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences.
As part of UNESCO’s International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures Initiative, this online session was designed to drive academic attention to the issue of intercultural education, in order to foster its methodological and practical development.
During the online discussion, the DOC Research Institute was represented by Prof. Marietta Stepanyants, Member of the DOC Programme Council and Chief Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In her presentation, Prof. Stepanyants highlighted the importance of intercultural literacy and intercultural education for children living in the “disordered” modern world, and made a detailed presentation of the concept of the Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures. As a part of this initiative, the DOC Research Institute has developed a school curriculum, methodological course, and textbook on the Dialogue of Cultures for 9th-11th grade schoolchildren in the Eurasian region (in the Russian language), that covers the distinctives of Muslim, Buddhist, Chinese, Western, and Russian civilisations. Thus far, the course has been introduced as an elective in some schools in Russia , and has already received positive feedback from both teachers and students.
In the upcoming years, the DOC Research Institute is planning to continue working on the Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures initiative, including releasing an English version of the textbook.
On 19 May 2017, the DOC Research Institute took part in the international conference, ‘Open Education in the Eurasian Area: Cooperation and Development in the Context of the UNESCO Program “Education-2030”’, aimed at fueling cooperation between universities and UNESCO Chairs in the Eurasian region for the sake of improving overall quality of education. Following the results of the conference, the participants signed a resolution which, among other things, proposes that UNESCO Chairs and educational institutions in Eurasia should participate in the Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures initiative, carried out by the DOC Research Institute with the support of UNESCO.
The Schools of the Dialogue of Cultures project is not the only project of the DOC Research Institute’s Intercultural Education Program. At the end of 2017, the DOC is planning to start a research project examining the role of intercultural dialogue and values in educational environments with a significant share of migrant schoolchildren, with the goal of providing practical solutions for improving teaching practices that foster the integration of migrant schoolchildren.
At the DOC Research Institute, we believe that the lack of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding remains one of the most serious, yet overlooked, issues the global community is facing today. If solved, it could contribute to peacemaking efforts and the ensuring of humanity’s long-term sustainable development. Therefore, the DOC Research Institute welcomes all concerned to contribute by sharing their ideas. We are always open for cooperation.