July 27th & 28th

Applying the New Paradigm: Global and Domestic Intercultural Learning

New constructivist approaches are reframing the role of intercultural learning in both international education and multicultural relations. The outcome of study abroad has expanded beyond acquiring cross-cultural skills into the development of intercultural consciousness and global citizenship. Similarly, multicultural relations programs are focusing beyond prejudice reduction and equity onto learning how to navigate the multiple identities of multicultural societies.

This two-day course will show how paradigmatic assumptions can either impede or facilitate the conditions for developing intercultural consciousness in international and domestic contexts. It will review recent applications of the developmental model of intercultural sensitivity, with case studies and research reports of how it has been used in a variety of international and multicultural programs. Finally, the course will explore innovative constructivist approaches to participants' programmatic goals.

Course objectives

  1. Review the research that addresses the value of intercultural learning in programs that incorporate international/multicultural cross-cultural contact
  2. Consider the epistemology of intercultural learning to avoid paradigmatic confusion and to leverage its potential for enhancing critical thinking
  3. Discuss the transformation of dualities into dialectics – reconciliation – as the key to developing intercultural/multicultural sensitivity
  4. For international programs, explore how to move beyond acceptance into ethical adaptation to cultural differences
  5. For domestic programs, show how an intercultural learning approach can generate climates of respect for cultural diversity on campuses and in communities
  6. Discuss the idea of "active intercultural citizenship" as an outcome of international and multicultural programs


  1. Presentation and discussion of complex (but crucial!) philosophical issues in practical, applied terms
  2. Demonstration of exercises in perceptual flexibility and cultural self-awareness
  3. Contribution of participant cases for ad hoc consultation in terms of course concepts

Target Audience

This course is specifically designed for faculty and administrators who want to position intercultural learning as central to international and domestic cross-cultural programs, who want to attract diverse student participants, and who want to improve the transferability of intercultural learning between international and domestic multicultural contexts. This is a core course for those who might optionally be interested in pursuing an IDRI Diploma in Facilitating Intercultural Development.

Faculty ​Facilitator

Dr. Milton Bennett is Director of the Intercultural Development Research Institute (www.idrinstitute.org), an adjunct member of the Faculty of Sociology at University of Milano Bicocca, and a founding fellow of the International Academy of Intercultural Research. Previously he was an associate professor of communication at Portland State University, where for 15 years he directed the graduate program in intercultural communication, and subsequently co-founded the Intercultural Communication Institute and its Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication. In addition to his academic activities, Dr. Bennett consults with universities and K-12 school districts on using an intercultural approach to international study and domestic diversity and inclusion programs.

Dr. Bennett is known for originating the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and his revised text Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: Paradigms, Principles, & Practices. Among many other publications, he has written a definitive chapter on intercultural learning in History of US Study Abroad: 1965-Present (a special issue of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad) and several articles on intercultural issues in Multicultural America (a Sage encyclopedia).