« Revisiter la théorie et la pratique culturelles pour créer une société plus inclusive. » – “Revisiting cultural theory and practice for creating a more inclusive society”


9 h 00 min - 17 h 00 min

Université Paul Valéry

Revisiting cultural theory and practice for creating a more inclusive society

Montpellier 23 and 24th June 2023

SIETAR FRANCE SYMPOSIUM, organized by Dr. Grazia Ghellini, President of SIETAR FRANCE, in partnership with Professor Anne Cremieux, Director of the Intercultural Negotiation Master Program (NPI) at the University of Paul Valery in collaboration with Dr. George Simons and Pr. Alex Frame from the University of Burgundy, France.

This symposium will acquaint you with the latest developments in intercultural & neuroscientific theory and give you hands-on activities and games to experience and use in your professional interventions.

 Registration Fee: Free for University of Montpellier students and staff, but registration is compulsory.

  • 25 euros per day for SIETAR France members and SIETAR Europe and other national SIETAR members.
  • 10 Euros per day for online participants, unemployed people, participants in financial difficulties and students from other educational establishments.
  • 40 euros per day for other participants.

Please contact Grazia Ghellini for further information.

Language : Bilingual Symposium

Language of Presentations: English with French subtitles, Q&A, group exercises and discussions in both English and French.


The Symposium will take place in a hybrid mode. Some of the speakers will be presenting online. It will be possible to participate online, but face-to-face participation is encouraged as the quality of the audio is not guaranteed due to the lack of proper equipment; some of the activities or debates might not be fully accessible.

 Target Audience: Intercultural professionals and aspirants, both academic and organizational, and students wishing to specialize in the intercultural field.

 Take away learnings:

  1. Up to date cultural theory
  2. Resources and activities for applying these perspectives in:

– Self understanding

– Teaching and training

– Updating research efforts

Take away resources:

  1. Populism and Decolonization diversophy® game
  2. Facilitation guide
  3. IncluKIT activities

« Revisiter la théorie et la pratique culturelles pour créer une société plus inclusive. »

Montpellier les 23 et 24 juin 2023

SIETAR FRANCE SYMPOSIUM, organisé par Grazia Ghellini, Présidente de SIETAR FRANCE, en partenariat avec Pr. Anne Crémieux, Directrice du Master de Négociation de Projets Internationaux à l’Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 en collaboration avec Dr. George Simons et Pr. Alex Frame de l’Université de Bourgogne, en France.

Ce symposium vous permettra de vous familiariser avec les derniers développements en matière de théorie interculturelle et neuroscientifique et vous proposera des activités et des jeux pratiques à expérimenter et à utiliser dans le cadre de vos interventions professionnelles.

 Modalités : Symposium hybride bilingue. Présentations en anglais avec diapos sous-titrées en français, questions-réponses, exercices, discussions en groupe et matériel en anglais et français. Participation en distanciel possible, mais participation en présentiel fortement encouragée : la qualité de l’audio audio n’est pas garantie par l’équipement, certaines activités et débats pourraient ne pas être accessibles.

 Prix : gratuit pour les étudiant.e.s et personnels des universités de Montpellier, mais l’inscription est obligatoire.

  • 25 euros par jour pour les membres de SIETAR France, SIETAR Europa ou autres SIETAR nationaux.
  • 10 euros par jour pour les participant.e.s en distanciel, chômeu.r.se.s, personnes en situation de précarité financière et étudiant.e.s d’autres établissements.
  • 40 euros par jour tout autre participant.e.s.

Merci de contacter Grazia Ghellini pour plus d’informations.

Public cible: professionnel.le.s travaillant ou aspirant à travailler dans le domaine de  l’interculturalité, dans un contexte académique ou organisationnel, étudiant.e.s souhaitant se spécialiser dans l’interculturel.

Apprentissages à retenir :

  1. Théorie culturelle à jour
  2. Ressources et activités à appliquer pour:

– la compréhension de soi

– l’enseignement et la formation

– la mise à jour de sa recherche

Ressources à emporter :

  1. Jeu diversophy® Populisme et Décolonisation
  2. Guide d’animation
  3. Activités IncluKIT

Le programme complet en français est disponible ici: Programme 


 DAY 1


 9:00 Icebreaker


Dr George Simons and Dr Amna Ben Amara,

 « Rethinking and decolonizing culture for a more inclusive society »

 In this highly interactive workshop George Simons and Amna Ben Amara will provide a brief exposé of the radical changes that affect our understanding of culture and how it functions within us and between us. We will reexamine contemporary concepts and practices in the field of intercultural learning and training applications in the light of newer research elements embedded in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. In this process, we argue that being part of a culture is not easily definable and describable. Participants will have the opportunity to explore this for themselves in exercises that bring to life their experiences with cultural identity, belonging, and belief systems which shape them and with which they shape their worlds.

Drawing on discourse, cognitive psychology, and cultural neuroscience, we will move beyond the national culture stereotype that associates identity with a grossly simplistic and reductionist story about the in-group. The major premise of our presentation is that culture can be constructed in the smallest of details, ranging from football teams, university departments, and restaurants. Although we may share certain features with others, we still have our own biographies and cultural repertoires, which are multidimensional stories that come into play according to the contexts in which we find ourselves. It is important for us to be aware of these and how they function and how we may use them.

« Identity construction in the age of populism: A Tale of the West against the Rest? »

 Although radical right populism may claim to defend the masses against the elite, the role of this political ideology in defining the boundaries of belonging cannot be ignored. The upsurge of populist movements does not only imply a divisive worldview, but also negates Fukuyama’s end of history thesis which triumphed liberal internationalism as the highest and the final form of political and social development. According to populist leaders in Europe and North America, liberal internationalism is a sign of decline and regress. It is even perceived as dangerous. The alternative that these leaders suggest is an identity of us versus them, their space, and our space. In this process of national self-construction, the “Other” becomes an inevitable condition in defining the boundaries of the inside and outside and the threats that might shake the stability of this inside. Through this strategy of linking and differentiation, populists do not only create affinity and mutual trust between the members of the in-group, but also split the West from the rest. Loyalty in this context becomes a local and national attribute and the nation becomes a tightly knit family characterized by strong emotional and even primordial ties. We will explore the impact of this phenomenon on ourselves and our social belongings.

 “The nation as a family metaphor: Nurturing Parents versus Strict Fathers”

Through assuming the role of the “Strict Father” who has the “primary responsibility for supporting and protecting the family as well as the authority to set overall family policy” (Lakoff 2002), populist leaders endow themselves with the moral authority to take care of and protect the members of his family. They may even discipline or punish those violating the rules and culture of the group. Thus, through endorsing the father-like figure, populists instill in their audience’s cognitive process an aspiration for protection and an advocacy for collective action against those who may threaten their shared cultural repertoire.


 Consultant and trainer specializing in diversity, intercultural communication, and negotiation, he holds a master’s degree from Notre Dame University and a psychology doctorate from Claremont Graduate School. He designed and conducted leadership coaching for managers working in BNP Paribas Bank and in the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as delivered extensive intercultural negotiation training for numerous corporations, humanitarian NGOs, and the Asian Development Bank. He is the creator and Editor of the diversophy® series of intercultural learning tools and has developed online and customized versions of over 100 of these training games. A staunch supporter of benchmarking and DE&I, Dr. Simons has authored and collaborated in such books as Seven Ways, Putting Diversity to Work, EuroDiversity, Global Competence, Working Together (multimedia version for the Canadian Department of National Defence), Men & Women, Partners at Work, Transcultural Leadership, Questions of Diversity and the Cultural Diversity Fieldbook and Sourcebook, Not my Type, a UK video diversity training program. A major contributor to Cultural Detective® training instruments, his articles, reviews, and free resources can be found on the www.diversophy.com website. Born in the USA, he has lived in Germany, The Netherlands, and currently in France and has worked in over 50 countries around the world. He has served on the governing boards of SIETAR France and Europa. He speaks fluent English, German, French, Spanish, some Dutch, Russian, Indonesian, and Italian. He manages the LinkedIn group of SIETAR Europa and serves on its Communications Committee.

Amna Ben Amara is a Senior Researcher with the diversophy® project. She holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sousse, Tunisia, her home country. She is currently completing her PhD studying the patterns of change and continuity in US American geopolitical thinking vis-a-vis the Middle East. Amna has published several journal articles and participated in various national and international conferences. She also took part in a variety of different training programs offered by Erasmus+ and DAAD.  Amna was most recently engaged in France as a visiting researcher at the University of Paris-Est Créteil. She has been a language teacher at the Higher Institute of Applied Languages of Moknine, Tunisia. At the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sousse she lectured on American and Anglophone Civilizations, as well as on Theories of Race and Ethnicity.


 14:00-15:00 Dr George Simons and Dr Amna Ben Amara, Populism and Decolonization diversophy® Games – Play Session

15:30 Dr Frédérique Brossard Børhaug, “Interculturality in the Anthropocene and the importance of preserving languages”

The presentation will argue that a great potential for intercultural education exists in the Anthropocene despite it being currently under-communicated (Brossard Børhaug, 2021). Intercultural educators must link more explicitly the claim of climate justice embedded in youth activism to intercultural education’s claim of social transformation (Gorski & Dalton, 2020) and I will suggest different perspectives. First, a more theoretical approach will be presented: The Convivialist manifesto (Convivialist International, 2020). Then, the paper will bridge the manifesto’s six principles/imperative to language education (Skutnabb-Kangas et al., 2009). The important work of Terralingua and its emerging concept of biocultural diversity (Maffi, 2018) will be highlighted as well as the new publication from Joëlle Zask (2023) about language and democracy.

Dr Frédérique Brossard Børhaug is a Professor of Educational Sciences at VID Specialized University in Stavanger, Norway. Multilingual (French, Norwegian and English),  She holds a doctorate in Education sciences from the University of Oslo in 2008. Her fields of research in intercultural education are multiple: ethical reflection based on the philosophical thought of Emmanuel Lévinas; critical analysis, anti-racist values in French and Norwegian educational contexts; development of capabilities (Human development and Capability Approach) in intercultural education; inclusion of pupils and teachers of immigrant origin in schools; education to values and knowledge: VaKE didactics (Values and Knowledge Education),as well as the promotion of education in biocultural diversity (biodiversity and cultural diversity in the Anthropocene.



 9:30 Pr. Alex Frame, “Retracing theories of culture and interculturality: new applications to training and practice.”

 This presentation will first retrace some of the theoretical approaches which have been developed to think about cultures and interculturality over the past decades, notably in Communication Studies and Cross-Cultural Management. It will then focus on newer, non-essentialist approaches which are well-established in the academic field of intercultural communication, and how we can operationalize these in situations of training and coaching, applied to work in international organizations. The presentation will thus provide some theoretical background to some of the more applied activities which will follow and is designed to help participants name models and approaches to better question how they shape the tools used in practice.


Alex Frame is full professor in Communication Science at the Languages and Communication Faculty of the University of Burgundy (uB, Dijon, France), where he runs the MA course in Intercultural Management. Born in Britain, he graduated from the University of Oxford in 1998, before settling in France and completing his PhD in Communication Science at uB, in 2008. He is a member of the TIL (“Texte, Image, Langage”) research group (EA 4182), where he specializes in intercultural communication, organizational communication, and digital forms of political communication. He has published over 60 academic articles and books on these questions, notably adopting a critical stance on interculturality applied to contemporary society and its organizations, striving to move beyond essentializing perspectives (https://u-bourgogne.academia.edu/AlexFrame). He is also the institutional coordinator of the FORTHEM Alliance at uB. alexander.frame@u-bourgogne.fr.

11:00 Dr. Mai Nguyen (online) ”How can neuroscience contribute to the field of interculturalism, diversity and inclusion?“

The field of intercultural studies has been strongly dominated by the idea of blank slate, implying that individuals are born ready to be “installed” with a cultural software. This seemingly cultural determinism contrasts with biology determinism, i.e. biology takes a central stage. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore the notion that nature and nurture intertwine, in other words, culture and biology interact. We will use this approach to discuss the notion of plasticity in the mind, the brain, and the DNA.  This will help us to explore how neuroscience can potentially contribute to the field of interculturalism, diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Mai Nguyen is known for working as a bridge between cross-cultural communication and the field of neuroscience. She has a long career at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences as an Associate Professor in Leadership and Change. Following her study at King’s College London in a Master program on Applied Neuroscience, in 2020, she published her latest book Cross-Cultural Management with Insights from Brain Science (Routledge). As a consultant, she specializes in organizational neuroscience, bringing contribution of brain science to further understanding and successful practices of leadership, diversity, change, bias management, and well-being. Her regular 3-day summer course in July is hosted by Groningen University.  She can be part of your network at https://www.linkedin.com/in/culturemove/


 14:00 Arjan Verdooren (online), “The topoi model”.

The TOPOI model is an approach to ‘intercultural’ communication that centralizes interaction in multicultural contexts, rather than culture per se. Building on a dynamic understanding of culture, the notion of multiple identities, and the impact of power and social representations, TOPOI provides a lens to ‘zoom in’ on intercultural interactions to identify the sources of tension and miscommunication as well as potential interventions.

Arjan Verdooren is a consultant, lecturer, and author in the fields of Intercultural Communication and Diversity and Inclusion. He is a longtime associate of the Royal Tropical Institute, a knowledge center in Amsterdam and has lectured at several universities including the University of Gothenburg. He is the co-author (with Edwin Hoffman) of Diverstiy Competence – Cultures Don’t Meet, People Do.

15:30 David Bousquet (online), “Inclukit”

IncluKIT (Inclusive Intercultural Communication Training Kit for Initial Reception of Migrants)

is a training kit aimed at the whole spectrum of volunteers and professionals involved in the initial reception of newly arrived migrants in European countries, focusing on the understanding and analysis of cultural differences during this transitional phase. The kit is targeted at all the people working with migrants, based on an in-depth study of their respective needs. It makes use of recent academic research on interculturality to go beyond the limits of traditional tools for raising awareness of cultural differences. The conceptual dimension of the project seeks to provide a practical application of critical approaches, based on varied and innovative methodologies, to create a user-friendly and visually attractive final product. Once developed, the training kit will be disseminated free of charge to be used in various contexts (state-sponsored institutions, NGOs, educational/academic communities, private businesses) and adapted to specific local realities.

IncluKIT is the FIT FORTHEM co-creation pilot project of the FORTHEM Lab Diversity & Migration. FORTHEM is an alliance of nine European universities, six of which are involved in IncluKIT: Università degli Studi di Palermo (Italy), Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Germany), Université de Bourgogne (France), Jyväskylän Yliopisto (Finland), Uniwersytet Opolski (Poland) and Universitat de València (Spain). Our two external stakeholders for the project are SIETAR Europa and diversophy®. We are also working closely with various national SIETARs in our respective countries, including SIETAR France, with SIETAR Switzerland and with the SIG Migration.

Contact: inclukit@gmail.com

David Bousquet is senior lecturer at the Faculty of Languages and Communication of the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, where he co-supervises the MA course in Intercultural Management with Alex Frame. He is a member of the TIL (“Texte, Image, Langage”) research group (EA 4182), he specializes in postcolonial and cultural studies with a particular focus on Caribbean culture and the African diaspora. He is the coordinator of the FORTHEM Lab Diversity and Migration at uB and the main researcher responsible for the IncluKIT project.


Bookings are closed for this event.