Introducing: The World Council on Intercultural and Global Comptence

darla deardorff world council intercultural and global competence May 15, 2020

by Darla K. Deardorff

The World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence is a newly established non-profit organization whose mission is connecting researchers, practitioners, educational institutions, and organizations across disciplines, languages, and countries to advance knowledge, research, and praxis of intercultural competence globally.  Given that much of intercultural competence work remains quite siloed within academic disciplines and professional fields, the World Council endeavors to bridge these siloes so researchers and practitioners can learn from each other in order to further the much needed work around intercultural competence.   Joining the World Council in these efforts are Founding Affiliates based in such countries as China, India, Netherlands, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, as well as in the United States and include such organizations as Global Peace Foundation, AMIDEAST, United Nations Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education For Peace and Sustainable Development and China Association for Intercultural Communication.  The World Council will also feature renown Intercultural Advisors such as Craig Storti. 

With a vision to foster a foundation for intercultural understanding across individual and societal differences in pursuit of a more peaceful world, the World Council is founded on principles of global collaboration, interdisciplinarity, praxis, and engagement.  One way that the World Council is living into this vision is through partnering with UNESCO on an intercultural methodology piloted in all five UNESCO regions worldwide over the past two years by UNESCO which is designed to help individuals practice intercultural competence.  This methodology, based on the ancient human traditions of storytelling, can be used with any group of people, anywhere in the world, uses little to no resources and can be facilitated by those who may not have a formal background/training in intercultural communication.  This UNESCO methodology was formally launched at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in December 2019 with the debut of the Manual on Developing Intercultural Competencies:  Story Circles by Darla K. Deardorff.  Co-published by UNESCO and Routledge (2020), the Manual is available as open access in 5 different languages (see  UNESCO and World Council are now piloting virtual Story Circles given the current global crisis and the hope is that this methodology will be widely used in many contexts around the world.  For more on the World Council and on Story Circles, go to 

Guided by Founding President Darla K. Deardorff and an advisory board hailing from several countries around the world and representing such organizations as Harvard University, Aspen Institute and Qatar Foundation, the World Council looks forward to working with many in SIETAR and beyond in furthering intercultural competence research.  For example, the World Council features an online publication called Intercultural Connector and invites SIETAR members to contribute articles related to intercultural competence; the next deadline is June 30.  There are also informal virtual meet-ups for colleagues to connect with each other to explore mutual research interests; the next meet up is Thursday May 28. For more information and ways to get involved with the World Council, please contact Darla K. Deardorff directly at [email protected].  Together, we can help bridge divides and work toward building a more peaceful world.