Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Fostering intercultural skills and knowledge

"Students take part in a KAIROS blanket exercise"
Students take part in a KAIROS Blanket Exercise in the main gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre. (University Communications)

The Division of Student Affairs is launching an Intercultural Awareness Certificate for staff, faculty and students to promote an inclusive campus community, and respectful interactions among individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. 

Delivered in partnership by staff of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), the five-session program combines and builds on existing education and training, including the expansion of Indigenous cultural content.

“This program aligns with recommendations of the TRC Task Force and the report of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “This certificate will raise awareness of Indigenous culture, build intercultural competence, and help participants develop life skills that support their success in diverse environments, including campuses, workplaces and communities.”

The five workshops cover topics including concepts of intercultural learning, the cultural self, dimensions of culture, the Intercultural Development Continuum, Indigenous rights history through the KAIROS Blanket Exercise and Cultural Safety training, that explores the diversity of Indigenous communities and people, self-identification, terminology, stereotypes and the creation of empathic relationships.

“We know that in-depth cultural exploration helps build awareness, support and collaborative approaches to problem-solving and community-building,” says Janice Hill, Director, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. “This program is one way that campus partners are continuing to work together to make progress on the important issues and calls to action outlined in recent reports and echoed by our community members.”

Participation surveys will guide the continual assessment of the program. Sessions will be held on weekdays and on weekends to support access to the program.

“We are excited to launch this program,” says Jyoti Kotecha, QUIC Director. “We have seen increasing numbers of faculty, staff and students participating in various sessions on intercultural competence and education. This certificate brings everything together with the goal of helping our community members develop skills and knowledge that promotes inclusion across our campus and in society at large.”

Consistent with the TRC Task Force and the PICRDI report, the Division of Student Affairs is also expanding recruitment activities focusing on under-represented student populations, enhancing peer mentor and transition programs, and creating a new position that will coordinate initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Workshops are repeated in the Fall and Winter terms. The full schedule is available online. Reserve a spot by emailing quic.training@queensu.ca. Participants are asked to complete the online training Tools for Success in an Intercultural World before registering for the certificate workshops.