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IRUAS Conference 2023 – Switzerland’s multicultural society: an opportunity, a challenge or both?

The Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Zurich University of Teacher Education (PHZH) will jointly host next year’s IRUAS Conference, which is set to take place on 26 and 27 January 2023 in Winterthur.

The IRUAS Conference 2023 will be dedicated to the overarching theme of “Internationalisation at home” and address the following question: “Switzerland’s multicultural society:  an opportunity, a challenge or both?” Switzerland is a small country with great cultural and linguistic diversity. This diversity extends far beyond the country’s official national languages and the so-called “Röstigraben” that signifies the boundary between the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. Instead, it takes on a life of its own and evolves in response to a wide range of factors, ranging from expats who have chosen to settle in Switzerland to refugees fleeing their homes. Intercultural skills are therefore essential for living and working together – not only at an international level, but also directly on our own doorstep.

At the IRUAS Conference 2023, we will delve into the questions that this situation throws up. To what extent can Switzerland’s multicultural society serve as an opportunity and resource for teaching international and intercultural skills at home and providing corresponding training? How is this diversity reflected at our universities – and in what way do we use it? What challenges do we have to face in connection with a multicultural society? And what tasks should universities take on in this context? The IRUAS Conference 2023 will invite you to reflect on these and other questions, discuss the associated opportunities and challenges and share experiences and best practices. We are looking forward to spending two inspiring days with you!

Registration for the event is now open and is possible until 13 January 2023.

Target groups

The conference is aimed at employees of the international relations offices of Swiss universities of applied sciences and arts and universities of teacher education as well as specialist and strategy groups working in the field of international affairs and other university employees with an interest in this topic.


While the main conference languages will be English and German, we warmly invite participants to embrace their language diversity and also speak French and Italian during the workshops.


The IRUAS Conference 2023 will be held at the ZHAW in Winterthur and be hosted by the School of Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering based at the university’s City Centre campus.

Albert Frey Building (MA/MC/MD), Tössfeldstrasse 11, 8401 Winterthur (map)

Travel and contact

We recommend that you travel to the IRUAS Conference by public transport. From Winterthur railway station, you can reach the venue on foot in 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can take bus number 1, 5 or 7 from the Hauptbahnhof stop before disembarking at Loki.

You can send any question or concerns you may have directly to

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