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Keynote speeches & Workshops

Keynote speech (Thursday)

A society in transition – Switzerland in the age of migration and globalisation

Swiss society has undergone profound change in recent decades due to global migration: demographically, socially, economically, politically and culturally. While this change is often attributed to the growing share of the population with a migration background, it affects the whole of society. This can be seen, for example, in the rise of migration as a focal issue in social controversies. And it is a topic that has the ability to polarise views. What’s more, the debate about migration issues has long since been played out in a public arena in which society attempts to reach an understanding of itself: Who or what is a Swiss today? Who belongs? And who doesn’t? What are the foundations and limits of national identity and solidarity? I would therefore like to argue in my presentation that the controversy surrounding the topic of immigration is really about a deeper issue: What will the future of Swiss democracy look like in a globalised world?

About Dr Kijan Espahangizi

Kijan Espahangizi is a historian and teaches modern history as a private lecturer at the Department of History of the University of Zurich. He studied history and physics at the Universities of Cologne and Seville, received his PhD from ETH Zurich in 2010 and headed up the “History of Knowledge” centre (ETHZ and UZH) between 2010 and 2021. He is the co-founder of the Institute New Switzerland (INES), a post-migrant think and act tank, and has been a member of the Committee of Experts of the Pro Helvetia foundation since 2021. His subject areas are as follows: migration history, knowledge history, Swiss history, the history of globalisation and the modern nation state. His post-doctoral thesis was published as a book in 2022 by Konstanz University Press: Der Migration-Integration-Komplex. Wissenschaft und Politik in einem (Nicht-)Einwanderungsland, 1960–2010 [The migration-integration complex. Science and Politics in a (non-)immigration country, 1960–2010.]

Language: German

Keynote speech (Friday)

Multiculturalism – an anti-racist and intersectional view

Nora Refaeil will look at the question of what it takes for people to be able to encounter each other as equals and strike up dialogue in a multicultural, democratic society. In doing so, she will examine the topic of multiculturalism from an anti-racist and intersectional perspective, highlight common basic assumptions that see “us” and “them” attitudes persist and make suggestions on how we can build up trust in one another, approach one another and positively shape our surroundings together in a current environment characterised by complexity and uncertainty.

About Dr Nora Refaeil

Dr Nora Refaeil is a partner at TopikPro, a mediation and transformation company based in Switzerland that supports clients in complex projects and contexts. Nora Refaeil designs and moderates change and organisational development processes, acts as a mediator in conflicts and works as a coach. She teaches conflict transformation at the University of Bern and transitional justice at the University of Basel. Nora Refaeil is a Senior Associate for the Interpeace Advisory Team in Geneva and Vice-President of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism in Switzerland. She is a lawyer and holds a PhD in International Law from the University of Basel.

Language: Deutsch


Workshop 1: Change towards internationalisation at universities – SUCTI implementation at the PHZH

Ariana Fonseca, Outgoing Students Advisor, PHZH

SUCTI (Systematic University Change Towards Internationalisation) was an Erasmus+ funded project and is coordinated by the University of Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, Spain). It aims to provide university employees working in the fields of administration and management with knowledge and skills related to internationalisation processes. As an important pillar of universities, administrative staff can become an important agent of change if they are convinced of the importance of internationalisation and the added value it can provide.

On this basis, employees from international relations offices across Europe attend training courses several times a year and in doing so are provided with the tools they need to offer the course at their own institutions. This enables them to make an important contribution to the project’s overall goal, namely to change the attitude of employees and thus ensure that institutions are in a position to develop more in the direction of internationalisation. In Switzerland, thanks to Movetia's initiative and its funding, a SUCTI Train The Trainer workshop was held free of charge for all interested Swiss universities in 2021. During the IRUAS workshop, the concept of implementing the SUCTI course at the Zurich University of Teacher Education will be presented as well as a description of the objectives and associated challenges.

Language: German

Workshop 2: A fresh look at global competences in our degree programmes

Patrick Studer (ZHAW), Jacqueline Bürki (BFH), Sandra McGury (ZHAW)

Swiss Global Competence Lab, ZHAW

Developing global competences and addressing global challenges in higher education is even more essential today than ever before. How do we address these topics in our degree programmes? How do we ensure that learning takes on multilingual, transcultural and transnational perspectives? Join us in an engaging workshop where we will think about questions like these and delve into where your institution currently stands in the internationalisation of curricula (IoC) process. We will reflect on what it means to be an IoC champion in Switzerland, how we can foster motivation to drive innovation and how IoC can be integrated systematically in our institutions. We will draw on your experiences and provide you with additional insights from a recent research study conducted by the Swiss Global Competence Lab. Be ready to walk out with a number of ideas that you will be able to apply immediately.

Language: English

Workshop 3: International competence at home – an immanent matter of social work

Prof. Miryam Eser Davolio; Dr Dilyara Müller-Suleymanova

Institute of Diversity and Social Integration, School of Social Work, ZHAW

Social work is a discipline and a practical field with a strong connection to culturally diverse contexts and specifically to socio-economically vulnerable populations and individuals who often have migration biographies. Furthermore, there are a number of social institutions that operate in an international context: the International Social Service (IS), for example, which looks for the disappeared relatives of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Switzerland and organises the repatriation and integration of refugees in their home countries. There are thus various possibilities for students who want to enhance their intercultural and international competences within the field of social work in Switzerland – even if they are not able to go abroad. In the workshop, we will suggest how such practical experiences and competences in various culturally diverse contexts in Switzerland can be acquired, ensured and evaluated.

Language: English

Workshop 4: Access to opportunities and resources for refugee students

Dr. Nora Refaeil, advocate and mediator, Vice-President of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism

Florence Balthasar, Head of the International Affairs Office, ZHdK

In this workshop, participants will address the topic of “access to opportunities and resources for refugee students” from two perspectives. On the one hand, initiatives and structures that allow refugee students to access universities will be discussed on the basis of the example of the ZHdK.

On the other hand, the participants will approach the concepts of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities in an interactive manner. Drawing on their own experiences of exclusion and discrimination, workshop participants will also look at various aspects of identity that can facilitate or hinder access to opportunities and resources. The aim is to broaden the participants’ own perspective and to critically reflect on the topic of difference at both a societal and interpersonal level.

Language: German

Workshop 5: Forms of international exchange to advance global competencies at universities

Dr. Samir Boulos, Dozent und Projektkoordinator in der Abteilung Internationale Bildungsentwicklung (IPE), PH Zürich

The activities of schools and teacher training universities are usually determined by national and regional (or cantonal in Switzerland) requirements. Teachers have to follow the official curriculum, while teacher training universities are tasked with enabling their students to teach according to this curriculum. However, schools and universities are part of a globally interconnected world. In Swiss classrooms, this globalisation manifests itself in the form of a multicultural classroom, where according to the 2015 PISA survey some 30.9% of children have a migration background. This workshop aims to explore different forms of international exchange at universities and to both prepare and enable lecturers and students to work and function in a globalised world and multicultural society. We will focus on three forms of exchange: 1.) collaboration between lecturers in academic network projects; 2.) deepening international exchanges through the joint teaching of courses; 3.) students working as ‘interns’ in international cooperation projects realised by the university.

Language: German/English

Workshop 6: Imaging study at home and abroad in the future

Greta Gnehm, Head of International Relations, School of Management and Law, ZHAW

Michael Farley, Head International Development & Projects; Programme Head of the International EMBA, ZHAW

What will student exchange and study abroad opportunities look like in the next 5 to 10 years? How can institutions prepare for evolving international exchange needs and demands – both at home and abroad? How do we encourage intercultural learning opportunities for all students, including those who remain in Switzerland? The workshop will start with input from facilitators and input from exchange students. Participants will then break up into small groups to brainstorm before presenting their ideas back to the rest of the group.

Language: English