Brief Introduction – Intercultural Awareness Initiative (IAI)

Crossing Borders Education (www.cb-education.org) is organizing the Intercultural Awareness Initiative (IAI) in which we are linking our work with organizations such as Search for Common Ground and the Alliance for Peacebuilding in order to create powerful intercultural activities at university campuses across the US. We would like to invite you and your institution to become a partner in this initiative and organize a free film screening at your campus.

Background of IAI: 2011 marks a decade since the tragic events of September 11. Today’s undergraduate college students were 8-12 years old in 2001 and consequently have spent their intellectually formative years with post-9/11 media coverage. One component of this initiative will be a national survey, which will demonstrate the common thoughts, opinions, and knowledge of US college students regarding the Arab and Muslim world. The aims of the Intercultural Awareness Initiative are to foster the use of intercultural learning on campuses as a springboard for the development of students’ personal abilities to implement peace-building skills within their communities. Activities which reflect specifically on issues about images of Muslims will heighten students’ awareness of hidden preconceptions and will develop self-reflective and critical thinking skills. The initiative has the potential to become a vibrant example and inspiration for students to widen their horizons and learn about other cultures.

Campus Events:
• Screenings of the feature documentary “Crossing Borders” tackling issues of stereotypes
• Creation of post screening dialogues with students of Christian, Jewish and Mulsim background, facilitated by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV)
• Compilation of a survey of college students to provide concrete data of how to enhance intercultural awareness amongst US college students
• Providing materials which link interested students and faculty to existing intercultural organizations (Partners: Search for Common Ground, Soliya/UNAoC, National Peace Corps Association, etc.)
• Providing an intercultural toolkit for interested faculty and students to collaborate to create three inspiring follow-up events that foster intercultural learning experiences while introducing the work of intercultural organizations.

Partnering Organizations: We are linking the focuses and strengths of different organizations in order to widen the opportunities for US students to learn about the powerful impact of intercultural learning on their personal and professional development. The following organizations will partner with this initiative:

Crossing Borders Education: www.cb-education.org
Search for Common Ground: www.sfcg.org
Alliance for Peacebuilding: www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org
Institute for Economics & Peace: www.economicsandpeace.org
Americans for Informed Democracy: www.aidemocracy.org
International Beliefs and Values Institute: www.ibavi.org
Soliya / UNAoC: www.soliya.net

IAI Concept Paper: Please feel free to contact us if you are interested to receive the    concept paper of the Intercultural Awareness Initiative ([email protected]).