Intercultural youth work is a way of working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. It sees cultural diversity as an enriching aspect of society. It also acknowledges the reality of racism and the need to create conditions where social harmony is promoted and supported. An intercultural approach stresses the need for collaboration, open and honest dialogue, active participation, understanding and respect for all.
Unlike multiculturalism, which can result in ethnic or cultural groups becoming separated, interculturalism stresses the need for proactive engagement on all sides.
Unlike assimilation, which results in minority cultures being absorbed into majority cultures thereby losing their cultural identity, interculturalism recognises everyone’s human need for a strong sense of cultural identity and sustainable links to our cultural community – both past and present.
Interculturalism puts the responsibility for social harmony into everyone’s hands. It asks that each person do what they can in their capacity to engage positively and proactively with all cultural groups in their community. Intercultural youth work, therefore is a commitment by everyone in the youth work sector to work towards social harmony.
Interculturalism should be seen like other inclusion and equality issues – such as gender, sexual orientation and disability – it should become a way of thinking that becomes a consideration in everything we do – our planning, our activities, our policies etc.
To learn more about good intercultural youth work practice go to 12 steps to good intercultural youth work practice in publications on this site.