In a world marked by increasing tensions and radicalization that are causing endless bloodshed and strife in the Middle East and serious fractures in European societies, ensuring harmonious interaction among people with plural religious and cultural identities, as well as their willingness to live together in harmony, is more than ever a priority. To address this challenge, the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership brings together a wide array of young students from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and America, who have been selected by partner universities for their interest in intercultural exchange, but also their implication in civil society and university life. Through lectures, working groups, joint research projects and collective activities, the program enable students to develop their communication, listening and interaction skills with people of different cultures. The first class of the International Summer University was held in Istanbul in July 2013 and focused on the theme “The European Experience: from World Wars to reconciliation and cooperation”. In 2014, the program took place in Berlin, on the campus of Freie Universität on the theme: “Religion and Peace in the 21st century”.
- Contribute to the personal, socio-educational and professional development of young people
- Promote intercultural learning, the respect of diversity, and the values of solidarity, equal opportunities and human rights among young people, especially in the euro-Mediterranean region
- Equip young students with the knowledge and skills required for a pursuit of a successful career in today’s culturally diverse and globally-connected work environments
- Encourage youth involvement in civil society and promote entrepreneurship education and cross cultural initiatives to develop active citizenship, employability and new business creation (including social entrepreneurship)
- Provide a platform for students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds to meet, interact, study, research and work together, and form lasting bonds of friendship that will serve them in years to come.
SOAS, University of London is the only Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. SOAS is a remarkable institution. Uniquely combining language scholarship, disciplinary expertise and regional focus, it has the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with Africa, Asia and the Middle East. On the one hand, this means that SOAS scholars grapple with pressing issues – democracy, development, human rights, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, social change – confronting two-thirds of humankind while at the same time remaining guardians of specialised knowledge in languages and periods and regions not available anywhere else in the UK. This makes SOAS synonymous with intellectual enquiry and achievement. It is a global academic base and a crucial resource for London. We live in a world of shrinking borders and of economic and technological simultaneity. Yet it is also a world in which difference and regionalism present themselves acutely. It is a world that SOAS is distinctively positioned to analyse, understand and explain. SOAS’ academic focus on the languages, cultures and societies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East makes it an indispensable interpreter in a complex world.