Online lecture about the development of intercultural competencies

Picture of the lecturer and the title of the lecture

On 6th July at 11:30 CEST, Arqus organizes the online lecture "Developing intercultural competencies: From structural internationalization to the implementation of an agenda of integration" by Silvia Didier, from the Université de Lyon.


Today one of the challenges of business schools and universities is to get away from internationalization that is purely based on structural measures. Usually, these structural measures use a simple bi-polar distinction between home and international students and staff. Spencer-Oatey / Dauber (2015) [see reference 1 below] identified three flawed assumptions about these parameters of internationalization:


  • Structural internationalization (automatically) improves students’ satisfaction.
  • Structural internationalization (automatically) yields an integrated student community.
  • Structural internationalization (automatically) leads to global skills.

The latest research shows that these three assumptions are questionable. Spencer-Oatey and Dauber (2015, P.1) defend the idea that “a truly internationalized university of the future will have to measure its success not only in terms of structural factors like the number/proportion of international students but also by its ability to implement an agenda of integration that will facilitate the development of the ‘global skills’ that employers are seeking in their new employees.”

Developing intercultural and global skills is not simply an end at itself. Several recent reports [see reference 2 below] draw attention to the fact that employers are now seeking, demanding and expecting these global skills when hiring graduates from business schools or universities.

One of the key goals of the iaelyon is to teach and experience openness to multiple worlds. This includes the transfer of international, cross-cultural, professional and cross-disciplinary skills and competencies to students.

In this talk, Silvia Didier will illustrate this approach by sharing and critically discussing 2 projects that have been put in place and tested at the iaelyon.

  • A video project during the course « Intercultural management » with Master 1 Students in International Management.
  • A Business Challenge with students from the Consortium MIB EPAS and the Masters’ in International Management.

Silvia Didier is an experienced intercultural trainer, consultant, expatriate coach and author of several books, working in a multi-national business setting. She has more than 20 years of work experience in the fields of marketing and communication, strategic consulting, intercultural training and executive coaching. Since 2013 she is working as a senior lecturer at the iaelyon - School of Management. She was codirecting the Master in International Management, was head of the Master 2 program International Business Realities and the Master 2 International MBA. In 2020 she was nominated associate professor at the iaelyon.

This is the seventh of a series of guest lectures (“Seven months, seven universities”) to be offered in the framework of the Action Line 4 of Arqus, Multilingual and Multicultural University (sub-line 4.8). These lectures focus on specific topics related to language and culture, and target mainly graduate and post-graduate students as well as early-stage researchers interested in those topics.

The webinar will take place on 6th July at 11:30 CEST. It will be broadcast live on the Arqus YouTube channel.


1 Spencer-Oatey, Helen / Dauber, Daniel (2015) : How internationalised is your university? From structural indicators to an agenda of integration.- GlobalPAD Working papers. Available at GlobalPAD Open House.
2 Diamond et al. on behalf of Agr, CIHE, CFE (2011): Global Graduates. Global graduates into global leaders;  The CBI: Education and Skills Survey; The Economist (2013): Competing across Borders. How cultural & communication barriers affect business, Economist Intelligence Unit;  The British Council (2013): Culture at Work. The value of intercultural skills in the workplace.