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Society and Workplace Diversity Research Group

The 9th Biennial Congress of the International Academy for Intercultural Research

Realizing the potential of Cultural Diversity in the society and at the workplace

There is hardly any large society that is presently ethnically homogenous as a result of domestic and international migration. The foreign-populations of many societies are increasing at unprecedented rates. For instance, it has been estimated that by 2050, 85% of Australia‘s population growth will be either from overseas migration or from native born Australians who have at least one foreign-born parent. Europe will need 80 million immigrants by 2030, while the US, Japan and Canada will need 35 million, 17 million, and 11 million immigrants by 2030, respectively (Saunders, 2010). 

The aging population of the world, particularly in Western industrialized countries, and unemployment and economic stagnation in many countries, will put pressure on the economies of Western industrialized countries in the form of increased migration, bringing people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds together in ways that have never been seen before. 

These demographic changes have wide range of implications for the governance of nation-building including employment, health, education, housing, economics, politics, culture, intergroup relationships and so forth.  Depending on which angle one takes, the results can be either positive or negative.  Unfortunately, events such as the terror attacks in major European cities including Madrid (2004), in London (2005) and in Oslo/Utøya (Norway, 2011) together with the Danish cartoon drawings of Mohammed are some negative instances of intercultural relations.  European leaders have not fared any better when they incite skepticism by suggesting that multiculturalism has been a failure. These pessimistic statements undermine and diminish the positive aspects of cultural diversity.

It is within this context that this conference is organized, with the theme – Realizing the potential of cultural diversity.


Realizing the potential of cultural diversity in the workplace and society will challenge societies politically, economically, socially, legally and culturally. This challenge will require a parallel effort to achieve equity and full participation of all cultural communities in the larger society. Any discussion around the topics will require a multi-disciplinary approach.  Hence the planned conference will attract scholars from psychology, and many related fields and disciplines.  Indeed the ultimate goal of this conference will be to bring to Bergen the leading scholars of the world to share research findings, engage in dialogue on how to tap into the positive sides of cultural diversity, and how employers, institutions, and governments can realize its potential.  The conference will include Keynote presentations by leading scholars, symposia, individual papers, posters and round table discussions, including debates.  During the past three conferences, the Academy has also devoted a whole day to a workshop – Fellows’ Day – just before the opening of the conference where the Fellows of the Academy engage in a series of discussions regarding the conference theme.

The Conference is hosted by:  

Society and Workplace Diversity Research Group, Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen

Administratively, the Department of Psychosocial Science is responsible for the running of the conference, but the practical activities regarding the conference will be coordinated by the Society and Workplace Diversity Research group in close collaboration with the Congress Bureau (Kongress og Kultur – KK-Bergen). While the Research Group will be responsible for the scientific side of the conference, the all practical organization will be taken care of by the Congress Bureau.

 

For more information on the conference, please visit the website below: