School leaders in the U.S. and across the globe are confronted with the challenge of managing increasingly diverse student populations within politically polarized environments. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional strain on teachers and administrators, testing their capacity to effectively cater to student needs. To address these issues, the Batschelet Intercultural Competence Initiative aims to foster collaboration among educators worldwide to identify research areas and establish collaborative teams dedicated to cultivating a community of colleagues. Furthermore, the initiative seeks to create an open-access library of tools, including but not limited to an edited volume or textbook on providing effective ICC/ISC to school leaders, designed to enhance educators’ competence within classrooms.
Effective communication skills are of utmost importance for leaders, particularly those involved in crisis management and conflict resolution. These leaders must navigate the challenging task of promoting conversations surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion, all while dealing with regional or federal restrictions on certain topics within schools. Examples of such restrictions include Critical Race Theory (CRT) bans in the United States. As school leaders endeavor to expand discussions on inequality, they often encounter resistance and may even face threats to their work. Therefore, it is crucial for them to receive training in effective communication strategies that can provide support and guidance.
Intercultural Communication Competence and Intersectional Competence have shown promise in equipping leaders with the skills necessary to drive change in the face of deep-rooted political conflicts. These competencies enable leaders to navigate diverse cultural contexts and acknowledge the intersections of different identities and forms of discrimination.
The Batschelet Conference, featuring experts in intercultural competence from across the United States and internationally, aims to provide a platform for K-16 educators in fields related to Education, Social Sciences/Studies, and the Humanities. It also welcomes individuals from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector who are interested in joining research endeavors that support educators in teaching students how to perceive and interpret relationships between cultures. By fostering collaboration among professionals from various sectors, this conference seeks to contribute to the development of research that empowers educators in their vital work.