ICC 2024: Plenary Presentations

To view the plenary presentation abstracts, click the presentation title below each author’s biographical statement.

Larisa Kasumagić-Kafedžić is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo, Department of English Language and Literature. Her teaching, writing and research interests focus on intercultural, critical and peace pedagogies in teacher education and language and culture didactics. She holds an MPS in International Development and Education from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in English Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Education from Sarajevo University. She is a 2003-04 Cornell University Hubert Humphrey Fellow Alumni. During 2022-2023 she was a Visiting Professor under the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Fellowship in residence at Cornell University, where she was lecturing and conducting research on Teachers as Agents of Change: Education for Peace and Social Responsibility. She is the founder and president of the Peace Education Hub, which was established at the University of Sarajevo in early 2020. She is the co-editor of the book Peace Pedagogies in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Theory and Practice in Formal Education (Kasumagic-Kafedzic, L. & Clarke-Habibi, S., Editors, Springer, 2023).

Peace in Language Education: A Romanticized Ideal or an Urgently Needed Educational Paradigm

Peace in Language Education: A Romanticized Ideal or an Urgently Needed Educational Paradigm

Abstract

This talk will present different interdisciplinary perspectives on educating for and about peace in multiple formal educational settings, where humanities and education sciences have been repeatedly marginalized, and within global and diverse cultural contexts where our humanity is continuously struggling. It will provide an overview of the key theories, pedagogies and practices which underscore the multiple roles that teachers play in fostering socially transformative learning at the time of important crossroads of our human history and the global erosion of our democratic and humanistic values. The presentation will highlight examples from local voices, initiatives and practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of how classrooms can be connected to communities, globally relevant topics, and language teacher development programs. The talk will invite “a critical exploration of peace pedagogy as an imagined ideal and fluid space between post-war educational politics, institutional and curricular constraints, and the lived experiences and identities of teachers and students in socially and historically situated communities” (Kasumagic-Kafedzic, L. & Clarke-Habibi, S., 2023), the lessons of which can be transferred across borders to address various culture-, education- and context-specific challenges in today’s societies. As efforts towards peacebuilding in language education in different corners of the world have been fragmented and marginalized but are continuously developing, this talk will contribute to those reflections which have attempted to highlight the relevance and urgency of the how and why of peace teaching despite a great number of complexities in language pedagogy and numerous challenges in the education systems and our humanity of today. The presentation will include specific examples of peacebuilding strategies, activities and didactic tools and materials from language classrooms, intercultural learning projects, peace education hubs, and language teacher education programs.

Adam Strom has a proven track record of leveraging education to build belonging and develop an understanding of the roots of polarization and hate. He is the Executive Director of Re-Imagining Migration, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the education and well-being of immigrant-origin youth, decrease bias and hatred against young people of diverse origins, and help rising generations develop the understanding and habits of heart and mind that are necessary to build and sustain welcoming and inclusive communities. Before helping to found Re-Imagining Migration, Strom was a long-time member of the senior leadership team at Facing History and Ourselves, where he led the content development team.

The educational resources developed under Strom’s direction have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms and experienced by millions of students worldwide, including numerous resource books, study guides, and films on identity, immigration, and prejudice.

Reimagining Belonging in an Age of Migration

Reimagining Belonging in an Age of Migration

Abstract

In this presentation, Re-Imagining Migration’s Adam Strom will explore the shifting educational landscape in a world of migration. It is imperative that all children develop the habits, competencies, and dispositions that will enable them to thrive in communities marked by demographic diversification and change. In the United States, there are approximately 77 million k12 students, of these, 27% are first or second-generation residents, facing unique challenges alongside their 56.2 million peers. The American school system, the crucible of belonging and true integration, is where immigrant-origin youth, predominantly people of color, strive for success. Yet, systemic inequities persist, denying them equal opportunities and undermining the nation’s democratic fabric.

The global demographic shift is profound: by 2050, one in three children in the U.S. will have an immigrant parent. These children’s experiences vary widely, influenced by parental education, poverty, newcomer status, language barriers, racialization, and immigration policies. Both immigrant and non-immigrant students often attend under-resourced schools that struggle to support their diverse needs.

This generation’s future hinges on reimagining the role of intercultural competence the lives of schools. More than half of Fortune 100 companies assert that education in diverse settings is vital for economic prosperity. However, current educator training predominantly around issues of migration focuses on language acquisition, neglecting the holistic needs of immigrant students, their peers, and their changing communities.

As immigration propels U.S. population growth and economic vitality, with immigrant-origin workers contributing significantly to the economy and founding 44% of Fortune 500 companies, the stakes are high. Prejudices fueled by fear, and activated by politicians and networks of extremists, threaten to undermine societal cohesion and economic prospects. This presentation offers a vision where all students learn from each other, appreciate diversity, understand migration’s role, and are prepared to address inequities—a vision essential for a thriving society in an era of unprecedented demographic change.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Rebecca Oxford’s presentation had to be cancelled.

With degrees in language and educational psychology, Rebecca L. Oxford prepared language teachers for three decades, serving the University of Alabama and, as Professor and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, the University of Maryland. She also taught numerous courses on culture and on psychology and has been a popular presenter in 43 countries. Of Dr. Oxford’s 15 books, the most relevant for this conference are The Language of Peace: Communicating to Create Harmony (Oxford, 2013), Understanding Peace Cultures (Oxford, 2014), and Peacebuilding in Language Education: Innovations in Theory and Practice (Oxford, Olivero, Harrison, & Gregersen, 2021). Recently she co-edited a special issue of Peace Research: The Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies (Oxford & Olivero, 2023). She initiated and was primary editor of Heinle/Thomson’s innovative Tapestry ESL/EFL Program (North American, Japanese, Chinese, and Middle Eastern editions, 69 volumes). She helped establish two other book series: Spirituality, Religion, and Education (Palgrave Macmillan) and Transforming Education for the Future (Information Age Publishing).

CANCELLED: Fostering Intercultural Competence for Peace through Transformative Language Teaching

CANCELLED: Fostering Intercultural Competence for Peace through Transformative Language Teaching

Abstract

Like Galtung (1995), Rebecca Oxford distinguishes between negative peace, i.e., the absence of violence through coercion, and positive peace, i.e., the presence of cooperation despite differences. Rebecca shows how words, depending on how they are used, contribute to stereotypes, biases, and dehumanization (Mahalingappa et al.), or, alternatively, exhibit intercultural competence and foster peace (Oxford, 2017). With their teachers’ help, second or foreign language (L2) learners can develop four aspects of intercultural competence for peace: ethnocultural empathy (ability to experience the feelings of others who are culturally different from themselves), cognitive flexibility (ability to see multiple perspectives), intercultural understanding (appreciation of and openness to cultural diversity), and critical language awareness (recognition that language, as a system of rules, symbols, and communication, is laden with social-historical-cultural meanings) (Gkonou, Olivero, & Oxford, 2021; Mahalingappa, Rodriguez, & Polat, 2021). Certain overlapping instructional approaches, e.g., social justice pedagogies, critical language awareness, critical media literacy and engagement, and culturally relevant pedagogy, promote intercultural competence for peace (Mahalingappa et al.). Oxford illustrates specific L2 learning activities that enhance intercultural competence for peace: language-awareness journals, role-plays, intercultural interviewing, storytelling, counter-storytelling, current-event research, media analysis, creation of documentaries, literature critiques, empathic listening practice, guided discussion, games, online tandem language/culture learning, and real-life classroom conflict resolution. L2 grammar-instruction, if done well, can be a rich source of communicative, intercultural information (McWhorter, 2023), as Oxford shows. Transformative L2 education can shake the foundations of negatively entrenched cultural and linguistic attitudes (Oxford, 2021) and create the bedrock of peace across cultures.