IDRAcademy Mission Statement

The IDRAcademy is founded on the principle that coherent theory generates powerful practice. This was demonstrated in the original theoretical synthesis of anthropology and communication that gave rise to decades of successful intercultural training and education. However, like all endeavors, the intercultural field needs to constantly reenergize and refocus itself.

The Academy intends to be a leader in this effort. As the intercultural field has burgeoned in the last 30 years, its original theoretical foundation has been obscured by commercialization and diluted by unclear conceptual boundaries. Intercultural communication was from the beginning based on the principle of “theory into practice.” However, as waves of practitioners sought to exploit the original theory for various commercial purposes, the growing edifice of application began to far outweigh the theoretical foundation.

The underlying concepts have become increasingly arcane and teaching techniques have been reified; practitioners are easily deluded into thinking that they are teaching the techniques themselves, rather than using the techniques to teach the underlying concepts. The theoretical foundation of the field needs to be renewed more quickly to counter the negative effect of these trends. But without a traditional disciplinary home, intercultural studies has been adopted and adapted by a variety of academic departments – communication, linguistics, cross-cultural psychology, business administration, anthropology – each with its own set of theoretical assumptions and research methods.

As a result, intercultural research is “all over the map,” often dealing simply with some aspect of culture in the context of the host discipline. Without focused intercultural research, it has been difficult to generate new theory; and, of course, without coherent theory there can be no focused research, etc.

The IDRInstitute is already addressing these issues through support of basic research and definitional meetings. IDRAcademy contributes to the effort by offering both theoretical and practical courses based on coherent developmental theory and research.

The Academy fosters serious scholarship and sophisticated practice that preserves the best of intercultural communication from the past and extends those roots into the new challenges of the 21st century.

Scheduled Courses/Diploma Program

IDRAcademy offers a variety of courses on constructivist intercultural development every Spring and Fall in Milan and occasionally in other locations such as São Paulo, Boulder, Colorado, and Washington DC. The Diploma in Intercultural Development is awarded for completion of a defined curriculum, and IDRInstitute maintains a professional network of current and former students.

Customized Courses/Diploma Programs

IDRAcademy conducts courses designed for specific contexts and customizes its diploma curriculum for in-house programs in various global locations. Such programs have been conducted for Clark County (Nevada) School District (USA), American School of Milan (Italy), Colorado State University Medical School, School of Dentistry (USA), Colorado State University International Office (USA), and University of Danube, Krems (Austria).

Guest Lecturing

Faculty members of IDRAcademy are available for guest lecturing at schools and universities. Academic appointments and shorter-term contracts have been maintained at the University of Milano Bicocca, University of Switzerland Italiana (Lugano), Corinthian University of Applied Science (Austria), Salzburg University, the Masters of International Business (India, Canada, Italy) and the School of Inspired Leadership (Gurgaon, India), among others.

Curriculum Development

Specialized curriculum development in constructivist intercultural relations is available through the Academy wing of IDRInstitute. For instance, IDRInstitute is a partner in the Doctorate of Sustainable Human Development, a consortium of Italian and Latin American universities (ref) for which it has designed the intercultural curriculum and contributes to its permanent workshops. IDRAcademy has also designed a complete intercultural workshop program for the European Union International Cooperation and Development agency.

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