ECRs Address Interculturality and Multiculturalism in Current Society

14 November 2017
The 2017 Universitas 21 Early Career Researcher workshop gathered researchers from 17 different universities in Santiago to address the problems and challenges that affect multicultural societies.

The plenary speaker, Professor Hanna Zagefka of the University of London, said “It is naive to think that there are pure races nowadays” as she referred to the multiculturalism phenomenon that exists across most of the world. “The ethnic diversity is a fact and that is why it is urgent to make a cultural change against prejudices”, she continued.

The term interculturality is becoming stronger than ever, claimed Zagefka, but the problem is that there are no concrete actions especially in public policies that control migration, that prevent segregation and the different opinions that these topics create.

This was the subject of the first lecture of the Early Career Researcher (ECR) workshop, an annual Universitas 21 event that this year was organised by Ponificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (UC). The ECR workshops allow junior researchers (up to 8 years post PhD) to come together around a broad multi-disciplinary theme to learn, network and share their knowledge and experiences. This year was the first time the ECR workshop had focused on a purely social sciences theme and bought together researchers from a wide variety of disciplines.

As he opened the meeting, Professor Ignacio Sanchez, President and Rector of UC, stated “We believe it is fundamental to support young researchers, value and promote them, as well as the research itself, to work together from different disciplines”. He continued “We have committed to continue our growth as a university of excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching and research, open to the international community, and as a key and active partner to strengthen this network through the joint development of high quality research, innovation and internationalization”.

This year’s workshop dealt with hot topics from our society, covering interculturality and multiculturalism, and was organized by Roberto Gonzales, Professor of Social Psychology at UC. The workshop theme was analysed from the point of view of a variety of disciplines, including: philosophy, social psychology, economics, history, politics, health and anthropology; with the aim of sharing methodologies, knowledge and experiences and creating international academic collaboration networks. During the meeting the participants also attended workshops regarding specific methodological tools to develop quantitative and qualitative approaches, and were able to present their research in poster format or via 3 minutes concise oral presentations.

In total, 50 representatives participated in this meeting; belonging to universities from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, China, and Japan. Following the meeting, the participants set up their own Facebook group to allow them to stay in touch, and are already planning a variety of collaborative research activities.

Photos from the meeting are available in the UC photo gallery