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Intercultural responses to the needs of refugees in Europe: Supporting the professional re-integration of highly-skilled displaced people

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sara GanassinORCiD, Professor Tony Young, Dr Stefanie Schneider



This is the final published version of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) published in its final definitive form in 2022. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


This paper shares insights from a recent monograph, based on a large-scale European project (Austria, the Netherlands and the UK) which offers research-informed responses to the need for professional (re)integration of highly-skilled refugees in Europe ( CSLW, 2019; Young et al., 2022). These are individuals with qualifications and a professional background in a key area of competence— engineers, academics and doctors, for example — who are often forced by their new circumstances into low-skilled jobs for which they may be profoundly over-qualified (Ganassin & Young et al., 2022). The study draws data from a series of qualitative interviews with refugees and language teachers who work with them, that emphasised the importance of intercultural communicative competence (ICC) but also of psychological resilience and a sense of self; intrinsic motivation; and of building and maintaining social networks in the process of professional reintegration. Our emprical data also informed the main project output - a toolkit of intercultural language learner resources catering for the needs of displaced people seeking reemployment across Europe and beyond (CSLW, 2019). In our presentation, we will reflect of the different stages of the project—from data collection, to co-production and dissemination—to share good practice in research and co-production with under-represented and vulnerable groups. We’ll explore the effect of power and agency differentials in intercultural encounters between ‘hosts’ and ‘refugees’ communities. We’ll also discuss ways in which prevalent lingua pedagogical models ICC need to be adapted to the needs of diasplaced groups, particularly in their approaches to supporting resilience. Overall, the paper helps to move intercultural communication research agendas for social justice forward as it demonstrates how ethically and multilingually focused practices can help displaced groups to make their voices heard. Keywords: social justice; refugee rights; intercultural communicative competence

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ganassin S, Young TJ, Schneider S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: International Association of Language and Intercultural Communication Conference

Year of Conference: 2022

Acceptance date: 28/01/2022

Date deposited: 16/11/2022

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/6hyh-0t71