Our future together: Learning Across Cultures—JAMK United for Refugees

"Our Migrant diversophy® game celebrates the present and future human diversity within Finland. We embrace interpersonal interaction and dialogue through game play as a means to develop empathy between different peoples residing in Finland. By different, we mean all people and all ethnicities in Finland, including ethnic Finns and Swedish-Finns, Roma, Sami, and also past, present and future immigrants and their families, as well as those who are visiting from outside of Finland as students or professionals." 

– Steven Crawford, Senior Lecturer in Cross-cultural Management in JAMK University of Applied Sciences (JAMK UAS), Jyväskylä, Finland. 

Steve was one of two lecturers in JAMK UAS, who started "planting" this idea into our diversophy® product. I remembered the story shared by Steve, how it all started at the beginning, and if I recall it correctly, it involved a sentence Steve said to Ronan Browne—the other lecturer—"Let's pack a van and go to refugee reception center!"

I was luckily to be involved with this project, at the very beginning, when we all started building up from the scratch. I stepped into the project on behalf of George Simons, as his "physical" representative in Finland. The project followed on the JAMK United for Refugees (JUR) project in fall 2015. At the time, the student team did successful job creating awareness to various local stakeholders (University faculty and staff, foreign and Finnish students, local immigrants and asylum seekers of diverse origins, local NGOs, and notable global Interculturalists). This time, they aimed at researching and developing a training tool that will create personal connections and build cultural bridges between migrants and host citizens in Finland, partnering with the diversophy® brand. 

The idea of inviting George Simons International and the diversophy® game approach into the project enables us to have an effective training tool in a card-based game format. The diversophy® series of training games has been available in various contexts, and is designed to enhance cultural competence through acquisition of cultural knowledge, understanding, and interaction with others. diversophy® games allow participants to communicate and share thoughts and opinions about other's cultures in a safe environment. Playing a serious game is certainly fun, but it is also a rich learning process.

Our game's purpose and the JUR project's goal are a natural fit. With this goal in mind we have been collaborating in a hard-working process, identifying relevant cards that introduce both Finnish culture and the migrant experience. The game will juxtapose three language versions, English, Finnish and Arabic. 

The team is a consists of a group of lecturers and students, of mixed of nationalities and backgrounds, who all wish to make a positive difference in society. Our journey has just started, but we are pleased to inform you sample cards will be available soon (so you can have a peek!). 

For another peek at what we have done so far locally in Finland, you can check out JUR Facebook Page.

Please leave us your comments and ask us any questions about the project. We are always eager to hear your thoughts and feedback! 

Warm regards,

Nghi Dang. 


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