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Ethnologie in Schule und Erwachsenenbildung (ESE) e.V.
Anthropology in School and Adult Education (ESE)

In times of globalization, intercultural competence has become a key qualification for living and working together in multicultural societies. Imparting intercultural competence to pupils, students and adults by means of intercultural education has become increasingly important in order to prepare them to live and work together with people of different cultural backgrounds. To do justice to the significance of anthropology in the teaching of intercultural competence, the association Ethnologie in Schule und Erwachsenenbildung (Anthropology in School and Adult Education, ESE e.V.) was founded by anthropologists and pedagogues in Münster (Germany) in 1992.

The association’s aim is to apply anthropological knowledge to the field of intercultural learning. On the one hand this is achieved by the scientific debate about theories of intercultural learning. On the other hand it is achieved by teaching scientifically founded information on other cultures. Anthropological material is incorporated critically and made understandable to the lay public in order to increase its intercultural competence.

The „third-culture-perspective“ (Dritt-Kultur-Perspektive) serves as a theoretical approach and basic tool in the efforts of ESE. This perspective consists in the exemplary dealing with cultures to which one does not have a personal relation. In a further step, this helps to learn how to deal with people of different cultural backgrounds in one´s home country. By dealing with regions that are far away from the everyday world of the participants (e.g. Indonesia, Mexico or Pakistan), it becomes possible for the group to get involved with different cultural points of view in a relatively unprejudiced way.

In 2003 ESE won the „Preis für Innovationen“ (award for innovations) of the German Institute for Adult Education (Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung) for its concept of third-culture-perspective. In projects which ESE realizes in schools and as after-class-activities, children and teenagers learn a lot about everyday life as well as the representations and ideas of members of other societies. They get to know strategies of acting which can be applied in situations of intercultural misunderstanding. Furthermore, in seminars and workshops ESE trains adults of different professions – e.g. nursing staff, pedagogic staff, teachers, Civil Servants and firemen – who in their professional contexts interact with people of different cultural backgrounds.

ESE also offers seminars on intercultural competence for university and college students and prepares students in intercultural trainings for foreign exchange programs. Beyond this, ESE organizes conferences to discuss the topic of intercultural competence. More recently ESE also started to implement exhibitions. In April 2007 an itinerant exhibition entitled „Festliche Reise um die Welt“ (A festive journey around the world) started. The aim of this exhibition was to reach new target groups and motivate them to take an interest in the theme of intercultural competence. The exhibit was shown until Ocober 2008.

Last but not least ESE also publishes the series of publications „Gegenbilder“ (counterparts) which gives background information on different cultures and cultural phenomena as well as a series of scientific publications named „Praxis Ethnologie“ (Practice Anthropology). In this series the theme of intercultural competence is discussed scientifically and the contributions to the conferences are published.

Ethnologie in Schule und Erwachsenenbildung (ESE) e.V.
Dr. Ursula Bertels
c/o Institut für Ethnologie
Studtstr. 21
D – 48149 Münster
Tel.: (+49) 0251/8327318
Mail: info@ese-web.de