Our second day of sharing together began with Lazaro Moreno Herrera from Stockholm University, Sweden.
His talk focused on some of the challenges within the Nordic context relating to employability. Some of the contextualizing factors within the realities of work market dynamics are due, in part, by new requirements and policies within the EU and nationally that relate to working life. In terms of restructuring within higher education, there are new qualifications and indicators emerging for a learning organization. Looking backward, our history teaches us that within higher education, activities were organized around work tasks; whereas now, activities are increasingly organized around projects.
Therefore, in order to be employable, different types of knowledge merge to form packages of competencies that help us engage with our changing landscapes. Specific examples include moving from intercultural understanding to practicing intercultural competence. The difference being that knowing is not enough, one must be willing and able to engage with others who are from different backgrounds. The point being that today, it is not enough to be qualified in a certain field, or know something about cultural awareness, but one must be willing and able to engage with others who originate outside their own culture or hold different values and beliefs in this outcome oriented, changing environment. This could be a good reminder for us all as we together continue to experience change throughout our organization.
This reminds me of the words my grandfather said when I was just a small girl. He looked down at me with smiling eyes while cradling me in his arms and said, “How you encounter others and the words you use can either be a healing balm or hurtful arrows. With each encounter, either we choose to build others up and in doing so give them a type of gift or we choose to tear others down to make stepping-stones for ourselves. Days bring with them choices and encounters that are like tests for our heart & character. We are powerful beings that emerge from each encounter not the same but forever changed. Whether better off or worse off the choice is ours to make with each interaction. Our choices come with a cost, for it is much harder work in life to be a builder; whereas to be a destroyer of souls, costs us almost nothing but beware, being a destroyer over a life-time eats at our own heart from the inside leaving us hollow beings, unable to feel in the end. Which kind of person will you be when you grow-up?” (Grandpa Smallwood, 1972)
In the afternoon, we experienced a plethora of workshops and oral presentations from conference attendees. It was especially nice to have time during coffee and lunch breaks to socialize and get to know what others in the Nordics are experiencing and to notice we seem to all be struggling with similar things. The day ended with dinner by the water at the Restaurant Töölönranta. The take-away for me on day two was the statement by the keynote speaker when he said, “We are facing realities like it or not and the road is open. By continued engagement in academic discourse and through living research on different levels (micro, meso, macro) we will find our way, together. ” (Source: Oral presentation. Lazaro Herrera, oral presentation, Arcada, 13.6.2019) Looking forward to day 3!