Theory and practice

IKAB e.V., the Institute for Applied Communication Research in Non-formal Education, was founded in Bonn in 1978.

Our aim is to contribute to the promotion of civil society in Europe through Intercultural Political Education.

The active participation of young people who represent all social and cultural groups within Europe is at the centre of our work.

The systematic integration of theory and practice is of paramount importance to us. The Institute is committed to applied communication research on the basis of social learning and places particular emphasis on the intercultural context. We put the most recent non-formal education theories into practice; we develop and test our own theories, which are then reviewed.

IKAB-Bildungswerk e.V. hosts and carries out our educational activities and is in the same building as IKAB e.V.

Our seminars and training courses focus on social learning and the acquisition of intercultural key competences. The programme encourages our participants to ...

  • open up to new experiences with themselves and their environment
  • come into contact with foreign cultural traditions and life situations
  • see issues from another person's perspective and to rethink their own point of view
  • acknowledge their own cultural patterning and its influence on their perceptions, thinking, and behavioural patterns
  • learn to endure reluctant and unpleasant feelings

By living and working together, young people acquire the kind of social behaviours which underlay the practice of tolerance in the everyday life of today's multicultural societies.

The participants in our international youth projects are 15 to 30 years old and are recruited via our European network of partner organisations working in the field of vocational training as well as in educational and social sectors. We offer short-term educational seminars and projects which are closely linked with our partners' long-term educational planning and practice.

Our training courses target full-time or voluntary youth and social workers, who already have some experience in intercultural work and wish to deepen individual aspects of international youth work, or who want to be trained for the first time in this area.

Here are some examples of our seminar topics:

Grandmother - Mother - Daughter
Instigation of an intergenerational and intercultural exchange
Stereotypes as a starting point for enhanced communication skills
European youth exchanges as a field of learning to counter racism and xenophobia
Standing outside - no thanks!
Young Europeans active against xenophobia and social exclusion

Every year roughly 1,500 young people take part in about 45 initiatives. About half of these young people are from Germany, where approximately 60% of the encounters take place. Most of our projects are carried out in close co-operation with our institutional partner in France - 35% of the participants live in France. The share of young people and adults from other countries amounts to approximately 15%, they come from nearly every part of Europe.