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Intercultural communication blockages

Challenges to intercultual communication faced by officials who work with migrants in situations marked by security concerns, as well as due to bureaucratic and infrastructural limitations were discussed at a recent seminar held in Malta.

The seminar was held by the University’s Faculty of Education and coordinated by Carmel Borg, local coordinator for the Bridge-It (Be Relevant to Intercultural Diversity Generation in Europe – Integration Team) project.

Bridge-It is a Grundtvig project that aims to deliver blended educational experiences that help ‘adults-in-mobility’ and ‘adults-in-contact-with-mobility’ to critically reflect on intercultural communication within institutional-bureaucratic contexts.

At the seminar, sessions were dedicated to reflect on ways to minimise intercultural misunderstandings that arise when migrants come to Malta fromsub-Saharan Africa.

Lt Col Brian Gatt, Major Jeffrey Curmi and Inspector Mario Haber discussed the communication challenges faced by local officials who work in situations marked by security concerns, while Dr Katrine Camilleri provided insights into the structural and infrastructural limitations imposed by gaps in bureaucratic provisions.

The facilitators of the reflection process were Maria Pisani, an activist and researcher in the area of migration and education, and Ahmed Bugri, a lawyer, originally from Ghana, who is the director of the Marsa Open Centre for migrants.

In their reaction to the various stories of migrants who camein contact with Maltese bureaucratic institutions, participants identi­fied frames-of-mind that marginalise migrants and block intercultural communication.

Compiled by Noelene Scerri and Jacob Piccinino.

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