IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


International Centre for Intercultural Studies

Advancing the understanding of the role of culture in education and society.

Director: Professor Zhu Hua 
Deputy Director: Professor John O’Regan

The centre promotes intellectually rigorous, practically relevant and interdisciplinary intercultural studies that advance understanding of the role of culture in society, education and communication and inform intercultural practices and policies.

    About us


    The centre aims to:

    • Push new frontiers of the field of Intercultural Studies through interdisciplinary collaboration and methodological innovations.
    • Promote a critical approach to understanding the role of culture in society, education and communication.
    • Develop a critical mass of inquiry in researching and teaching culture, and in particular, foreground the research strand of language learning /language use and intercultural communication.
    • Develop international networks through affiliated learned societies, joint projects, seminars, networking activities, conferences, student exchanges and programme partnerships.
    • Upscale lessons and rich insights gathered from our language education and intercultural education and disseminate good practices through research projects, briefings and engagement activities. 
    • Engage with and influence national and international language-in-education policy and debates on intercultural collaboration and exchange. 

    The centre was originally founded as the Centre for Multicultural Education by the late Professor Jagdish Gundara in 1979. Its focus on intercultural education and the study of diversity, equity and social justice remains as one of the key strands of the current activities of the centre.

    Our links

    UNESCO (United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organisation)

    In 2000 UNESCO invited Professor Gundara to take up the title of UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Studies and Teacher Education. In 2012 UNESCO renewed Professor Gundara’s tenure of the UNESCO Chair for a further five years until 2017. An interview with Professor Jagdish Gundara is available at the UNESCO archives

    International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE)

    The IAIE is a worldwide network of professionals working in the field of intercultural studies and intercultural education. In 2013 the Secretary General of the International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE), Dr Leslie Bash, brought the Headquarters of the IAIE into the International Centre for Intercultural Studies (ICIS) at IOE.

    Through dialogue with sister networks with national or regional remits and located in other parts of the world such as: National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) in the USA, the Korean Association for Multicultural Education (KAME), and other national and regional networks in the field such as Interkultura, the IAIE has become a co-operative hub across the world of networks in the field.

    This enables the IAIE and the ICIS in IOE to disseminate effectively to teacher education and development programmes in almost all countries of the world the principles and practices of quality practices in intercultural studies.

    Our staff

    Director: Professor Zhu Hua 
    Deputy Director: Professor John O’Regan

    Core members

    Affiliated members


    Our activities


    Some examples of new and current research agendas include: 

    • What is culture? Who talks about culture and for what purpose? How are cultural differences socially or discursively constructed?
    • What do ‘cross-cultural’, ‘intercultural’ and ‘transcultural’ mean? What implications do these different paradigms have for policy and practice?
    • What do globalisation, migration, changing geopolitics and the Covid pandemic mean for Intercultural Studies?
    • What role does culture have in language learning and developing learners’ outlook and identity?
    • What role does language and intercultural learning and understanding have in equalising opportunities for individuals of diverse backgrounds across their lifespan and for marginalised groups?
    • What role do intercultural learning and global citizenship play in language education and education in general? How are these concepts contested? What opportunities do they present in the post-Covid world?
    • What roles do symbolic power, institutional power, corporate power, economic power, political power, the power of monolingual ideologies, and capitalist governmentality play in intercultural communication and intercultural practices?
    • How can Intercultural Studies contribute to the decolonisation agenda in education and society?
    • What are the perks and perils of intercultural encounters mediated through digital technology (e.g., Zoom, Twitter, Facebook, online blogs)?
    • How do language, identity and culture interact and impact on each other?
    • What methodological innovations does interculturality bring to Intercultural Studies?

    The centre organises a series of seminars in the following strands:

    • Language learning and intercultural communication
    • Language, culture and communication
    • Intercultural education
    • Internationalisation
    • Social justice
    • Intercultural creativity

    2024 Seminars

    23 January 2024, 6:30 - 7:30pm

    2023 Seminars

    22 November 2023, 5 - 6pm

    23 May 2023, 5 - 6pm

    08 March 2023, 2 - 4:00 pm

    In conversation with

    In conversation with is an event series hosted by the International Centre for Intercultural Studies in which eminent scholars, researchers and practitioners engage in open conversations with a member of the Centre and audiences about intercultural studies and practice.

    Events in the series

    21 February 2024, 4 - 5:30pm

    05 December 2023, 11:30 am - 12:30pm

    11 May 2023, 4 - 5pm

      Project and partnerships

      On the IOE Student Blog: