International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership 2019


The Aladdin Project’s International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership is an annual program supported by UNESCO. It brings together students from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas for two weeks every summer.

60 students from our network of over 60 international universities gathered in 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey from July 15 – 27 to study the intersection of cultural identity, history, politics, integration, migration, religion and human rights. The two-week program was launched in Istanbul on July 17th with the inaugural opening conference at Bahçeşehir University. 

During the two-week program the students listened to lectures covering a wide variety of topics such as, the history of Islam in Europe, the development of Islam in the United States and European countries, the usage of Islamic family law in non-Muslim countries, different approaches to and theories on integration, comparative case studies on Islamophobia and Antisemitism in the UK, and how digital innovations can impact the integration and arrival of refugees in host countries.

Dr. Ann Belinda Preis, a Senior Programme Planning Officer and Chief of Section for Intercultural Dialoge at UNESCO, along with Dr. Darla Deardoff, Executive Director of the Association of International Administrators and a Research Scholar at Duke University, held a day long workshop based on the “Story Circle Experience” from the yet to be published “UNESCO Manual for Developing Intercultural Competencies”. The students not only learned the basic tools of intercultural communication, but were trained to be able to facilitate and use the tool in their various contexts and engagements back home.

A main program point of the International Summer University for Intercultural Leadership is the research project that the students start developing during the course of the program. The students divide themselves into groups and have the duration of the program to come up with and detail the theoretical framework and procedure for a research paper. All groups have the opportunity to hand in a finished paper by October, which is read and evaluated by our academic board. The authors of the three most promising papers are invited to receive the Aladdin Award later in the year.