Fostering Global Connections: Louise’s time at the International University for Intercultural Leadership

Tuesday 28 May 2024

The Global Office is proud to offer one place at the International University for Intercultural Leadership (IUIL) for 2024. Among all of our summer opportunities, this is one of the most unique experiences available to students! Project Aladdin and Bahçeşehir’s IUIl was launched under the patronage of UNESCO in 2013. This programme brings together students and academics around the world from more than 80 prestigious universities. Partnering with Bahçeşehir University, IUIL is held in Turkey – where those involved can immerse themselves in a new culture, very different to our own St Andrews Bubble. We asked one of last year’s attendees, Louise, to reflect on her time within the IUIL.

‘At the heart of the IUIL’s purpose lies intercultural dialogue. The programme consisted of 66 students from 28 countries. Throughout the two weeks, we collaborated in groups to enhance our intercultural communication skills. Our tasks involved conducting group research project working with fellow students of different cultures, backgrounds, ages, and academic levels. As a Scottish undergraduate student, I was placed in a group with Ahmed, a senior Law student from Alexandria University in Egypt, and Sol, a master’s student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Presenting our work refined our communication skills, as we clearly articulated our ideas to an audience with diverse backgrounds.

‘As an interdisciplinary student, studying both Geography and Sustainable Development, I found the range of lectures exciting. The opportunity to learn from leading professionals left me inspired to pursue my health geographies dissertation in my fourth year of university.’

The IUIL ‘involved workshops and seminars from UNESCO, UNDP, WHO, and professors from respected universities across the world. The 15 lectures sparked fruitful discussions among the students. As well as having my own take home remarks, I enjoyed hearing different perspectives. With diverse education levels, cultures, and religions, it was enriching to question my own opinions, furthering my critical thinking skills.

‘Thomas Sélégny, Timoteo Cozzio, and Emma Ziche from Project Aladdin were exceptional programmes coordinators. They organised all the activities and logistics whilst being friendly faces to all the students.

‘As well as structured learning experiences, we had many opportunities to explore Istanbul. The city bridges continents and cultures making it a unique location to learn about intercultural leadership. Cultural visits to the Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque enabled the discovery of Istanbul’s rich history. We also experienced Sufi whirling dance performances and traditional Turkish cuisine. In addition to experiencing Turkish culture, we shared food, music, and dancing from our perspective cultures during the memorable ‘Welcome to my Culture’ evening.

‘The final day consisted of an awards ceremony to celebrate the two weeks of knowledge sharing and new connections. I am now part of a network of over 600 alumni as UNESCO Youth Ambassadors for Peace and Intercultural Dialogue. I am sincerely grateful to Project Aladdin and Bahçeşehir University for hosting this incredible programme, and to the Global Office for highlighting the opportunity. I highly recommend the IUIL to students seeking an enriching experience in intercultural dialogue and the opportunity to foster global connections.’

This year’s theme is ‘Inclusive Sustainability: Building climate resilience and promoting women empowerment and social justice’. The programme will begin in Istanbul, then move to Giresun, Turkey. The initiative consists of lectures, workshops, site visits, and social and cultural activities. Students will carry out a research project, which will be completed after the programme and submitted to an international panel of academics in October 2024. This opportunity is open to:

  • Undergraduates who will be studying Honours level modules in 2024-2025.
  • Postgraduate taught students who will be registered throughout July 2024.
  • Students who will not be taking exams in August 2024.

Applications for this year’s place at International University for Intercultural Leadership are due at 0900 on Monday 3 June 2024. You must complete the IUIL Application Form, and, if selected, provide a cover letter and CV by Friday 7 June 2024. Please be aware that the final approval of selected students rests with the Project Aladdin team. For this reason, the University cannot guarantee that students will be accepted by the event organisers, even if you are selected for the programme by the University. For more information on IUIL and the opportunity to get involved, see our summer opportunities page or take a look at the IUIL Brochure for 2024.

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