ICD Conference - Kortrijk

Colour your Cocktail: Get more out of Diversity!

Friday, 1st October 2010

This 5th and final ICD Conference with 237 registrations from 16 different countries was hosted by Kanaal 127. It took place at the elegant Budascoop art centre (www.budakortrijk.be), which is well equipped for any requirements of big conferences.
Since Kanaal 127 is a centre of excellence for social economy, the conference focused on interculturality or intercultural dialogue in relation to labour market and business development and was used to disseminate the ideas of weReurope at the same time.

The conference started with something unexpected: Instead of the opening speech L'Orchestre International du Vetex entered the stage in the imposing and huge theatre hall playing Gypsy rhythms and thus preparing the audience well for the event. Formed in 2004, the orchestra gathers professional and amateur musicians from Flanders, Wallonia and the North of France. The musicians announced breaks and accompanied the participants to the workshop venue in the neighbouring Budatower.

The official welcome speech was held by Jean De Bethune, Alderman of the City of Kortrijk. He was followed by Rik Desmet, Director of Kanaal127 and one of the founding fathers of social economy. He gave an introduction to the motive of the event and the idea of weReurope welcoming participants from 16 different countries.

The keynote speech "Cultural awareness starts with self-awareness" by Arie Vos, (Corgo Executive Partners) was meant to challenge the experts taking part in the subsequent debate, with TV-moderator Chris Denijs (VRT): Jean-Louis Carves, Diversity Program Manager, IBM France; Luc Vande Walle, diversity trainer, Activa Belgium; Helen O'Donoghue, Head of Education & Community Programmes, Irish Museum of Modern Art; Zahra Moini, Director, Norwegian Center for Multicultural Value Creation; Leila Jaffar, Director-Advisor, Jaffar Consultancy, Netherlands. The expert from Luxembourg Marc Müller, unfortunately could not come, due to illness.
The purpose of the debate was to introduce experts and to give the audience an idea what their workshops would be like to help them make their choice.

After this introduction, the "Open space workshops" took place in 2 rounds, 3 befire the lunch break and 2 in the afternoon:

The workshop by Marc Müller (4 Motion, Luxemburg), Managing a cross-border workforce: lessons learnt from Luxemburg for Kortrijk-Lille had to be cancelled for above mentioned reasons.
Participation in workshop ranged from 12 to 55 participants, which made it sometimes difficult to really be interactive.

For the closing plenary a number of local and regional experts had been invited.
Heidi Proot, PNO Consultants, Subsidies for Diversity in your HR-Policy and Dominique Valcke, General Manager D. Stadsbader-Flamand, NV Diversity as a Challenge for your HR-Policy, followed by Els Blatton, Chief Information Officer (AXA), who announced the forthcoming bestowal of the first "AXA Wo_Men@Work award".
Since this conference was the very final event in the course of the project weReurope, its coordinator, Dr. Gabriele Stöger, ibw (Vienna) took the opportunity to thank all participants, experts, partners and hosts for making the project a success and for celebrating this so well with this final conference.
She referred to the website and the forthcoming production of a brochure on Intercultural Dialogue Conferences and sent special greetings to Judith Cerwenka, "head, heart and financial mastermind of weReurope", but unfortunately could not participate in this great finale.
The conference was closed by the speech of Johan Vandenbussche, Director of the office of the Secretary of State, who replaced the State Secretary for Social Integration and Combating Poverty, Philippe Courard, and who expressed his appreciation of the event and the activities of the weReurope consortium.

All participants were then invited to take away the weReurope postcards on leaving the conference hall and to stay together for a fair-trade cocktail, snacks, talks and further networking. More than 120 participants had stayed on in good atmosphere, supported by the Orchestre de Vetex.

All ICD-Conference material can be downloaded here: [Format: pdf]

Copyright - weReurope 2009