Expand AU Menu

International Communication | SIS

Skills Institutes

The skills institutes constitute a distinctive feature of the IC Program.  They are intensive weekend workshops that allow students hands-on experiential learning. Distinguished scholar-practitioners and professionals in the field design these workshops and provide IC students with a unique set of skills applicable to the communication field. 

For skills institutes for the current or upcoming semester see: http://www.american.edu/sis/ic/ICGeneralGuidelines.cfm

Crisis Public Diplomacy 

In times of international crisis, public diplomats often serve as first responders bearing two vital responsibilities: to reactively inform concerned publics of facts on the ground and to proactively shape public perceptions so that events may be seen in a certain light. This course introduces students to the high-stakes environment of managing crises under the intense scrutiny of international audiences. Under the guidance of experienced facilitators using simulations based on real events, it develops appreciation for the advantages and challenges of dealing with a multiplicity of actors with access to information in real time, and the increased frequency of private-public collaborations in crisis management.

Presentation Skills Institute

A two-day workshop to prepare students for professional oral presentations including their graduate practica, this course covers effective use of PowerPoint and other media, presentation structure and delivery, styles of communication, and the processing of audience feedback. Students give a prepared presentation to the class and instructors provide immediate feedback and coaching.

Creative Arts and Intercultural Conflict Resolution

In today's organizations, a range of creative, holistic approaches are needed to prevent, understand, and transform conflict. Holistic approaches meet difference with dialogue, integrating intuition with analysis to inform collaborative processes. In this intensive course, participants will learn ways to work across cultural and worldview differences by drawing on a range of creative tools such as using art, the power of storytelling, and improv techniques and approaches. This course builds on previous skills institutes offered this fall, and is designed to further explore the unique combination of skills necessary for effective intercultural training. Guest facilitators will enrich this institute by providing training on various techniques.

Intercultural Training and Facilitation: Skills and Techniques

What does it mean to be a trainer? What are the skills necessary to be effective with diverse populations? How can you train children? Effective intercultural training must first and foremost be effective training. This institute reviews the unique combination of skills necessary for effective and responsible intercultural training.

Intercultural Training and Facilitation

What does it mean to be a "trainer"? What are the skills necessary to be effective with diverse populations, including children? Effective intercultural training must first be effective training. This course will review the unique combination of skills necessary for effective and responsible intercultural training with an experienced practitioner and provide participants with an opportunity to work on training designs for a variety of intercultural training challenges.

Building Mediator Capacity in a Multi-Cultural Context

To successfully tackle the challenges of today's multicultural academic and professional landscape, individuals must be able to facilitate difficult conversations and manage conflict effectively. Building the capacity to mediate successfully with differing cultural perspectives is a critical component for creating and maintaining sustainable relationships with colleagues and stakeholders. Designed as an interactive workshop, this institute provides participants with essential cross-cultural conflict management skills for building collaborative relationships when working with individuals and groups in conflict. Using hands-on exercises and simulation role-plays, participants will identify and analyze personal approaches to conflict, increase their cross-cultural competency, build their capacity as mediators, facilitators, and problem-solvers, and learn to transform conflict into opportunity. This course is designed for students and professional who are preparing to work or are already working in multicultural environments including schools, NGOs, corporations, and government agencies.

Multinational Teambuilding

This institute will explore effective communication skills and problem-solving techniques to utilize when working with teams whose members are from more than one cultural background.  Interpersonal and organizational approaches will be examined to help participants create tools for recognizing their strengths and developing cohesion among multicultural teams and individual team members, while acknowledging the contexts in which teams often function.

Gaming Simulations and Experiential Exercises for Intercultural Training

Simulations, games and experiential exercises are widely-used, effective learning tools in the area of intercultural training. Whether the sole focus of a training session or simply a training component, these exercises are used to enhance learning opportunities for participants. This two-day course combines the theory behind the use of experiential exercises with the practice. Participants will not only take part in a mix of exercises, but will also learn the pros and cons of using such exercises, as well as effective setup and debriefing techniques. The seminar will also address such issues as safety, ethics, and confidentiality. Additionally, participants will gain awareness of the deeper cultural elements brought to light by these types of exercises.  This course is designed for students or practitioners interested in the field of intercultural training or in expanding their familiarity with using such exercises. The workshop will be conducted by IMI faculty members with extensive experience in both creating and conducting experiential exercises for the intercultural training of hundreds of clients across the business, nonprofit, educational and governmental sectors.

International Student Advising

Using case studies, simulations, and videos this interactive seminar focuses on the purposes and philosophy of an international student office. The conceptual foundation, practical knowledge, and skills necessary in carrying out responsibilities of an international student advisor, including the roles and responsibilities of advisors, cross-cultural counseling and advising, intercultural programming, crisis management, administration, and ethical responsibilities.

Personal & Organization Security in a Global Age

Effective personal security strategies for participants who envision a highly-mobile international life and career. The basics of personal security, the dynamics of safety and security across cultures, and coping with business security threats on an office and organizational level. Participants develop a personal security strategy and an awareness of the dynamics of coping with personal and organizational crises in international settings.

Programming for International Education

This course is an intensive practicum for individuals whose work entails, or will entail, the design and implementation of study abroad programs, international student advisement, and campus internationalization efforts. The course takes a hands-on, skill-oriented approach to the administrative realities facing practitioners, and also gives participants opportunities to grapple with the conceptual and ethical issues associated with international programming. Case studies, critical incidents, and small-group activities are heavily utilized, and the instructor focuses upon participants' experiences and learning goals.

Intercultural Management Institute

IMI provides customized training for effective communication, negotiation and leadership across cultures.

Find out more

International Communication Link

SIS International Communication Logo

The latest International Communication Program newsletter.

Read more