International NORDPLUS ADULT project “SURPRISE meeting other culture” (NPAD-2016/10046)

Project period: 09/2016 – 09/2017

Project implemented in the context of the refugee crisis in Europe.



The project is run by LATVIAN CHRISTIAN ACADEMY.

Partnering institutions:

·       Mullsjo Folkhogskola, SE,

·       Free Society Union, EE,

·       Project management and training center, LT.



EU is witnessing sudden and steep rise in the numbers of migrants. Consequently, the needs of the 21st century demand a citizenry that is culturally sensitive and internationally focused with an orientation toward the future rather than the past. The project deals with the problem of communication between representatives of distinct ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds which plays an integral role in the process of development of cohesion and the EU labor market.

The mere presence of an ethnically and racially diverse student population, due to legal, moral or social imperatives, does not make a school multicultural. A diverse classroom is the ideal laboratory in which to learn the multiple perspectives required by a global society and to put to use information concerning diverse cultural patterns. The project promotes (1) sensitivity  to other cultures and racial / ethnic groups that are marginal to the dominant culture, (2) works for an entire paradigm shift, different mindset, which gives rise to a whole new way of seeing the world as inclusive, (3) brings a change in institutional and societal structures – so as to create an environment (Baltic, Nordic) which is inclusive of all groups, is safe of differences and where everyone benefits.

Adopting a truly global perspective allows to view culturally and linguistically diverse students as resources who provide unparalleled  opportunities for enrichment. The project responds to the need for greater repertoire of approaches to teaching and learning to cope with varied styles of learning. Teachers and students alike cultivate interpersonal skills and respect for other cultures.

The concept of diversity encompasses more than commonly accepted determinants of ethnicity and race; also cultural and socioeconomic factors play a large part in how a person interacts in society. The project works for development of the European society towards a society in which individuality is retained and valued, a cultural mosaic created from millions of unique pieces.



To develop methodological Handbook to be used by adult educators, social workers and other professionals of helping professions.



1.  Project launch on-line conference. Time frame of the Project – 05.09.2016. Project web-site.

2.  Project planning meeting of all partners. Field trip to refugee camp “Mucenieki” (Latvia) – 29.09. – 30.09. 2016.

3.  Project implementation meeting (LV, LT, EE, SE): November 2016.

4.  Drafting the structure of the methodological instructional Handbook (LV, LT, EE, SE): December 2016.

5.  Project meeting; field trip to RC (EE) – January 2017.

6.  Drafting the contents of the methodological instructional Handbook – February / April 2017.

7.  Project on-line conference (LV) (Skype) – May 2017.

8.  Printing the methodological instructional Handbook (60 pages, color, 1500 copies) – May / August 2017.

9.  Project results presentation seminar – August / September 2017.

10.     Dissemination of the Handbook – August / September 2017. DISSEMINATION PROLONGED TILL MEETING IN MULLSO FOLKHOGSKOLA (SE): Date to be scheduled for 2018.



  1. Adulteducation instructional tool for professionals and volunteers working with migrant population and refugees – Handbook “SURPRISE: meeting other culture” in print and available online as PDF book in the project webpage (available here by clicking on the cover photo). 


  1. Webpage containing:

a)      Links to partner’s webpages:

Project Management and Training Center (LT)

Free Union Society (EE)

Mullsjo Folkhogskola (SE)

b)      Various useful links (see at the end of this page),

c)      Case studies based on photos.

  1. Photo exhibition “SURPRISE: meeting other culture” (at Latvian Christian academy, LV).



Adult educators, school and HEI pedagogues, communication speciālists, cultural anthropologists, refugee center workers, social workers, Church leaders, asylum seeker’s centers and others involved in migration pilicy implementation as well as broader public.



Key staff responsible  for monitoring and quality evaluation:

Ramune Mereckiene  (LT),

Aimar Altosaar (EE),

Ulf Petersson (SE),

Valters Dolacis (LV).



Ilze Riekstiņa (LV),

Janyna Zambute (LT),

Elvyra Aciene (LT).



Project will go on after its termination of the NORDPLUS-ADULT.



Study module for Social work study programmes for HEIs on the topic “How to work with migrants and asylum seekers”.


Visit to Mullsjo Folkhogskola scheduled for January 2018.


2. Project PLANNING MEETING – September 2016.

Field trip to refugee camp.

3. Artists’ workshop.


4. Working on the structure of the HANDBOOK – January 2017.




The following literature was recommended to participants as a reference in the project SURPRISE implementation. All links will take you to PDF documents:

A Toolkit for ESL Practicioners: Supporting Skilled Immigrants. World Education Services, 2011.

Abrams S., Moio A. Critical race Theory  and the Cultural Competence Dilemmma in Social Work Education. – Journal of Social Work education, Vol. 45, Nr. 2, 2009.

“FROM MIGRANTS  TO WORKERS: Regional and local practices on integration of labour migrants and refugees in rural areas in the Nordic countries”.

Holliday A. Intercultural Communication and Ideology. London: SAGE Publ., 2011.

Moon, J. A. A Handbook of reflective and experiential learning. Theory and practice. Routledge Falmer: L., NY.; 2004.

Muslim integration into Western Cultures: Between origins and destinations. HARVARD Kennedy School, 2009.

Novinger, T. Intercultural Communication – A Practical Guide. University of

Texas Press: Austin. 2001.

Protection of refugees who belong to minorities: The UN high commissioner for refugees.

Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., McDaniel,E. R. Intercultural Communication: A Reader. WADSWORTH. 2012.

Pumariega A., Rothe E. Mental health of imigrants and refugees – Community Mental Health Journal, Vol. 41, Nr. 5, October 2005.

The Camp Managemet Toolkit. Norwegial Refugee Council, 2008.

UNHCR Resettlement: Handbook. Division of International Protection. 2011.

Useful link to the  Nordic Welfare centre which is a hub for knowedlege exchange.


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