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IDR Institute

IDRAcademy - Mission

IDRAcademy is the educational wing of the Intercultural Development Research Institute (IDRInstitute). The Academy offers a coherent curriculum of courses, seminars, and workshops that all deal with the definition, explication, and extension of a constructivist/developmental approach to intercultural studies.

The IDRAcademy is founded on the principle that coherent theory generates powerful practice. This was demonstrated in the original theoretical synthesis of anthropology and communication that gave rise to decades of successful intercultural training and education. However, like all endeavors, the intercultural field needs to constantly reenergize and refocus itself.

The Academy intends to be a leader in this effort. As the intercultural field has burgeoned in the last 30 years, its original theoretical foundation has been obscured by commercialization and diluted by unclear conceptual boundaries. Intercultural communication was from the beginning based on the principle of "theory into practice." However, as waves of practitioners sought to exploit the original theory for various commercial purposes, the growing edifice of application began to far outweigh the theoretical foundation.

The underlying concepts have become increasingly arcane and teaching techniques have been reified; practitioners are easily deluded into thinking that they are teaching the techniques themselves, rather than using the techniques to teach the underlying concepts. The theoretical foundation of the field needs to be renewed more quickly to counter the negative effect of these trends. But without a traditional disciplinary home, intercultural studies has been adopted and adapted by a variety of academic departments - communication, linguistics, cross-cultural psychology, business administration, anthropology - each with its own set of theoretical assumptions and research methods.

As a result, intercultural research is "all over the map," often dealing simply with some aspect of culture in the context of the host discipline. Without focused intercultural research, it has been difficult to generate new theory; and, of course, without coherent theory there can be no focused research, etc.

The IDRInstitute is already addressing these issues through support of basic research and definitional meetings. IDRAcademy contributes to the effort by offering both theoretical and practical courses based on coherent developmental theory and research.

The Academy fosters serious scholarship and sophisticated practice that preserves the best of intercultural communication from the past and extends those roots into the new challenges of the 21st century.

IDR Institute
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