The activities of ReSPA are
funded by the European Union

Training highlights


Training on Advanced Intercultural Communication



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This three day highly intensive seminar builds on feedback received from participants in a “Workshop on Interest Representation and Intercultural Communication” held in ReSPA in January 2012.
Participants in this seminar will be trained in intercultural communication (theory and skills) with an eye on interest representation (lobbying, negotiation, effective communication) within the framework of public administration and the European Union.
The training will start with anthropological and sociological definitions of culture. Participants will examine national cultures, regional differences, professional cultures and organizational cultures. In a short exercise participants will experience operating in an environment in which the cultural rule set is unclear and draw conclusions.
Participants will also brainstorm and discuss cultural differences within the region, in Europe and with selected other countries. Throughout the course they will be confronted with cases of culturally sensitive situations in which they have to indicate the specific cultural problems.
Special attention will be given to communicating with or in the EU, which comes with its own professional culture. The specific working culture in Brussels will be discussed and also practiced with an EU accession negotiation exercise. Participants will also receive training in lobbying and getting their message across effectively. Several self-assessments will help participants understand their communication style which will enable them to reflect on cultural elements within their own style.


Recognizing that public servants in the region face a variety of challenges when operating outside of their own administration, ReSPA has commissioned this advanced training. The principle objective being to equip participants with advanced knowledge, more developed skills and a deeper understanding of the various factors and practices impacting on successful communications in a variety of inter-cultural environments. The seminar will assist participants to enhance their professional skill set and personal competencies and enable them to be key change agents in inter-cultural communications in their own off cie environment.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
-Understand the difference between national culture, professional culture and organizational culture;
-Be able to recognize key cultural differences and be aware of the basics of intercultural communication;
-Be able to work with, or adapt to, cultural differences (depending on the situation);
-Understand the EU working culture;
-Understand the key principles of effective communication;
-Have practiced their skills and competencies in intercultural communication, lobbying and negotiation via simulations and role-plays;
-Explain cultural differences and be aware of the basics of intercultural communication;
-Understand psychological processes in general and specific individual reactions to cultural differences and negotiation situations.


The seminar aims to create a shared understanding of how cultural differences impact upon communications between administrations and with the EU. Therefore it commences by defining culture, exploring different cultural classification systems and dimensions. Then it proceeds to explore the impact of those different cultural elements on:
-Effective communication;
The highly intensive nature of the seminar is reflected by the fact that participants will have many opportunities to practice their skills in different simulations and case studies;
Acknowledging that not all participants will want to divulge their own cultural or communication characteristics, the trainers will provide a range of self-assessment exercises enabling participants to better understand their own approaches and areas of potential focus for development both within the programme and upon their return to their workplace and provide opportunities to discuss these issues with communication, negotiation and lobbying experts during informal exchanges during the seminar.
In order to maximize individual learning and ensure the seminar meets expectations, participants will be asked to complete a short pre-training questionnaire which will be used to tailor the expert’s inputs to the needs of the participants wherever possible

Target group

Public servants who work with or in public administration, across national borders and preferably with Brussels experience or dossiers with an EU dimension. Participants from last year’s workshop will also find this seminar particularly valuable given its advanced focus and as an opportunity to assess their progress in developing their intercultural communications skills.

Workshop trainers

 Wilbur Perlot (NL) is senior training and research fellow of the Clingendael Academy. He is a specialist in multilateral negotiations (in the EU, EU accession and more general international negotiations) and intercultural communication. Wilbur studied Rural Development Sociology (2000) at Wageningen University and graduated with a thesis in organisational anthropology on the role of culture in organising practices. After his studies he worked as a teacher and researcher for the Law and Governance group at the same university teaching the course Institutional Transformation and Instability. He has worked at the Clingendael Institute as a researcher and trainer for the Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP). From September 2006 until March 2010 he was programme editor, moderator and head of the political section of De Balie, a prominent cultural and political centre in Amsterdam. Since returning to Clingendael he has done many training sessions on negotiations, falling broadly into four categories: EU based negotiations, EU accession negotiations, general international negotiations and difficult negotiations and mediation. In every training he pays attention to cultural differences and intercultural communication.

Tony Bass (IE) is an independent trainer and consultant in EU affairs. He specialises in a number of areas including (intercultural) communications and public relations and EU Presidency preparations and training. Tony Bass is a graduate of the National College of Ireland in Dublin (IE) and the University of Warwick (UK). A career civil servant for over 30 years, he has been a press officer and communications adviser in a number of Ministries, including Press Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the Irish EU Presidency in 1996. He has extensive practical experience in EU fora including Comitology committees, Council Working Parties and Council of Ministers meetings. He was Head of Training for the Irish Presidency of the EU in 2004. Later that year he joined the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht as a seconded national expert till October 2010. Tony Bass is also a Visiting Professor of Public Relations in the College of Europe (Bruges, BE) and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague (NL).

Siniša Vuković (MNE) recently received his PhD student at University of Leiden on multiparty mediation and conflict resolution. He has a Master degree (cum laude) from the University of Leiden and a Bachelor degree from the University of Rome. He received additional training at IIASA (Austria), SAIS (Johns Hopkins University, USA) and USIP (USA). He has certificates in mediation, conflict analysis and negotiation. He teaches at the University of Leiden in their international master programme of International Relations and Diplomacy. He also taught international negotiation at the Montenegro Summer School for Junior Diplomats. As an expert in mediation and conflict analysis Siniša inevitably also discusses in his teaching intercultural communication theories and skills.


-Interactive lectures;
-Group assignments and discussions, including reflection in group on lessons learned;
-Representation exercise;
-Cultural case analysis;
-Bilateral negotiation simulation;
-Intercultural communication discussion;
-Individual communication profile and self-assessment.

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