Intercultural education in times of restricted travel: Lessons from the Gaza Strip





  • Maria Grazia Imperiale Email University of Glasgow, UK


This article draws upon a research project on intercultural language education conducted online between 2014 and 2017 with people living in the Gaza Strip (Palestine). Because the Gaza Strip has been under blockade since 2007, people cannot travel in and out freely. This context thus prompts educators and scholars to reflect on intercultural competence from a context of protracted crisis and of forced immobility. This study considers pre-service and in-service English teachers’ understandings of intercultural competence and how these educators encourage intercultural communicative competence (ICC) in their classrooms in the Gaza Strip, where neither teachers, nor students, may have travelled abroad or experienced a face-to-face intercultural encounter. Based on this analysis, this article argues that frameworks for intercultural education and ICC need to capture non-movement and the lack of face-to-face intercultural encounters as agentic in definitions of interculturality. In other words, ICC should be conceptualised in terms of the actual freedoms and opportunities that individuals have to develop and nurture it. In order to propose such a model, this article connects ICC with the capabilities approach (Nussbaum, 2011; Sen, 1999), the capability of mobility (de Haas, 2010), and with the capacity to aspire (Appadurai, 2004).

Keywords: intercultural communicative competence (ICC), mobility, aspirations, protracted crisis, digital

Suggested Citation:

Imperiale, M. G. (2021). Intercultural education in times of restricted travel: Lessons from the Gaza Strip. Intercultural Communication Education, 4(1), 22–38.