In the current context of globalizationour cultural environment undergoes changes, becoming increasingly diverse . Cultural diversity is an essential condition in human society and needs to be developed and managed appropriately to avoid problems of understanding and tolerance that can lead to problems, such as discrimination, xenophobia, stereotypes, among others. In principle, there is no culture better than another. Rather , a culture evolves when it interacts with other cultures that may come from different linguistic and sociocultural contexts . However, it is important that this contact takes place in a respectful way and that is when the notion ofinterculturality .

What is interculturality?

Interculturality can be defined as the set of relationships and interactions that take place intentionally between different cultures in order to promote dialogue, mutual respect and the awareness of preserving the cultural identity of each individual . It should be noted that this concept not only refers to the relationships that develop between individuals belonging to different countries or regions of the world, it also takes into account individuals who are within the same community but who have different characteristics from the point of view ethnic, social or otherwise.


It should be noted that the prefix “inter” of the term “interculturality” indicates the relationship and interactions between groups, individuals, identities. Thus, this prefix, together with the word culture, refers to a sense of reciprocity between cultures .

  • What is interculturality?
  • What is it for
  • Characteristics of interculturality
  • goals
  • Process
  • Importance of interculturality
  • Phrases about interculturality
  • Examples

What is interculturality?

Interculturality consists of respectful interaction between people belonging to different cultural backgrounds . This interaction takes place under equal conditions and involves the ability to communicate with the other, from the knowledge and understanding of their culture. In this way, interculturality contributes to integration, solidarity and coexistence between individuals .

What is it for

  • For the understanding of intercultural differences which helps to avoid misunderstandings and to have effective communication.
  • In the business field, interculturality is very useful to adapt to different professional environments. Intercultural competence favors working in multilingual and multicultural teams.
  • To understand the culture of the other while maintaining coherence with their own culture.
  • To open up to new cultural forms and perceptions of reality without this implying leaving aside their own identity.

Characteristics of interculturality

Interculturality can take different forms and is generally an enriching experience . Contact with other cultures can represent a unique opportunity to reflect on one’s own culture and the world .

On the other hand, there must be mutual recognition since this will allow the individual to recognize the other as another and accept him as he is. It is about adopting a position of openness and tolerance towards the identity of the other .


In general terms, the goal of interculturality is to learn to coexist peacefully and constructively in a multicultural world . Furthermore, intercultural dialogue can be a valuable tool for the prevention and resolution of conflicts and for promoting respect for human rights .

Other objectives that can be mentioned in terms of interculturality, is the fact of sharing perceptions of the world in order to understand and learn from those who perceive the world in a different way from their own. Likewise, intercultural communication contributes to managing cultural diversity in a democratic way and developing projects jointly .


Interculturality is a process through which individuals from different cultures interact to learn both from their own culture and from the culture of others.

It is important to distance yourself from your own beliefs , without rejecting them and learn to objectify the reference system of your own culture. Likewise, it is important to put yourself in the place of the other and develop empathy towards the other. Apprehending a culture means projecting yourself from another perspective . However, it should be noted that the culture of the other should not be generalized or reduced to a set of stereotypes .

Finally, one must overcome prejudices and try to understand the other and their way of perceiving reality. This will allow the correct decoding of the messages emitted by the other. Of course, it is important to be endowed with a series of knowledge that will allow us to understand the behavior of the other.

Importance of interculturality

Interculturality can be a means to develop citizenship training since it allows the acquisition of values ​​such as respect for others and tolerance in order to live in society in a harmonious way.

In addition, cultural diversity is far from being a drawback, it is a wealth . Proof of this, we can see them in powers like the United States , which have been able to take advantage of the contribution of the different cultures that converge there.

In business, having intercultural skills is very important today for a number of reasons. Companies not only want their employees to have a better understanding of their workplace and their colleagues, but also for them to have the ability to adapt to new work environments and prevent culture clashes .

Phrases about interculturality

“Interculturality refers to the presence and equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility of generating shared cultural expressions, acquired through dialogue and an attitude of mutual respect.” (Unesco)

“The world changes if two look at each other and recognize each other” (Octavio Paz)

“There are multicultural societies, but there are still no intercultural societies” (Elizabeth Flores)

“If we cannot put an end to our differences, let us help make the world a fit place for them” (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

“I am convinced that the future belongs to non-violence, to the reconciliation of different cultures” (Stéphane Hessel)



The educational model implemented in some Mexican universities constitutes a good example of interculturality. Indeed, Mexico has 12 intercultural universities that focus on indigenous communities and on key strategic areas to promote their development. It is important to remember that in this country there is a large indigenous population.


40% of the Ecuadorian population is made up of indigenous communities within which 14 nationalities are distinguished. Indeed, in Ecuador, fourteen languages ​​are spoken. Thus, within the same country, there is a diversity of cultural forms that converge and mutually enrich each other. On the other hand, Ecuador has created a “bilingual intercultural” indigenous educational system.


In Chile , an intercultural education program has been implemented, a measure that has the intention of recognizing the culture of the Mapuches (original peoples of Chile), especially the Mapuche language, in a society in which culture dominates Chilean. However, according to the National Institute of Human Rights, there is still rejection of the Mapuches by Chileans. Indeed, the perception that exists about the Mapuches is generally negative. In this case, an authentic intercultural dialogue is necessary for the recognition and coexistence with the other.

Leave a Comment