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Diversity, super-diversity and ethnic entrepreneurship related to learning and competence development

A seminar with presentations and discussions within this new research topic, and how it can be related to intercultural pedagogy and teaching in heterogenous groups

Oplysninger om arrangementet


torsdag 22. november 2012, kl. 11:00 - fredag 23. november 2012, kl. 14:30


Roskilde Universitet, Bygning 25.3 Penthouse, Universitetsvej 1, 4000 Roskilde

Find the program here

In recent years the themes for NVL’s thematic research networks have been integration, innovation, super diversity, transnational competences and entrepreneurship. NVL’s network on adult pedagogy has since 2006 been focusing on quality through competence development of those who work with adult’s learning processes.
At the seminar in Roskilde new research on super diversity, transnational competences and entrepreneurship will be presented and discussed on Thursday the 22nd.
Working with diversity and super diversity in heterogeneous groups requires something else of those who work with organizing, implementing and assessing adult’s learning processes on different arenas. On Friday 23rd the requirements are discussed. There will be presentations on intercultural pedagogy, and on learning and competence development in transnational working groups. The aim is to collect input, ideas, and expressed competence needs from the participants, which will form the basis for NVL’s work in the next 4-year period.
The seminar is arranged as a collaboration between Roskilde University, Mälardalens Högskola, Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), National Centre of Competence Development (NCK) and Nordic network on adult learning (NVL).


Economic Consequences of Migration in the Nordic Countries, Shahamak Rezaei

Most people, including immigrants, make decisions on a rational basis. People should be regarded as equal, but this does not mean that ‘one box fits all’. To ensure equal opportunities it might be necessary to treat people different. Most immigrants will never be part of the core labour market, but of the marginal labour market, being dependent on central business lines but not on each other. This leads to economic competition and the necessity to cut expenses wherever possible (taxes, security, …).

The main reason that immigrants left their home country was to achieve socioeconomic mobility. Since they can achieve that without being integrated, they are not necessarily interested in that at all.

We keep talking about ‘changing the mind-set’ but that takes away attention from the structures. The structures keep immigrants out of the core labour market and core business lines – the emphasis ought to be on changing them.

There is huge overeducation among immigrants – in different degrees for different groups. Policies should be differentiated accordingly.

Presentation and Introduction to NVL, Maria Marquard

NVL (Nordic Network for Adult Learning) is an organisation under Nordic Council of Ministers, aiming to bring organisations together across sectors and across the Nordic countries.

Presentation of IFS, Maroun Aoun

IFS (Internationella Företagarföreningen i Sverige) is an organisation supporting immigrant entrepreneurs in Sweden, working with guidance, competence development and advocacy.

Super-Diversity, Transnational Competences and – Entrepreneurship. Emerging Themes from UK, Monder Ram

Steven Vertovec has defined super-diversity as the arrival of new, small and scattered, multiple-origin, transnationally connected, socio-economically differentiated and legally stratified immigrants:

New, small

Earlier, immigrants hailed from only 4-5 nationalities in a larger number from each society. Today, immigrants hail from about 60 nationalities, hence there is a fewer number from each nationality, stemming from much more diverse societies.


In the 1980’s the immigrants were concentrated in a few cities, whereas today they are spread all over UK as a result of a political decision – all cities experience super-diversity


The immigrants originates from everywhere

Transnationally connected

Earlier immigrants came to the UK and stayed there, visiting the homeland very rarely. Today sustaining a link to the homeland or to other countries where they have an extended network is part of daily life

Socio-economically differentiated

Immigrants used to be a homogenous group, whereas today the have very different class background. A chance that has implications for integration policy

Legally stratified

Immigrants have very different legal status (refugees, asylum seekers, EU citizens), which has implications for their possibilities to lend money, start a business; the capacity to become entrepreneurs

It is decisive how we construct migration – as a drain (something that should be limited) or as a rare talent that we can utilize (something we should get more of).

For ethnic entrepreneurs transnationalism played a role in

  • Settlement – social capital – diversity attracts talents
  • Creating markets
  • Money transfer (get loans from families overseas, not from the bank)
  • Labour circulation

Immigrants are still concentrated in particular economic sectors, filling entrepreneurial spaces left by the main stream – there is still unrealised human capital

So what?

  • Internationalise academic models (mixed embeddedness)
  • Link economic models to more social models – how do migrant businesses actually run?
  • Policy implications
  • Researchers – practitioners. Interaction
  • Engage more directly with minorities and entrepreneurs
  • Change discourse towards entrepreneurship and innovation

Migration Corridors, Diasporas and Transnational Entrepreneurship – Diaspora as a Link for Cross-border Entrepreneurship, Bengt Henoch

Suggests specific means to realize the potential of migration corridors and overcome obstacles.

Konsten att lära av det främmande i globaliserade läringsarenor, Bosse Bergstedt

Find the full presentation here

How do we manage the challenges we meet in today’s globalised world? How does globalization impact pedagogy?

Thoughts about Learning, Competence Development, and Roles in Transnational Working Groups, Bengt Henoch

How to build team competences? Not everybody in a diaspora team needs the same knowledge – there ought to be a diversified curriculum for each team role. This could also be applied to other kinds of teams. 

Future Requirements and Challenges especially regarding the Labour Market, Bent Greve

We still have a long way to go when it comes to acknowledgement and validation of informal competences. As long as they are not validated, it is difficult to build on them. Income security is reduced in all the Nordic countries within the last 15 years – flexicurity is under pressure. It is necessary to invest for the welfare state to overcome the economic challenges.

How could NVL contribute? Ideas for future work

The participants elaborated on ideas for further work under the auspices of NVL. The suggestions for further work involved both specific themes, ideas for exchanging experience, the form of the work and more general views of issues the participants considered to be important.

Thoughts on overall issues and suggestions of methods, tools and models that should be elaborated further; themes that should be covered in mappings and/or research; themes for Nordic or national seminars; and ideas for networks is listed below.

Overall issues:

Entrepreneurship should be more integrated in the lifelong learning
Inclusive entrepreneurship
Learn to live/learn more innovative and creative
Society needs more knowledge
Social Entrepreneurship


Holistic methods (cf. Bengt Henoch)
Ownership, empowering methods

Tools and models:

Access (ICT tools) – should be integrated in all
Tools for identifying knowledge (validation) for further knowledge building
Specific tools – i.e. religious guides and citizenship ceremonies
Develop Nordic model for assessment/validation of foreign education and previous experience (i.e. higher education academics)
Models for mentoring programs workplace language training (example: Community of Copenhagen) 

Themes for documentation and mappings:

How do structures/institution/regulations influence which groups immigrants become part of? What affects who becomes successes or failures?
How do groups become main stream (staying in the ‘original’ sector)
How to improve export – mapping of educational initiatives
The efforts/initiatives that works

Themes for seminars:

Possibilities for integration. Would new frames and/or organisation be required? What should characterize the frames? The organisations?
Experience from specific project, working with multi-religious guides (the municipality of Copenhagen)
How can the formal and the non-formal education system contribute? General education?
Focus on the individual's needs
How to make the ‘nice thoughts’ hands-on-practical


Develop network for training-the trainer-studies (for illiterates or basic education)