Section head, migration and refugee aid, Austrian Red Cross Vienna
After having worked for the General Secretariat of the Austrian Red Cross in the Department for International Relations, Elisabeth Palugyay changed to the Viennese Office where she is heading the section of migration and refugee aid. Before coming to Vienna, she worked as project manager in Munich, where she also completed her studies of international law and political science. She later focused on the Near and Middle East, she spent time abroad in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. During her postgraduate studies at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, she focused on humanitarian law and the development of human rights. As a passionate traveler, her research has brought her to Ukraine, the Balkans, Armenia and India.
In her current position, Elisabeth is promoting interreligious dialogue as an essential part of intercultural integration projects and social inclusion and the core of mutual understanding and acceptance. By building up respectful communication, it is possible to learn about and from each other.
Her motto is: If you open your heart to learn and respect each other, the world will be your inspiration.
Interreligious Activities and Initiatives
PANEL: Intercultural Dialogue in Academia and School Education as Opportunity towards a more inclusive Society
The initiative was implemented as a panel discussion on the topic of intercultural dialogue in academia and school education with experts from the field of humanitarian education, representatives of religious communities in Vienna and experts working in the field of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. The background of choosing that topic lies in the current local sociopolitical development of rising xenophobia and the tendency of building enclaves according to the communities of people with migration background and communities of the host country. There is the need of structures, that bring people of various backgrounds together in society with the aim of building and strengthening a solid base for a long-term and peaceful process of integration. As integration is a multilevel and multidimensional process, it is necessary to connect all actor involved. Education in school and academia is an essential key for building up peaceful structures of coexistence and mutual understanding. Both sides need to be included, meaning the intercultural training for pedagogues as well as intercultural education for pupils and students. Based on the professional experience of the panelists, the leading questions behind the panel discussion were covering the current situation in schools in Vienna and Lower Austria, the actions that are already taken and the needs for further embedment of intercultural dialogue in the curricula of Academia and School Education. It became clear that there is a high need of intercultural training especially for pedagogues in school, who are teaching in a multicultural and multilingual environment and face the challenge of peaceful integration daily. It was agreed on the necessity of further actions between pedagogues and representatives of the religious communities with the aim of organizing easy accessible Q & A Sessions as well as dialogue training for mutual learning and understanding.