Intercultural Conversations (IC) is an annual educational exchange between a diverse group of 40 Native and non-Native youth who come together to discuss activism, share culture, and address critical issues facing Indigenous and all peoples.
2021 marked our 5th year and cohort for the IC program, a milestone in our larger goal to transform the lives of 400 students within 10 years. IC fosters future environmental and social justice leaders through talking circle discussions and in-person cultural exchanges, except during the pandemic. Based on the evidence that exposing youth to cross-cultural issues and contexts will provide a foundation for leadership, IC provides a platform for diverse youth across the nation to learn together through facilitated discussions and accompanying Native American Studies curricula.
In 2019, months of learning, dialogue, and friendship culminated in two in-person cultural exchanges on the Navajo Nation and Hopi lands in June and at the Bioneers Conference in October. Participants experienced profound personal development in their ability to relate to and empathize with others, understand complex issues, and communicate cross-culturally. Native youth were provided the space to share about their culture, communities, and experiences. Non-Native youth learned how to support their peers and Indigenous communities. All participants developed leadership skills and their capacity to understand intersectional environmental and social justice stories critical to the future health and well-being of the planet.
This year’s cohort will continue meeting virtually and then meet in-person for both the Bioneers conference in the spring and Coastal California Exchange in the summer. Recruitment for this year will close on February 19th, 2022.
To learn more about this year’s discussion topics and schedule, read our Program Description for 2022.
“Throughout my time in the Bioneers Intercultural Conversations Program, I have had the opportunity to broaden my viewpoint and see the world from a different perspective that reflects the true diversity and uniqueness of the Native American culture. Thanks to Bioneers, I feel like I have gained an amazing experience that provided me with an authentic and valuable education about Native Americans from the Native Americans, themselves.”
-2019 Youth Participant, Oakland, CA