absolutely intercultural 155 +++ Intensive Seminar +++ Izmir +++ Corporate Social Responsibility +++ European Companies +++ Crisis +++ Non-Profit Organization +++ SERVAS +++

Students donating their used clothes at Yasar University IzmirToday I am going to talk about CSR which is short for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. My students and I visited an intercultural Erasmus Intensive Program for students and lecturers from 12 different universities all over Europe organized in Izmir at Yasar University in Turkey. We all shared our knowledge and experience concerning the different approaches to CSR in different countries and learned a lot about challenges and benefits in the European context. In general you could say that CSR is meant to improve the relationship between a company and all its stakeholders. It actually must be the responsibility of us all and especially of successful companies to protect society and the environment. CSR also changes company cultures by improving the relationship with employees, suppliers, customers, the environment and the local community.

absolutely timely
We organized a roundtable discussion about CSR with lecturers from all over Europe who all participated in the ERASMUS Intensive Program in Izmir. Together with Ann Knaepen from the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, Carla de Lima from the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança in Portugal, Dr. Reka Jablonkai from Corvinus University Budapest in Hungary and Anne Burke from the Letterkenny Institute of Technology in Ireland we discussed different examples of CSR in those countries. We discussed, whether the middle of an economic crisis is really the right time to spend money on CSR-projects.

absolutely win-win
In this category, I would like to dive into the topic a little deeper. I am talking to Laura Brandt from the Haute Ecole de la Province de Liège in Belgium. She is a lecturer for Entrepreneurship and a bit of an expert on SMEs, which means “Small and Medium sized Enterprises”. She tells us that, in fact, 99% of all European companies are SMEs. These companies are facing tough economic challenges right now in the crisis. Laura explains why it is so important for SMEs to integrate Corporate Social Responsibility in their “core business values”. I asked her to tell us how she found out about the subject before joining the intensive seminar in Turkey. Laura gives an interesting example of a cleaning company in which CSR really turned into a win-win situtation for the company and all its stakeholders.

absolutely communicative
Our last guest for today is Adelheid Korpp. Adelheid and her husband love traveling. About 10 years ago, when they decided to travel around the world, she got in touch with an organization called Servas. Servas provides travellers with free accommodation all over the world, but you only get invited to stay at a host’s place if you obey certain rules of the system. Adelheid will explain how she got in touch with Servas and how the system works. This may, in fact, be the best way to get in touch with locals while travelling through different countries. In my opinion Servas is also an excellent example of a non-profit organisation which could be supported by companies. So, if you are a CEO and you are looking for a good CSR-cause – please do get in touch with them.

Our next show will again be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann on July 6st.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer



absolutely intercultural 49 +++ Texas is a state of mind +++ American-German genealogy +++ travelling with Servas +++

rows and rows of Cowboy boots int a shop in Austin, Texasabsolutely Texas
Gosh – the internet seems to put not just the world, but also our family history, at our finger tips. I noticed this on my last trip to Texas. People from all over the world do research in the Sophienburg Museum and Archives to find their ancestors. A family of three generations in 2008 find their roots in New Braunfels. Volunteer organisations help us to travel the world with a “very restricted budget”.

absolutely unbelievable
Laurent tells us about an unbelievable coincidence he witnessed during his stay in Texas. An American family of three generations makes a trip to an immigration museum in New Braunfels between Austin and St. Antonio to do some research with the help of an old photograph which shows their family house. To everybody’s astonishment this turns out to be the very house the director of the museum lives in. All this unfolds while the microphone is running …

absolutely Texan-German
Linda Dietert, a true “Texan-German” tells us about the history of the Texas settlers in the 1850s. Their descendants, some of whom still speak some German after all these generations, are often happy to talk about their background in the “old world” and keep up some of the old traditions such as sausage-making . But of course a Texan “Bratwurst” does not have the same taste as its German relatives – and why should it?

absolutely hospitable
Agnes tells us about the “Hospitality Club” where you can find places to stay for your next journey if you cannot afford to pay for accommodation on your travels. Adelheid Korpp provides detailed information about “Servas” a non-profit organization which also puts you in contact with hosts around the world and she shares her experiences with us. We hear about hosts who give out their keys to guests whom they have never seen before or offer their own cars instead of telling you where to rent one. This Servas-spirit of sharing is meant to “foster new insight, knowledge and tolerance of others”.

The next show will be coming to you on 8 February from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The hosts of this show are: Dr. Laurent Borgmann and Agnes Dus
Editor: Mathias Knops