Educating Democratically and Interculturally Competent Citizens: A Virtual Exchange between University Students in Argentina and the USA

Document Type : Original Article


1 University of Maryland, Baltimore County, US

2 Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET (National Research Council), Argentina


In this paper we present the analysis and interpretation of data collected during an intercultural virtual exchange undertaken in 2020 in which students from Argentina and the USA explored how trauma and suffering associated with COVID-19 can be channeled through collaborative artistic multimodal creations, and how approaching this in a productive way can lead to self-transformation in terms of intercultural and civic growth.
To obtain unbiased data, we did not give the students information on the Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC; 2018) which was fundamental to our conceptualization. Here, we apply an ex post facto research method to explore which of the 20 competences for democratic culture included in the RFCDC were mobilized and deployed by our students during this project. We do so by analyzing their multimodal artistic creations, social actions, and their civic statements from the perspective of the RFCDC definitions and descriptors.
Findings indicate that the virtual exchange project contributed to the cultivation of ‘democratically and interculturally competent citizens’ as conceptualized in the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture.