“With the enlargement of Europe the number of countries, cultures and populations has grown. Educational Institutions are required to serve an increasingly diverse clientele. With a view to concept of the European basic freedoms and mobility an even wider range of expectations of the functions and missions of educational institutions emerged, in relation to their contribution to regional development, innovation and more generally to economic growth, employment, and socialization. Increasingly, however, these trends are taking place in the context of globalization which leads to fiercer competition for human, economic and financial resources across the borders of nations and continents.”
Source: v.d. Wende, Rankings and classifications in higher education: a European perspective, Enschede
The term “integration Science” was previously unknown in the English terminology. It rather used the terms “integrated science” and “science integration”, which, however, have a different meaning. Only in the German-speaking countries, the term “integration science” is applied. It stands for a field of science which integrates other sciences as “auxiliary sciences” in order to realize itself. According to this interpretation, for example, economics is an integration science, since it needs and integrates a range of auxiliary sciences such as law, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, to name a few, in order to realize itself.
The concept of the UNIDI Education Network is based on the findings of its founder who interpreted “integration science” as a science area which, merely based on social research, is concerned with the context of social and human integration processes into new living, societal, cultural, professional and work environments.
In this context, integration science is concerned with research and interdependence of complex relations during integration processes, which are defined through a “four-phase model” (Encounter – Approach – Participation – Integration) realizing its objectives through an educational approach focusing on multi-cultural, human and social change, based on cognition theory and pragmatic application.
Due to the particular social importance it carries for the general public and societies at large the field of “integration science” therefore can claim a priority as teaching and research area among the established sciences.
The UNIDI Network is consisting of independent adult education institutes offering non- traditional education and professional and career development training in higher education which are providing teaching and research on the basis of this concept which is generally understood as a basis for monitoring and implementation of integration processes. This new scientific domain is dealing with research, design and creation of human integration processes with respect to integration into new social, cultural and work environments, countries, institutions, organizations and networks.
All programs offered are tailored and structured to serve the needs and requirements of adult learners who may study simultaneously to their professional duties and other commitments. All courses offered display an interdisciplinary character, and concentrate on the achievement of foreign language skills, cultural studies, intercultural competencies, intercultural behavior and psychology, intercultural communication skills as well as personal development skills in core subject areas..
The complex of integration touches significantly the field of education, training and lifelong learning. Under the aspect of free movement, mobility and migration, all qualifications achieved must be transparent and understandable in the receiving country, and adaptive continuing education and training must be tailored to special needs, in order achieve the objective of human integration in new cultural and social environments as well as economic complexes and networks.