By Victor Leclere, Jacobs Foundation Business Fellow

As the car winds alongside the Rhine river back towards Zurich, I reflect on my personal outcomes from the Jacob’s Foundation Conference on Education in Times of Increasing Cultural and Linguistic Heterogeneity at Marbach Castle. The conference provided me with a unique learning opportunity as a global citizen and healthcare professional.

The speakers presented research highlighting the negative impact of resurging xenophobia, an enduring refugee crisis, and outdated teaching methods on immigrant students’ education across Europe and the United States. Despite these obstacles, the participants expressed optimism for the future of immigrant pupils, identifying several promising practices to create a supportive and personalized environment.

With every passing speaker, it became clearer that education and healthcare, my sector of focus, face parallel challenges in caring for an increasingly diverse population. Similar to the discourse regarding healthcare providers today, the presenters highlighted the impact of factors external to the education system and the importance of equipping teachers with appropriate cultural attitudes. Although the response to these challenges does not exist in a single solution, I remain hopeful that incremental changes based on promising practices can improve the health and education systems for all stakeholders.

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