In order to achieve results for the UN, staff need to possess the ability to interact and communicate effectively with people of different cultures and backgrounds. This course helps participants increase their cultural sensitivity and awareness, enabling them to work, interact and communicate in diverse work environments, as well as build relationships with people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and mitigate cross-cultural challenges.


The 2030 Agenda challenges the UN system to change the way it does business. This requires transforming the UN’s organizational culture. In this context, cultural sensitivity is important, as it shapes our values, habits and thinking, which in turn affects how we communicate to how we manage our time. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refer to cultural sensitivity as “Inclusiveness” (in sustainable cities (SDG 11), decent work (SDG 8), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), climate action (SDG 13), gender equality (SDG 5), innovation (SDG 9), and peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16).


Upon successful completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Develop the skills needed to practice respectful and caring behaviour toward culturally diverse individuals and groups
  • Appreciate, affirm, and show sensitivity to all cultural backgrounds
  • Listen actively in conversation with people of vastly different experiences and beliefs
  • Be able to empathize with others
  • Learn from one another, focusing on behaviours and the situation at hand, not on the individual.
  • Develop global mindset with an open attitude
  • Develop self-awareness through understanding of one's own cultural value, beliefs and attitudes
  • Deal with verbal and non-verbal behaviours within a culture
  • Describe the development stages of cultural intelligence
  • Recognize the five silent "languages" of culture – time, space, material things, friendships, and agreements
  • Explain how values are influenced by culture
  • Recognize the three dimensions of cultural awareness when interacting with other cultures
Course methodology

The workshop employs an adult learning approach characterized by a participatory and interactive training style. It engages participants in practical exercises and group work, utilizing case studies and best practices. 

This course is delivered online. It combines synchronized online sessions in our virtual classroom, led by subject experts, with self-paced activities and interactive group discussions. 

Throughout the course participants will have the opportunity to complete three assessments that can help them understand the impact of their own culture and guide their interactions in the professional environment while working with people coming from different cultural backgrounds. 

The weekly synchronized sessions are conducted on the Zoom online platform. Participants need a computer (or mobile device), a reliable internet connection and either a headset with microphone to connect to the audio through the computer, or a telephone. We recommend accessing audio through the computer. No special software is required, but participants must be able to access Zoom, so please check the admin rights on your computer. We will send instructions for Zoom access to registered participants. We recommend you download the application and test your access in advance. 

The two-hour webinar sessions will be conducted through Zoom web conferencing platform on the following dates from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Rome Time (8:00 am – 10:00 am NY Time): 

The self-paced components and discussion forum for each week of the course are designed and structured on UNKampus, UNSSC’s Learning Platform. 

Approximate time commitment to fully participate in this course (pre-work, attending webinars, completion of assessments, forum discussions, etc.) is:  

  • In Week 1 - 3: 4 hours per week (2 hours preparation + 2 hours of webinars) 
  • In Week 4 - 5: 6-8 hours per week (2 - 4 hours of preparation + 4 hours of webinars) 
Course contents

The online course will cover topics such as: 

Week 1: Understanding diversity and inclusiveness 

  • Recognizing what respect means to each individual and how to communicate according to the five specific categories of respect; 
  • Behaviours and perspectives necessary for successful and respectful conflict resolution before, during, and after the resolution process; 
  • Exhibiting behaviours that influence others to be part of the solution; 
  • How to give and receive feedback on negative behaviour in a respectful manner; 
  • Understanding ways to surpass barriers and seek personal growth. 

Week 2: Developing cultural intelligence skills and awareness 

  • Learn the definition of cultural competence and what it looks like; 
  • Understand how to be self-aware and identify the common dimensions of self-awareness; 
  • Seven skills that are common themes in becoming interculturally sensitive; 
  • Examine elements of your own culture. 

Week 3: Generating cultural awareness about the world around us 

  • Developing Your Cultural Awareness; 
  • Explore the three dimensions of cultural awareness; 
  • Learn how values differ among cultures; 
  • Understand how to recognize norms and values and acknowledge differences. 

Week 4: Cultural sensitivity and effective communication skills 

  • Culture and communication; 
  • Invisible cultural boundary lines; 
  • Your personal cultural profile vs your country national cultural profile; 
  • Eight management areas of miscommunication and misunderstanding; 
  • Acknowledging differences. 

Week 5: Respectful behaviours 

  • Ideal respectable behaviours; 
  • Fostering respectable behaviours in workplaces; 
  • Dealing with differences in a five scales cultural dimensions; 
  • Etiquettes, do’s and don’ts/ family and gender roles. 
  • Cultural Exhibition. 
Target audience

All UN Staff members up to P4 level

Cost of participation

For online delivery: The course fee of $1,100 covers all tuition-related costs, including learning materials, access to online platforms, etc

For face-to-face: To be determined.