Anca Minescu is a lecturer in psychology, at the University of Limerick, Ireland, since 2010, and currently vice-dean for internationalization for the Faculty of Education and Health. She started her academic career at the University of Bucharest, in Romania, and completed her undergraduate and postgraduate (MSc, and PhD) studies in the Netherlands, at Utrecht University, as a member of European Research Center on Migration and Ethnic Relations. Anca worked in the area of study abroad and academic exchange across international borders since 2002, gaining expertise in how living and studying abroad contributes to the development of new world-views and deeper self-reflection for students, staff and all involved. In addition, over the last 15 years, her research in ethnic relations also looked into processes of identity, discrimination and political activism in different national contexts, from the Russian Federation, to Western and Eastern European countries. She investigates how the larger political, historical and social context impacts on individuals attitudes and behaviours, how ideological beliefs determine exclusionary attitudes, and how the crucial processes of identification with particular groups (ethnic, national, opinion based political groups) mediate intergroup behaviours and affect social change. Political and cultural psychology can teach us about how we can grow, adapt and be agentic in a world that is more diverse, more mobile and inherently more global.
Anca’s involvement in international research networks and professional associations of political and social psychology led her to chair, organize and be an active mobilizer for the International Society of Political Psychology and the European Association of Social Psychology. Her cross-national analyses of tolerance, marginalization and integration of national minorities, immigrants and refugees was also relevant in her engagement with international consortia and funding such as Cost Action IS 1205: Social psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union, and a recent project funded by the European Commission DG Justice on psychological evidence for anti-discrimination interventions (PolRom: EU project 808062). Some of her PhD students from the Migration and Integration Research Group received funding from the Irish Research Council, and the Health Hub Sanctuary Project is a platform for giving intercultural competence training, direct voluntary support to migrant groups, and consultancy and disseminating research in a strong collaboration between the University of Limerick as a University of Sanctuary, and local non-governmental and governmental bodies in the Mid-West of Ireland. In her role as Vice-Dean International of the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, she works on developing sustainable international partnerships as well as fostering students’ and staff ability to become global citizens, able to negotiate culturally diverse workplaces and communities. Thus looking at “how cultural diversity works” in community and educational settings, for both the “newcomers” and the “host” groups, and combining research with practical interventions have become the cornerstone of Anca’s portfolio. At our Wisdom Together Conference, Anca will share her knowledge and experience through a speech and workshop on cultural identity, and active engagement with ourselves especially when we interact with “different others”, inspired by her practical and academic experience within universities across several countries as well as from collaborations with migrant and minority communities.