THE NEED OF INTERCULTURAL SHARING:“How and Why the Viking Civilisation in Greenland disappeared”

Type of tool: 
90-120 min
Topics addressed: 
Intercultural learning

The well-being of a human society depends both on the environment and on the relations between its members. This tool supports participants in finding out in which way and what could be the impact of intercultural learning.


•To reflect on intercultural learning and its influences on the development or in the collapse of a society.
•To analyze the connection between the environment and the well-being of a human society.

Step by step process: 

Participants have to analyze the society of the Vikings.

A short framework is provided to participants: e.g. Vikings’ golden age was between the 9th and the 11th century; they were strong warriors and excellent sailors; they conquered from West to East (from the actual Canada to Central Asia), from North to South (from Greenland to Turkey.
Participants are split in 5 groups, balanced in terms of gender and country.

Each group is assigned to investigate on one of the 5 following criteria that Jared Diamond states as the factors that can lead a human society to its collapse.
1. The men inflict, unconsciously or consciously, the major damage of their environment.
2. Climate changes occur, upsetting the ecological balance, which follow a natural phenomenon, or with dryness and disturbances induced by the human activity.
3. The military pressure of hostile neighbours is accentuated, who benefit from the economic crisis, of the run out of the raw materials and the impoverishment of the populations; these problems reflect itself on the level of social and political cohesion.
4. Diplomatic, energy and commercial alliances with friendly or neutral neighbours are shredded, the usual exchanges of goods of basic needs as the cultural relations subside.
5.Elites, governments and institutions do not have the intellectual knowledge, the instruments to measure, or even the system of values allowing evaluating what is going on in the reality. They worsen it by reflexes of caste, egoistic, comfort or the obsession of the short term.

A power point with photos and maps of Vikings is shown. The five groups have to reflect on the indicators and factors shown through photos that might be connected to one of the five criteria of collapse.
Participants are now asked to reflect on the photos and try to guess why Vikings disappeared. Photos give enough indicators to have answers.
5 rounds are made to allow all groups to work on the 5 different topics/criteria of collapse. Each round lasts 10 minutes. Every ten minutes the groups rotate. They then present the summaries of the 5 reflections.

Materials and resources: 

Writing material.
Vikings presentation.

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