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  • 16 May 2019 10:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following information and my ideas are based on this article, Social Isolation: It Can Kill You, in the May issue of the Monitor on Psychology. Lately much of my time has been engaged with conference planning, so I have been thinking about the meaning of the conference to me and to the membership. I think that is why this article caught my eye.

    Is loneliness increasing or have humans always experienced it occasionally over a lifetime? Are we just more aware of loneliness and inclined to talk about it more often? Some research shows that social isolation is indeed increasing. This is important because of the associated health risks. According to a meta-analysis co-authored by Julianne Holt-Lunstad at Brigham Young University, “lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder” (p 33). She also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to your health as obesity. Being connected to others is considered to be a basic human need crucial to well-being and survival. Campaigns to reduce social isolation using evidenced-based interventions and advocacy have been launched in Australia, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Loneliness is not synonymous with chosen solitude or isolation, rather it is defined by people’s levels of satisfaction with their connectedness or perceived social isolation. Connectedness is the key since people can feel isolated and lonely when surrounded by people—being lonely in a crowd.

    What does this have to do with SIETAR USA? As I see it, two things. One is the feeling of connection that being a member provides. I’ve always maintained that my membership in SIETAR USA is one way I can claim to be an interculturalist. If you are a doctor or lawyer, you have a degree and a license that say you are one. Other professions provide licensing and special certifications. Interculturalists do not have that so for me, my membership in SIETAR USA has become part of my professional identity.

    And second, attending a SIETAR USA conference is one way to combat social isolation. One major goal of the conference organizers is inclusion, making all attendees feel welcome, supported, included. Do we always hit that goal 100%? No, but we try. It is difficult (but not impossible) to feel lonely at a SIETAR USA conference. I have heard a number of people refer to the conference as “coming home” or “finding my clan.” There is a sense of belonging that many participants unexpectedly feel.

    Here is another consideration: Nikolas Steffens PhD and his research team at the University of Queensland tracked 424 people after retirement and found that compared to those still working, every dropped membership was associated with around a 10 % decrease in quality of life 6 years later. If participants belonged to two groups before retirement and afterward kept them up over 6 years, their risk of death was 2%, rising to 5% if they gave up one membership and to 12% if they dropped both.

    So, join us at the SIETAR USA National Conference in Atlanta to combat any social isolation you might be experiencing. And be sure to renew your membership in SIETAR USA—it might prolong your life!

    Sandra M. Fowler

    President, SIETAR USA


  • 16 May 2019 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Economic shifts in the new millennium have made the multi-generational workforce a reality. For the first time, organizations have up to four, and in some cases five, generations in the workplace; Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z. Researchers predict that by 2020 more than half of the entire global workforce will be made up of Millennials and Gen Z’s.  It is also reported that the former generations will remain the largest segment of the overall population and many will remain in the workforce.  

    These generational trends have disrupted the status quo and workplace cultures, increasing polarization between generational cohorts. This is a unique opportunity for interculturalists to help organizations develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge they need to bridge these generational differences. As intercultural practitioners, we can contribute our vast expertise with difference to foster workplace cultures that draw on the strengths of all generations. Age inclusion isn’t just about recruiting, retaining, and engaging Millennials, but managing talent of all ages and leveraging the diversity of their experience and expertise. What we already know about intercultural competence can help depolarize generations and help multi-generational teams negotiate their differences and move towards a more prosperous future.

    This interactive workshop will explore the intersectionality of intercultural competence and intergenerational understanding.  The audience will explore generational differences and how intercultural competence can be applied to navigate and negotiate those differences.

    This webinar is scheduled for June 11, 2019 from 11:00AM to 12:30PM.

    NOTE: This webinar was originally scheduled for April. If you registered previously, your registration will be applied to this event – you do NOT need to register again. 

    Registration = FREE for current SIETAR USA members in good standing

    Registration = $25.00 for nonmembers

    TO REGISTER, VISIT THE EVENT PAGE FOR THIS WEBINAR! 

    About the Presenter

    Tamara Thorpe, also known as The Millennials Mentor, is a Leadership and Organizational Excellence Coach and Trainer. She specializes in intergenerational collaboration and helps organizations and understand their culturally and age diverse teams. With more than twenty years experience in international education and training, she designs and delivers innovative and engaging programs around the world to help organizations better navigate the globalized workforce. Tamara has worked with non-profits, colleges and universities, and government agencies preparing professionals and students to live and work abroad, assisting newcomers and refugees with cultural adjustment, and equipping leaders with the skills necessary to create effective multi-national and multi-generational teams.

    Tamara has a MA in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia and a BA in Linguistics from the University of California, San Diego. She was a member of SIETAR USA from 2006-2012, and today she is a member of both Young SIETAR and SIETAR Ireland and is serves on the SIETAR Europa Board of Directors.




  • 14 May 2019 4:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Stella Ting-Toomey
    One of the most common questions my students asked me on campus is: ‘What does it take to develop a theory—such as the face negotiation theory?”  I would like to use this column to answer this beguiling question.  

    The seed of the conflict Face Negotiation Theory was sown in 1985 due to my dissatisfaction with reading the tons of conflict style research studies in the interpersonal and organizational conflict arenas.  During that period, in the mainstream U.S. conflict studies literature, when a study defined conflict avoidance style, it was often posed as a “low concern for self-interest, low concern for other interest” style.   Furthermore, when it defined conflict compromising style, it was defined as an expedient “quick closure, give-and-take concession” style. Finally, in the interpersonal-intimate conflict literature, researchers advocated the importance of “self-disclosure” and “letting it all out” approach as a productive conflict resolution strategy.  

    Drawing from my Chinese Confucius cultural upbringing, and up to that point, I had never considered avoidance conflict style as a “non-caring for self or other interest” communication style.  I actually considered the avoidance style, from my Asian lens, as a creative strategic move of managing conflicts--pending on how one attempts to avoid, defuse, or deflate the conflict issue artfully.  I also could not envision compromising as a quick-fixed concession tactic.  I thought compromising connotes long-term give-and-take relationship-building, and a long-term reciprocity norm of trust building and task goal accomplishments. I had also rarely witnessed my Chinese family or close friends using “upfront self-disclosure” approach to resolve intimate conflicts. Instead, some of them used “eating bitter” tenacious style or passive aggressive attention-seeking conflict tactics.    

    Thus, based on my lived experience and observation in the two worlds: the Asian and the Western/U.S. cultural worlds, the seed of the conflict FNT was planted (see Ting-Toomey, 2017).  On the surface level, face is about a claimed sense of favorable social self-image and the extent of consideration of other social self-image in a conflict situation.  On the deeper level, face is about a mosaic set of -- shame, honor, humiliation, dignity, debasement, and integrity --affective identity and cognitive appraisal issues.  Face concern orientation can be emphasized on the self-face, other-face, relational face, and community ingroup/outgroup face levels.  Facework refers to the verbal and nonverbal behaviors used to defend or save face, to maintain face, and/or to uplift or undercut other’s social image in a sociocultural community (Ting-Toomey, 2005, 2015; Ting-Toomey & Dorjee, 2019).

    With the above backdrop, from 1985 to the present year 2019, as I look back on the conflict FNT research development trajectory, here are some distinctive features or stages I would “mark” as critical in developing a theory playfully yet methodically:  curiosity-commitment, creativity-collaboration, crystallization-closure. 

    As a theorist or researcher or trainer, to me, the starting point is curiosity.  You’ve to be curious about the question of “WHY?”  Why something is working or not working?  Why is it defined this way and not the other way?  Why this cultural group assumes this standpoint definition, while another group defines it from a totally contrastive stance?  Curiosity is playing mental gymnastics, and commitment is running on a treadmill for 48 hours with increased exhilaration (Okay—maybe mixed in with exhaustion also J!).  Curiosity and commitment are the beginning of playing with both light-heartedness and grounded/focused discipline. Commitment is taking the focused time and energy to do the ground work of searching and re-searching about your interested topic. Find a topic you’re passionate about and your curiosity and sustained commitment will fuel you forward in crafting your theoretical hunches with breadth and depth.  

    The next stage of theory development is creativity-collaboration. An original, creative idea is hard to come by.  If you’ve a truly original idea, jot it down right away--the creative glimpses can come and go so fleetingly.  Honestly, when I was working on this newsletter column, I was quite stuck.  However, as I walked between my home and office, as I heard children’s playing sounds, the melody of “playfulness” echoed in my mind and actually became the theme of this essay.  Thus, do draw your inspirations from multiple sensory data.  Learn to read across disciplines and beyond, learn to associate with people who are very different from you, and learn to engage in activities that divert your attention occasionally so that you can get some respite from writing your dream book or thesis.  Moreover, learn that you’re not alone.  Collaborative energy is a beautiful coming-together.  Many of my conflict FNT research studies are collaborative and joyous dialogue effort with students, friends, colleagues, and international folks across continents.

    Lastly, crystallization-closure stage is essential to any developing research project. Crystallization means that within a specified planned time frame, you need to integrate and sort out your research ideas imaginatively and concretely.  You need to translate your ideas into fruition, and submit them for publication--so that your ideas can be preserved, challenged, approved, or even rejected. No one likes rejection, but without rejection, there’ll be no reinvention or innovation. While we can all treasure the “work-in-progress” attitude, every theorizing effort or research study needs a clear closure “period.” Learning to “let go” is not an easy stage--but try to realize that you’re just bracketing one stage of your theorizing or writing effort to an “at rest” stage. Letting go means giving yourself a chance to breathe and exhale in order to enter a new cycle of renewal and rediscovery.  In closing, I hope my points of curiosity-commitment, creativity-collaboration, crystallization-closure can spark some playful symphonic discussion from SIETAR newsletter readers.          

     

    Stella Ting-Toomey, Intercultural Professor/Researcher/Trainer (sting@fullerton.edu)

    California State University, Fullerton, USA

    References

          Ting-Toomey, S. (2005).  The matrix of updated face negotiation theory.  In W. B. Gudykunst (Ed.) Theorizing about intercultural communication (pp. 71-92). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

          Ting-Toomey, S. (2015). Facework negotiation theory.  In J. Bennett (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of intercultural competence (Vol. 1, pp.  325-330). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. 

          Ting-Toomey, S. (2017).  Conflict face-negotiation theory: Tracking its evolutionary journey. In X. Diao & G.-M. Chen (Eds.), Conflict management and intercultural communication 

    (pp. 123-143).  New York: Routledge.

    Ting-Toomey, S., & Dorjee, T. (2019).  Communicating Across Cultures, Second Edition.  New York: The Guilford Press.

     


  • 14 May 2019 4:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.
    -Nelson Mandela

    Thinking about coming to the conference? It is a good time to refresh. Presenting is a good way to feel part of the action but not essential. Many people like to come to learn and not feel any pressure. Consider which route you’d like to take to Atlanta—you have time.

    CFP: We are keeping the call for proposals open for a little longer so, check out https://www.sietarusa.org/2019CFP. That puts you where you need to be to submit a proposal for the 2019 SIETAR USA Conference in Atlanta: From Adversity to Diversity, the Role of the Interculturalist. As a reminder: we have 3 tracks. These provide an opportunity for a deep dive into a topic and may be just what you need.

    TRACKS

    1. The Role of the Interculturalist: Diversity: Inclusion, and Social Justice
    2. The Role of the Interculturalist: Working with Specific Cultures
    3. The Role of the Interculturalist: Building Skills and Taking them to the Market Place

    MEET THE PROGRAM CO-CHAIRS:

    Meet Conference Program Co-Chair:
    Leah Spinosa de Vega

    Leah has over 20 years of experience working in higher education in international education, academic advising, executive education, alumni relations and Spanish-language instruction. Leah has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Linguistics, and a Master’s in Hispanic Linguistics, both from the University of Minnesota. In addition to these degrees, she is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory and holds a diplomado in Client Centered Therapy from the Instituto de Gestalt in Cuernavaca, Mexico where she lived, worked and studied in the 1990s. She currently works at Augsburg University in the Center for Global Education and Experience where she serves as the Director of Global Initiatives, and sits on both the Assessment, and Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committees. Leah, a new member to SIETAR USA, is excited to serve as Program Co-Chair of the 2019 SIETAR USA Conference Committee in order to contribute to the broader work interculturalists are playing to make our world a better place to live, work and learn.


    Meet the other Conference Program Co-Chair:
    Dr. Kwesi Ewoodzie

    Dr. Kwesi Ewoodzie, the founder of Culture Beyond Borders (CBB), is aGhanaian-American with a PhD in Sociology, focusing on intercultural exchange. Using his cultural knowledge garnered through his studies, life experiences, and intercultural competency training, he promotes intercultural exchange and learning through CBB by conducting presentations and coordinating impactful travel experiences. SIETAR USA and its conferences perfectly embody his values of cross-cultural collaborations and exploration. He finds it very rewarding to be able to help welcome and host fellow interculturalists in his (new) home-city of Atlanta, as Co-Chair of the 2019 Program Committee.

    Note from the Conference Chair:

    Master Workshops have been set, Proposals have been rolling in and although the submission deadline has not yet passed, I am already excited about all the great offerings we will have for the 2019 National Conference.

    The next few weeks will bring many more details about Atlanta, Pre and Post Tours, Master Workshops, Scholarships and Volunteer as well as advertising and exhibiting opportunities. Here’s a sneak peak. Stay tuned!

    Karen J Lokkesmoe
    SIETAR Conference Chair

    ATLANTA: Did you know that Atlanta is home to the most diverse square mile in the United States. It is also home to fortune 500 companies, historic civil rights leaders, and is a major national and international airline hub. All this makes Atlanta the perfect place to host SIETAR, and it’s easy to get there too. Watch for details on our Pre/Post Atlanta Tours in the June Newsletter.

    SIGN UP TO REVIEW PROPOSALS: Would you like a preview of the conference program? Why not sign up to review proposals—a small time commitment and a large reward. You get a first look at some of the proposals that have been submitted for the conference and provide a needed service to SIETAR USA. Sign up to be a reviewer! Go to. http://openconf.org/sietarusaconf2019/openconf.php

    Under Review and Program Committees enter key code: SUSA_Reviewer

    COMMITTEES: There are still a few committee positions open so if you would like to help organize the conference in big or small ways, want to meet and interact with SIETAR leadership, this is a great way to expand your skills and networks with other intercultural and diversity & inclusion professionals. Send a no obligation inquiry to conferencechair@sietarusa.org to learn more.

    LOGISTICS: The Marriott Airport Gateway Hotel couldn’t be more convenient. A free ride on the Skytrain from the terminal gets you to the hotel in a matter of minutes. The hotel has good SIETAR USA “chemistry.” Consider: a nice lobby for mixing and mingling, all the meeting rooms in one place with adjoining space for registration and exhibitors, an attractive ballroom for keynotes, meals, and the Silent Auction. The hotel is in easy walking distance to the Air Museum if you are into planes. And if you are into discounts, SIETAR USA has arranged for a discount with Delta Airlines. Watch for the details coming soon.

    PR: Spread the Word! Would you like a conference bookmark to use in a book? Put on a bulletin board? Give to a friend? Contact Karen Fouts (info@sietarusa.org) to request bookmarks with our famous hands banner. This is an easy and generous way to let your colleagues and SIETAR USA friends know that you support the conference and look forward to seeing them in Atlanta!


  • 14 May 2019 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Social Media Explosion: Unintended Consequences for Study Abroad?

    - Bruce La Brack

    Study abroad is a dynamic and shifting process that is influenced by both external pressures as well as personal factors. Sometimes it is driven by surrounding circumstances (e.g., health and safety issues, overseas political instability), and at other times it is driven by concerns about curricular integration (e.g., engineering/STEM courses & labs) and professional credentialing. Often overlooked is the impact of technological innovation (smart phones, tablets, personal computers) on the study abroad experience.

    The use of social media as part of the study-abroad landscape emerged, and vastly expanded, in little over a decade. Perhaps foremost is the rise and proliferation of the use of social media to communicate about the study abroad experience before, during, and after going overseas. While there are few detailed studies of the impact of such technology on the study abroad process, those that do exist seem pretty evenly divided about whether having such digital tools is generally a positive or negative influence.

    Every study abroad professional is aware of circumstances where the use of social media by students abroad went seriously wrong. For example, a student was living with a Spanish home-stay family when a relatively common problem arose in the household. The student immediately posted a complaint to his Facebook account. Eventually, it was read by (among others) the overseas program director, the home university study abroad office staff, the home stay family, other international students in the program and, eventually, even the student’s parents. Although the issue was eventually resolved, it was greatly exacerbated by the careless use of social media. The complaint was relatively minor, but fixing it was seriously complicated by the public involvement of so many stakeholders.

    The impact of these technologies, like many emerging and novel communication channels, can simultaneously be disruptive and essential to communication! One author characterizes the debate as a tension between the concern that such tools are either destroying or enhancing the study abroad experience. Another author notes, we are “dealing with technologies that have developed faster than our ability to normalize them.”

    The swiftness and scope with which this transformation occurred is most amazing. From its humble beginnings in a European laboratory setting (CERN, Switzerland) in the late 1990s, the World Wide Web now links nearly the entire globe. It is so pervasive that it is no longer seems remarkable --just a useful everyday utility.

    The revolutionary first-generation iPhone made its debut on January 9, 2007, selling 216,000+ in the initial fiscal year. Currently, almost 70% of all US households (257+ million) have at least one smartphone. It is a rare student abroad who does not carry a smart phone or tablet with them.

    While the ease of connection was appreciated from the beginning, it was also recognized as problematic: each advance in technology increased the danger of losing touch with local communities and cultures. Some were initially concerned that their phone might become an electronic leash; others were delighted to be able to maintain connections anywhere at low or no-cost.

    With the release of Skype in August 2003 the age of free, face-to-face computer conversations began. Suddenly, communication by voice and text was available 24-7. Today, communication choices are almost limitless, from email to the massive variety of “apps” available Plus phone “apps” can facilitate logistics from booking a flight, to storing electronic boarding passes, finding walking or driving maps, or loading a translation program or language/dictionary.

    In addition, most smart phones not only take crisp photos and are able to instantly send them to others, but have the capacity to create and edit videos, and stream presentations. This contrasts with earlier eras when study abroad participants took pictures with a dedicated camera and film, and had to get photos printed before sharing them.

    It may seem quaint to Millennials who take electronic communication for granted, but the question remains, to what extent does all this “instant sharing” detract from the experience itself? Some faculty worry that students will be so focused on documenting their experience that they become more observers than participants, raising a parallel concern about what is left to discuss with one’s friends and relatives upon return home. To what extent does all this “personal curating” detract from actually interacting with locals and facilitating mutual understanding?

    Some program directors now routinely caution students .that they might need to cut back on any social media activity that reduces their opportunity or availability for cultural immersion, which is supposedly why they choose to go abroad in the first place. No matter what, study abroad students are going to use social media.However, based on professional knowledge and experience, study- abroad advisors are in a position to make suggestions about how students, faculty, and staff can best use social media to maximize the benefit of their interaction and immersion opportunities within the new culture. It seems most productive for faculty to work with students to assure that their time online expands their networks and supports opportunities for intercultural communication.

    So, is social media a force that impedes immersion or a tool to connect students to other new communities? Brice Patterson at Colorado State University sees this as an especially pertinent question as there are days when over one billion people—that’s one out of every seven inhabitants of Earth—log onto Facebook. The issue is not that social media as a platform is the problem per se, but how we use it!


  • 14 May 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Journey’s Echo, Freya Stark, Ecco Pres, 1988, 224 pages. Reviewed by Craig Storti.

    Last month we went out on a limb in this column and reviewed a work of science fiction: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula le Guin. And the sun still came up. So, emboldened by that success, this month we dip into yet another genre that may not be on every interculturalist’s radar but which ought to be: the travel narrative.

    To be sure, travel narratives are a natural place for cross-cultural reflection, but we must remember that the first job of a good travel book is to describe interesting, unusual places and their curious inhabitants. The best travel narratives manage to do this quite skilfully through a series of humorous, surprising, exciting, and sometimes even dangerous incidents. Those are what keep readers reading. If you stopped reading travel books long ago, it’s probably because you picked up one too many of the pedestrian variety, those earnest efforts which in the end amount to little more than we went here and saw this, and then we went there and saw that. They are the verbal equivalent of watching two hours of slides of the family’s trip to the game parks of Africa.

    The good ones, then, are full of incident, but the best ones have something else: they describe the effects of those incidents, those encounters with unfamiliar places—and especially unfamiliar people—on the mind and sensibility of the traveler. It is precisely when writers attempt to describe how they were changed by travel that their writing becomes interesting to interculturalists. .

    Or, as Norman Douglas, himself a very good travel writer, has put it:

    The reader of a good travel book is entitled not only to an exterior voyage, to descriptions of scenery and so forth, but to an interior, a sentimental or temperamental voyage, which takes place side by side with that outer one…. The ideal book of this kind offers us, indeed, a triple opportunity of exploration: abroad, into the author's brain, and into our own. The writer should therefore possess a brain worth exploring, some philosophy of life, and the courage to proclaim it and put it to the test. [S]he must be naif and profound, child and sage.

    Enter Freya Stark. She wrote over two dozen travel books, the best known of which are probably The Valley of the Assassins and The Southern Gates of Arabia, both dealing with largely unexplored parts of the Middle East (in the 1930s) and both featuring places where she was the first western woman to venture. For her journeys and the accounts thereof she was eventually awarded the Founder’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Dame Freya (as she became in 1972) was Anglo-Italian and spent most of her life in northern Italy when she was not travelling abroad.

    Stark was an acute observer of the environments she traveled through and the inhabitants thereof and was extraordinarily reflective and self-aware, regularly recording the effects of her experiences on her sensibility. Accordingly, her travel narratives contain an unusually high percentage of cross-cultural observations. These are sprinkled generously throughout her many books, but readers who may not be interested enough to pick up individual volumes can take a short cut and just pick up the book we are reviewing here—The Journey’s Echo—which is a selection of highlights from her many books. As such it does not read like a regular travel narrative, of course, but rather like what it is: a collection of some of the best moments and most memorable insights. If you are intrigued by The Journey’s Echo, you can always turn to the source materials and immerse yourself therein.

    Here are four excerpts to give you the flavor of Stark at her cross-cultural best:

    To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it.  For this reason your customary thoughts, all except the rarest of your friends, even most of your luggage—everything, in fact, which belongs to your everyday life, is merely a hindrance.  The tourist travels in his own atmosphere like a snail in his shell and stands, as it were, on his own perambulating doorstep to look at the continents of the world.  But if you discard all this and sally forth with a leisurely and blank mind, there is no knowing what may not happen to you Baghdad Sketches

    There are not many born travellers, though they all think they are–but they never like the dull patches, while I just sit and embroider. Letters, Vol. III

    Every country has its own way of saying things.  The important point is that which lies behind people's words, and the art of discovering what this is may be considered as a further step in the learning of languages, of which grammar and syntax are only the beginning.  But if we listen to words merely, and give to them our own habitual values, we are bound to go astray.  Baghdad Sketches

    Though it may be unessential to the imagination, travel is necessary to an understanding of men.  Only with long experience and the opening of his wares on many a beach where his language is not spoken, will the merchant come to know the worth of what he carries, and what is parochial and what is universal in his choice.  Such delicate goods as justice, love and honour, courtesy, and indeed all the things we care for, are valid everywhere; but they are variously moulded and often differently handled, and sometimes nearly unrecognizable if you meet them in a foreign land; and the art of learning fundamental common values is perhaps the greatest gain of travel to those who wish to live at ease among their fellows. Perseus in the Wind

    By all means read Freya Stark for the cross-cultural insights, but be warned that you may very well fall in love with her prose—not to mention her mind—and keep reading for the sheer pleasure of it. Her travel books are gems; The Journey’s Echo is a distillation of gems. No wonder it dazzles.

    We typically end the Bookmarks column with an author interview, but this month (and last month, too) the featured author is no longer with us. This time around, to replace the interview we thought we might provide readers with a list of first-class travel narratives laced with intercultural content. As luck would have it, your humble book review editor happens to have just such a list at hand, having compiled one for his latest book Why Travel Matters. If you like Freya, chances are you will also like these folks:

    Paul Bowles was a famous American expatriate in Morocco, and from his perch there he observed and dissected the emotional and psychological impact of the foreign, publishing his conclusions in numerous short stories, several dark novels  (The Sheltering Sky, Spider’s House), and in numerous travel writings. Many of the latter are anthologized in Travels: Collected Writings 1950-1993, and then there is his masterpiece: Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World.

    Robert Byron’s acknowledged masterpiece is The Road To Oxiana, but two other works—First Russia, Then Tibet and The Station: Travels to the Holy Mountain of Greece—are in the same exclusive league.

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote one classic: Wind Sand, and Stars. Two other works—Night Flight and Flight to Arras—would be classics if they had been written by anyone else and did not have to be compared to Wind, Sand, and Stars. All three are collected in Airman’s Odyssey. (He also wrote and is best known for The Little Prince, but it is not a travel book.)

    Norman Douglas wrote the best novel that has ever been confused for a travel book: South Wind. While it disappoints fans of fiction, it thrills fans of the travel narrative. Three other equally satisfying titles are Old Calabria, Fountains in the Sand: Rambles Among the Oases of Tunisia, and A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Indo-China.

    Patrick Leigh Fermor makes everyone’s list, largely on the strength of his unfinished trilogy, beginning with A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople and followed up by Between the Woods and the Water: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates. He is a beautiful stylist and a sensitive observer.

    Paul Fussell was not a travel writer, but his book Abroad: British Literary Travelling Between the Wars is a brilliant analysis of the travel narrative and a short history of travel. It will also introduce you to some of the great British travel writers including Robert Byron, Norman Douglas, Lawrence Durrell, Graham Greene, D. H. Lawrence, and Evelyn Waugh.

    Aldous Huxley is most famous for his novel Brave New World, but he was a beautiful essayist and an inveterate traveller. If you read only one of his travel narratives, make it Jesting Pilate. If that pleases you, then move on to Along the Road and Beyond the Mexique Bay.

    A. W. Kinglake’s Eothen, about a visit to the Holy Land in the 1840s, is a classic, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Many readers find it bold and amusing, and many others think it’s smug and offensive. In the latter camp is none other than Edward Said who, in his landmark Orientalism, calls it “a pathetic catalogue of pompous ethnocentrisms” (193). Don’t say you haven't been warned.

    The name of Ursula Le Guin, a master of science fiction, has only appeared once in these pages. But it might well have appeared more often, for what are the best works of science fiction if not novelized travel narratives, albeit with rather remote destinations? Le Guin is probably most famous for her Earthsea trilogy, but the two books the serious traveller should read are The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. They are unparalleled evocations of what it feels like to be an alien in an alien culture.

    Freya Stark has been with us throughout these pages. She was prolific, with more than 20 titles to her name; the best known are probably The Valley of the Assassins and The Southern Gates of Arabia, but all of her books have the same qualities, making it difficult to recommend one over the other. Readers might start with an anthology of her work, The Journey’s Echo, which includes excerpts from 15 different titles.

    Paul Theroux has written 14 travel books (not including The Tao of Travel, see below) and more than 25 novels. He is a master of the “incident,” encounters with the locals and colorful fellow travellers, and a keen and reflective observer. The Great Railway Bazaar launched his career; Fresh Air Fiend collects numerous other travel pieces.

    Anthologies

    Another way to decide who to read would be to dip into any of several excellent anthologies of travel writing. If you read an excerpt you like, you can always track down the source.

    A Book of Traveller’s Tales, Eric Newby
    A Taste for Travel, John Julius Norwich
    The Englishman Abroad, Hugh and Pauline Massingham
    The Norton Book of Travel, Paul Fussell
    The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road, Paul Theroux
    The Traveler’s Daybook: A Tour of the World in 366 Quotations, Fergus Fleming.

    Excerpted from WhyTravel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel, by Craig Storti. Nicholas Brealey International, 2018.


  • 14 May 2019 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Why?

    Here’s a depressing thought: People don’t learn from experience.

    If you don’t believe me, how come my friend Theresa got married for the fourth time? How come my neighbors went to India and returned with their previous levels of denial and defense?

    The truth is that people learn from reflecting on their experience. This is especially true of multicultural experiences, whether real or simulated. I firmly believe in the importance of reflection. To me, all experiential learning activities in diversity and inclusion merely provide an excuse for reflection.

    What?

    As a facilitator, you encourage this type of reflection by conducting a debriefing discussion. During this debriefing, your participants reflect on their experience, relate them to the real world, discover useful insights, and share them with each other. Debriefing helps you to wind down the activity, reduce negative reactions among the participants, and increase insights.

    How?

    A major dilemma in debriefing is maintaining a balance between structure and spontaneity. I suggest that you prepare several questions for the debriefing discussion. During the actual debriefing, encourage and exploit spontaneous comments from your participants. If the conversation degenerates into a stream-of-consciousness meandering, fall back on your prepared list of questions.

    Which Type?

    You can conduct a debriefing session after any activity, but not all activities benefit from debriefing. It is all a question of focusing on the training objectives. For example, you can conduct a role-play on negotiating with people from a high uncertainty-avoidance culture. You can then debrief your participants about their personal reactions to the need for uncertainty avoidance. However, if your goal is to train your participants to accommodate high uncertainty avoidance, the debriefing discussion may focus on inclusive strategies.

    What types of activities benefit from debriefing? Here are five characteristics of experiential activities that benefit from a debriefing discussion:

    1. An activity in which the connection between the events and the real world are not clear-cut. For example, the activity may involve playing a card game to reflect implicit and explicit cultural norms.
    2. An activity that generates intense feelings and emotions that distract participants from focusing on logical patterns and root causes. For example, you may conduct a debate on gun control between a team of women and another team of men.
    3. An activity that happens so rapidly that the significance of the critical events is lost on the participants. For example, you may ask the participants to pair up quickly without giving them time to think through the variables in the partnering process.
    4. An activity whose significance is likely to be interpreted in different ways by the participants from different cultural groups.
    5. An activity that focuses on principles, insights, feelings, and beliefs rather than on facts, procedures, and cognitive strategies.

    Phases in the Debriefing Process

    Several models are available for structuring a debriefing discussion. Here is my debriefing model that contains six phases:

    1. How do you feel? Invite the participants to get strong feelings and emotions off their chest. This makes it easier for them to objectively analyze the experience during the later phases.
    2. What happened? Collect data about what happened during the experiential activity. This encourages the participants to discover the impact of individual and cultural differences.
    3. What did you learn? Encourage the participants to generate and discuss different principles. This requires the participants from different cultural groups to identify differences in their perceptions.
    4. How does this relate to the real world? Discuss the relevance of the experiential activity to the participants' cross-cultural experiences.
    5. What if?  Encourage the participants to apply their insights to new contexts. Use alternative scenarios to speculate on how people's behaviors would change.
    6. What next? Ask the participants to undertake action planning. Invite them to apply their insights from the experiential activity to cross-cultural collaboration.

    Failing to conduct a debriefing discussion will prevent participants from maximizing their learning. Worse yet, an experiential activity without debriefing will leave participants in a confused state, wondering, “What was that all about?”


  • 14 May 2019 3:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With easy access to information online, many clients are researching online to find cross-cultural related services.   Our marketing can be found in the forms of blogs, videos, webinars, e-books and white papers.   These educational pieces should lead to your website. Unlike reading a newspaper, readers skim the headlines and look for information that will help them solve a problem. If you can answer their questions or at least show that you are a credible source, the chances they will contact you will be greater.   Organic search traffic to your website is critical. Blogging is a way to drive this traffic to your site.  The Search Engine Optimization experts in the field recommend posting a blog weekly at a minimum.  

    What are some ideas to write about? We can write about the answers to our customers questions.  For example, why do we need cross-cultural services?   How do I work with colleagues from this culture?   On the Global Coach Center blog page, there is more expat related content.   The most popular blog that receives the greatest number of readers was written many years ago entitled “the difference between an immigrant and an expat”.   This page drives traffic to the Global Coach Center website consistently.  Another blog idea is to give your opinion on industry events and conferences.

    A critical step is to include a lead conversion offer in your blog articles. For example, offer them the opportunity to download a more detailed cultural e-book or article in exchange for contact information.  This will build your list of potential customers and then you can send them a newsletter.  

    Remember, you want to be found after a quick Google search that shows your content. The potential customer will discover that you’re qualified rather than relying on you to simply claim that you are. Continually improve your communication skills online.

    The rewards from content marketing are proven, so start blogging today!


  • 14 May 2019 3:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    COMING EVENTS

    May 27-June 3: SIETAR Europa Congress Building Dialogs on Diversity, Leuven, Belgium

    July 7-10: International Academy for Intercultural Research Biennial Conference

    October 30-November 2, 2019: SIETAR USA National Conference, From Adversity to Diversity: The Role of the Interculturalist, Atlanta, GA

    May Holidays

    May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

    May is Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.

    May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

    May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a global celebration of sexual-orientation and gender diversities.

    May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day set aside by the United Nations as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together in harmony.

    May 27: Memorial Day in the United States, a federal holiday established to honor military veterans who died in wars fought by American forces.

    May 31: Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of the year for Muslims, is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. It is known as the Night of Power and commemorates the night that the Quran was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

    June Holidays

    June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on the world. LGBT groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, and other group gatherings. The last Sunday in June is Gay Pride Day.

    June 3-4 (sundown to sundown): Eid al-Fitr, the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, marking the end of Ramadan. Many Muslims attend communal prayers, listen to a khutuba (sermon), and give Zakat al-Fitr (charity in the form of food) during Eid al-Fitr.

    June 8-10 (sundown to sundown): Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that has double significance. It marks the all-important wheat harvest in Israel and commemorates the anniversary of the day when God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.

    June 9: Pentecost, the celebration of the giving of the Ten Commandments by God at Mount Sinai.

    June 14: Flag Day in the United States, observed to celebrate the history and symbolism of the American flag.

    June 15: St. Vladimir Day, a Roman Catholic feast celebrating St. Vladimir.

    June 15: Native American Citizenship Day, commemorating the day in 1924 when the U.S. Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans.

    Holidays list courtesy of: https://www.diversitybestpractices.com/2019-diversity-holidays

     


  • 14 May 2019 3:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "Wow!!  I love the newsletter look.  The best thing from SIETAR USA in a very long time.  The diversity of items, the diversity of authors, the diversity of content.  THANK YOU!!"

    - Donna M. Stringer, Ph.D.


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