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  • 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.


  • 11 Apr 2019 1:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I don’t ordinarily comment on the SIETAR USA webinars. The March Webinar, Dispelling Myths for Inclusion of American Muslims by Lobna “Luby” Mohamed Ismail served as a strong reminder that increased hate in the world has led to less safety and to increased violence. However, 70 people registered for the webinar and 31 attended. I know that things come up in our busy lives and since the recording is available on the members’ part of the website, people do have access to them, but the message was and is an important one.

    Often labeled terrorists, Muslims are more often victims. Muslims aren’t the only victims—there are hate crimes against Jews and Blacks and Gays and people who just look different and the list can go on. The statistics are staggering; some can be viewed at https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes.

    This informative, helpful webinar took place on March 26th just 11 days after the massacre on March 15th in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 50 Muslims—50 human beings. Invited to do a webinar over two months ago, Luby revealed at the beginning of the webinar that she knew she had to change what she had planned to say. She asked: how can we be allies? More inclusive? Live our values such as Out of Many, One—E Pluribus Unum?

    Luby reminded us of the misperceptions such as the false claim that Muslims are inherently anti-Christian. She mentioned the many similarities Islam has with Christianity. Luby asked, “What does it mean to look Muslim?” American Muslims are the most ethnically and racially diverse religious group in the United States. Muslims are a vital part of America’s history and its present.

    Luby’s final questions were: What do we do now? What is our plan for outreach and action? You will find Muslims everywhere—ask, empathize, listen—have the necessary and difficult discussions. Interculturalists know how to do that. She added, hold our elected officials accountable for Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, racial bias, anti-immigration, and anti-LGBTQ legislation. We need one another to halt what’s happening: no more people should ever be killed in places of worship or anywhere because of the faith they follow their ethnic or racial identity. We all belong!


  • 11 Apr 2019 1:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For all who have known and loved Dr. Kyoung-Ah Nam, our beloved interculturalist, proud citizen of South Korea, and long-time resident of the USA, it is with heavy heart that we share with you the tragic news of her passing due to illness.

    Kyoung-Ah Nam was an Assistant Professor in the School of Global Innovation and Leadership at San Jose State University. Prior to joining SHSU she held the position of Assistant Professor in the International Communication Program at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. A South Korean native, she specialized in training and coaching North Americans working with partners in Korea, Japan and China and vice versa. Having worked and/or traveled in more than 35 countries in the past 15 years, Kyoung-Ah had an appreciation for cultural diversity that even extended to her hobbies, which included swing dancing and yoga.

    Kyoung-Ah received her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota and her M.A. in Intercultural Communication and Journalism from the University of Oregon. In addition, she held a Certificate in Human Resource Development and was a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).

    During her career, Kyoung-Ah had the opportunity to work on projects for a wide variety of organizations, including Samsung (Seoul), Ogilvy & Mather (Los Angeles), the United Nations (New York), UNESCO (Bangkok), 3M Corporation (St. Paul, MN) and Boston Scientific Corporation (Minneapolis, MN). She maintained an active intercultural and business consulting practice.

    Kyoung-Ah was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the International Academy for Intercultural Research (IAIR), the International Education Association (NAFSA), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and the American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK). She was an Advisory Council Member for the Intercultural Management Institute and served on the Scholarship Committee of SIETAR USA (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research). She will be sorely missed as a colleague and friend.


  • 11 Apr 2019 1:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    People generally tend to team up with others who share common characteristics. Here is a jolt (a brief experiential activity) that dramatically demonstrates the advantages of diversity in teams. This activity works best with 20 to 30 participants and requires about 3 minutes for play and 5 minutes for debriefing.

    Prepare letter cards. Take five blank index cards and write each of these letters on one side of a separate card: A, E, M, S, and T. Prepare as many sets of these five cards so that each participant will have a card with one of the five letters.

    Distribute the cards. Give each participant a letter card, making sure that each card is distributed to the same number people. It does not matter if a few cards are left over.

    Organize teams. Ask the participants to use their letter cards to form teams of five people as quickly as possible. Do not give additional instructions. Most participants will form teams with people who have the same letter.

    Announce the challenge. Ask the participants in each team to form the longest possible word with the letters on their cards.

    Explain the situation. Point out that the teams that have participants with index cards of the same letter are not able to spell any word (except “A”). Explain that if the participants had formed themselves into teams with different letters, they would have been able to spell the word TEAMS.

    Relate to the workplace. Ask the participants to reflect on different workplace teams and decide whether they are maximizing and leveraging diversity among members.

    Conduct a follow-up. Ask the participants to reorganize themselves into teams of five, trying to maximize the diversity among its members.

    Learning Points

    1. People with diverse characteristics form more productive teams.
    2. Because diverse teams provide a greater variety of solutions, they are more likely to create positive outcomes in the workplace.



  • 11 Apr 2019 1:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a brand? Maybe a logo? A logo is important but there is much more involved when creating a brand. For your cross-cultural business, think about its “personality”. Why do you do what you do? What is unique about what you do or how you do it? Answer these questions. For Cultural Business Consulting, our personality is professional and business-focused since our clients are multinational corporate organizations. For the Global Coach Center, the brand is more informal and personable since many of our clients are professional interculturalist and coaches who run their own business. Be clear in your messaging. Consider using a short, striking and memorable phrase. Here is an example of a slogan, ‘The Gateway to a Culturally Connected Workplace’. This is CBC’s slogan or tag line which is used in signature lines and marketing materials.

    Also, it is important to state your business objective and the way your organization will meet the objective. Here are two examples of our mission statements:

    ‘Cultural Business Consulting (CBC) provides coaching in cultural competency to enable globally diverse corporate work teams to function harmoniously with a deep appreciation of the dimension of culture, enhancing productivity and profitability.’

    ‘The Global Coach Center (GCC) partners with trainers and coaches to develop their cross-cultural coaching practices by providing education and licenses to workshop materials and online assessment tools.’

    Another aspect of branding is designing an experience. When someone visits your website or reads your slogan, what type of experience will they have? For example, the CBC brand uses words and phrases such as productivity and profitability to build a business-focused experience with a goal of building highly effective and collaborative work teams.

    Once you have identified your brand personality, slogan/mission statement, and viewer experience, then it’s time for a logo. If you are not an artist and graphic designer, my advice is to find a professional who is skilled in branding, design, fonts, color palette, and overall look and feel. I’ve been impressed with the services of 99 Designs and Upwork for these services.

    My best advice is to test your branding with several people to get their feedback to confirm your intention. Be open to suggestions and revising your branding materials. Taking the time to continue to build your brand as your business grows is one of the keys to successful marketing.


  • 11 Apr 2019 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Carlos E. Cortés
    Professor Emeritus of History
    University of California, Riverside
    carlos.cortes@ucr.edu

    “That’s against free speech.”

    Diversity advocates often face this accusation –- explicitly or implicitly -- when they propose ideas for limiting speech that might be deemed offensive or harmful, including hate speech. Fortunately there is a way to counter this accusation.

    Don’t take the bait. Reject the premise. It’s false. Instead clarify that speech is not really “free.”

    In practice, totally free speech does not exist in the United States. Rather our country has created an ever-changing system that balances robust legally-permitted (not “free”) speech with selective legally-restricted speech. So when diversity advocates challenge certain kinds of speech, they are participating in the two-century U.S. historical process of trying to establish selected limits, sometimes legal limits, on speech.

    For the past year, as a fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, I have been examining this process. My research project has focused on the last fifty years of the diversity movement, particularly the speech-related issues it has raised. On the basis of that research, I have concluded that the diversity movement consists of four main strands: interculturalism; equity-and-inclusionism; critical theory; and managerialism.

    This is not the place to unpack all four of these strands. I do so in my article, “Beyond Free Speech: Fostering Civic Engagement at the Intersection of Diversity and Expression,” which I would be happy to send you (write me at carlos.cortes@ucr.edu). Here I want to briefly compare the approaches to speech prevalent within two of these strands: interculturalism; and equity-and-inclusionism.

    Interculturalists have long sought to help people become more responsive to cultural otherness. This includes recognizing the importance of both language and non-verbal communication. For the most part interculturalists have emphasized voluntary individual and organizational actions to modify language (including body language) in order to better communicate across cultures, both internationally and intranationally.

    One interculturalist premise is that cross-cultural knowledge, understanding, and skills should improve personal interactions and contribute to inclusive environments. If people improve in these three intercultural areas, they will modify their language and adapt their communication styles to build stronger relationships.

    But wait a minute! Isn’t such speech adaptation to otherness a form of self-censorship? Maybe so, particularly in today’s polarized environment. But growing up in the Midwest in the 1940’s, I learned that such self-restraint (today sometimes known as self-editing) was merely common courtesy. Interculturalism adds another dimension through the recognition that different cultural traditions have spawned varying ways of expressing courtesy and respect.

    Alongside interculturalism has developed equity-oriented inclusionism, rooted historically in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. To such inclusionists, progress toward equitable diversity requires more than knowledge and sensitivity.

    They ask other questions. What inequities are built into language use? In what respects can language undermine equity and inclusivity? While drawing on interculturalist principles (sometimes without realizing it), inclusionsts are more likely to address such issues as intergroup prejudice, power differentials, structural inequalities, and privilege-based individual and group advantages.

    Interculturalists and inclusionists often diverge in their approaches to addressing speech. Interculturalists tend to emphasize voluntary speech restraint through greater understanding and empathy. Inclusionists tend to be more willing to support organizational or institutional restraints on what they view as harmful speech.

    Take one area of diversity-speech tensions: the idea of language correctness. Because group labels continuously evolve, it is often difficult to determine what is the “correct” group term, particularly when group members disagree on their preferences (for example, Hispanic, Latino, or Latinx). Now we also recognize increasing variations of individually-preferred gender pronouns. In these constantly-changing circumstances, “mistakes” are inevitable, even by people of goodwill.

    For the most part, diversity advocates have tended to cut people considerable speech slack concerning language changes and new terminology. However, in contrast to voluntarism-oriented interculturalists, some inclusionists support speech prohibitions, even sanctions for language deemed oppressive. At least one major U.S. university has been considering punishments for people who use the wrong gender pronouns.

    I don’t want to convey the false impression that these two diversity strands stand in total opposition to each other. Indeed, many diversity practitioners operate within both strands. Yet there is an inherent tension between an emphasis on voluntarism and the establishment of rules, restrictions, and sanctions.

    I believe in the importance of both supporting robust speech and pursuing greater equity and inclusivity. To work simultaneously toward these two critical imperatives, interculturalists need to continuously and publicly wrestle with two fundamental but perplexing questions:

    ***In order to foster greater equity, inclusion, and intercultural understanding, how should we address the issue of modifying or limiting speech?

    ***In order to foster robust speech, in what respects should personal and group discomfort, offense, and maybe even pain be viewed as inevitable aspects of personal, institutional, and organizational life?

    Let the conversations flourish!


  • 11 Apr 2019 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Alvino E. Fantini

    Intercultural exchange experiences are on the rise. Increased contact among people of the world and increased diversity in many societies has made it imperative to promote understanding, tolerance, and respect among people of different cultures. Developing intercultural communicative competencies (ICC) has become a sine qua non for today’s students. Universities are responding with internationalization efforts that include curricular changes, increasing diversity on campus, and language and intercultural study. Educational exchange programs offer even greater promise by providing direct experience in another culture.

    The Federation of The Experiment in International Living (Federation EIL), which has promoted educational exchange for over 85 years, has consistently offered such programs through its member organizations and partners in many countries around the world. Beginning in 1932 with summer exchange programs, The Experiment added academic study abroad programs in the 1950s in conjunction with many universities around the country. Today, the Federation’s U.S. member, World Learning, Inc., continues to conduct high school study abroad programs through its Experiment division while its School for International Training (SIT) provides more than 80 study abroad programs on all seven continents through Academic Study Abroad.

    EIL and SIT programs involve careful participant selection, orientation, family homestays in the host culture, intercultural interventions conducted by teachers or leaders throughout the sojourn, and often a program theme, language study, local travel, and civic service internships or field research. At the heart of all these programs, however, it has become clear that living with a host family and developing host language proficiency are not only key to developing intercultural communicative competencies, they also lead to lifelong relationships across cultures.

    These findings are substantiated through research regarding the impact of exchange experiences, and were recently published in the book Intercultural Communicative Competence in Educational Exchange: A Multinational Perspective (Routledge, 2019). The work is based on extensive research conducted by a multinational tem that explored the nature of intercultural communicative competence, its development during intercultural exchange programs, and the impact of these experiences on the lives of alumni up to 20 years later.

    Intercultural communicative competencies are commonly defined as “the complex of abilities required to interact effectively and appropriately when dealing with members of another language-culture.” But identifying ICC components is more challenging. Components identified through the research were: specific characteristics or attributes, three specific abilities, four areas or dimensions, and host language proficiency, developing through a longitudinal process.

    Research was conducted in eight countries (Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States) and involved more than 2,000 participants plus over 200 host families. The impact of programs in transforming people’s lives was reflected through both quantitative statistics and qualitative narratives obtained through surveys and interviews. Data also yielded important implications for program design and implementation, the relative value of program components, selection processes (for sojourners and hosts), cross-cultural orientation and ongoing interventions, monitoring and measuring of ICC development, and assessing outcomes upon participants long after the sojourn. In the end, findings substantiated the value of intercultural experience as one of the most holistic and profound educational experiences of their lives.

    Several assertions were also strongly supported by the research, to wit:

    • Intercultural experiences are life-altering.
    • Homestays are the most compelling component of the sojourn abroad, helping participants to integrate into the culture, developing life-long relationships, aiding language learning, and providing a sense of security.
    • Learning the host language is a fundamental component of ICC development.
    • Intercultural contact affects all parties (host family members as well as sojourners).
    • Participants develop new abilities and lean toward specific job areas, life partners, lifestyles, values, and more.
    • When they return, alumni often engage in activities that impact others through education, service, and development (the multiplier effect).
    • And many other unexpected benefits were cited (most respondents spoke of the program as the “most important educational experience of their lives”).

    Clearly, internationalization also helps commerce, increases competition, and enhances our ability to interact politically in the world. But it is even more powerful than that. International, intercultural education transforms lives by developing new perspectives and alternative ways of conceptualizing, of being, of understanding, of interacting. Intercultural experiences help to transcend one’s singular worldview, to see anew, to learn more about others and oneself. As students develop friendships across cultures and become comfortable with difference, they contribute to the more important goals of peace, social justice, and equality.

    For further information, see:

    https://www.routledge.com/Intercultural-Communicative-Competence-in-Educational-Exchange-A-Multinational/Fantini/p/book/9780815369677



  • 11 Apr 2019 8:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Luby Ismail

    • Engage diversity for counter narratives
    • Initiate regular encounters to counter FEAR, OTHERING
    • Meet with conservative communities America Indivisible,
    • Join campaigns to advertisers of anti-Muslim news


    Recommendations

    • Demand elected officials make statements rejecting hate-driven policies.
    • Add your voice to oppose anti Muslim campaigns.
    • Email media voicing your opinions tied to American values.
    • Support efforts against Islamophobia, anti-immigrant, Black Lives Matter.
    • Inquire of in-service cultural training by credible officer and community members.

    Cultural Competent Engagement

    • Encounters with diversity of community.
    • Reflect knowledge of faith & culture of communities.
    • Demonstrate listening to key concerns to build rapport and trust.
    • Convey respect by understanding cultural and religious practices.
    • Ongoing familiarity and interaction with communities.
    • Remember ethnic identity and faith are not interchangeable.
    • Recognize, be inclusive of the intra-community diversity

    Resources

    • Unity Productions Foundation—Unity Productions Foundation
    • Islamic Networks Group—ing.org
    • Institute for Social Policy and Understanding —www.ispu.org
    • Georgetown University BRIDGE
    • Teaching Tolerance Expelling-Islamophobia
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kB-9isQxS2M
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISltHnLC0iA

    Contact me

    www.connecting-culures.net

    luby@connecing-cultures.net

    Facebook: @IConnectCultures

    YouTube: Luby Ismail

  • 11 Apr 2019 7:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin, Ace Books, 2000, 336 pages, (1st edition 1969)

    Reviewed by Craig Storti

    I’m sure most readers will agree that so far we have been very well behaved in this column; we have chosen respectable, presentable titles well within the mainstream of our field. You may even think that at this point you more or less know what to expect from us.

    Good. Because this month we are planning to rock the boat, take a walk on the wild side, and otherwise stir the pot. We have decided to review a work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Le Guin. We hasten to add this is not just any science fiction book—we have our standards, after all—nor is Ursula Le Guin your run-of-the-mill science fiction writer. She is, in fact, the daughter of a renowned anthropologist, Alfred Kroeber, and that fact is not coincidental to the nature of this book: It is science fiction, to be sure, but science fiction sifted through an anthropological sensitivity. If an interculturalist went a bit crazy, abandoned all pretense, and wrote a novel, it might read like this.

    Some of you may stop reading at this point because you know Le Guin and you think she writes fantasy—she’s best known for the Earthsea Trilogy, which is fantasy, albeit intelligent fantasy—but she also wrote science fiction, winning numerous Hugo awards (for best science fiction novel of the year) along the way, the most of any woman writer. Le Guin herself did not like the label science fiction writer and preferred to be called a novelist.

    “Be that as it may,” the reader is thinking, “what’s she doing in this column?” To be sure, a lot of science fiction is about interplanetary wars, alien creatures, and end-of-the-world scenarios. But the more thoughtful—and no one is more thoughtful than Le Guin—deal with the most basic concept in the intercultural field: contact and interaction with the Other. All science fiction deals with that concept one way or another, but it is usually just in passing, incidental to the story, while here it is the central focus; The Left Hand of Darkness is all about what it’s like trying to understand and function effectively in another culture.

    Naturally it has to have a plot; it’s a novel, after all, a story, and there has to be some excitement or even interculturalists won’t keep reading. But page for page The Left Hand has more insight into and examples of intercultural interactions than any novel your reviewer has ever read (with a couple of exceptions that might just make an appearance in this column, too, one day). So while you should certainly read it for the story, you will be intrigued by the deep cross-cultural undercurrents, especially in the first half of the novel.

    So what is the story? Genly Ai is an emissary to the world of Gethen from the Ekumen, a union of 84 planets which cooperate for cultural, scientific, and trade purposes. Genly’s brief is to sell Gethen on joining the union, for mutual benefit. There are several separate nations on Gethen, and at the moment two of the biggest ones are fighting over a disputed territory, and Genly gets caught up in the politics as each nation maneuvers to use his proposal as a foil against the other.

    The curious thing about Gethen is that its people, while otherwise human, are bi- or ambi-gender; each person has both male and female sexual organs, one set of which will become active when a Gethenian enters kemmer (something like estrus) and mates with someone who, for this particular period of kemmer, is of the opposite sex. The same individual, in short, can be the mother of some children and the father of others. Many of the book’s cross-cultural moments revolve around how Genly comes to terms with Gethenian identity—or fails to.

    “When you meet a Gethenian,” Genly remarks at one point,

    you cannot and must not do what a bisexual naturally does, which is to cast him in the role of Man or Woman, while adopting towards him a corresponding role dependent on your expectations of the patterned or possible interactions between persons of the same or the opposite sex. Our entire pattern of socio-sexual interactions is nonexistent here. They cannot play the game. They do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imagination to accept. What is the first question we ask about a newborn baby?

    That’s a rather blatant intercultural observation, but the book is full of subtler, throw-away moments and incidents, growing organically out of the story (which makes it easy to miss many of them), of misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and cultural faux pas. Indeed, the plot turns on a misreading by Genly of his friend Estraven, the prime minister of Karhide. Which makes this a good place to note that the characters in this novel are extremely well drawn; they are not merely the implementers of the plot, as in much of science fiction, but central to it.

    The only real job of a science fiction writer (maybe any novelist) is to create what’s known in the trade as a “world,” a place with its own geography, believable inhabitants, a history, and most of all a culture. Gethen comes alive in a way real places don’t in some fiction. In the last half of the novel, when Genly and Estraven are fleeing across the northernmost reaches of Gethen, the landscape becomes almost a character. Their flight is drama of the highest order.

    The only problem with The Left Hand of Darkness is that after you put it down, you’ll want to read another book just like it. But there aren’t any. (So don’t say you haven’t been warned.)


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