Intercultural Communications and Mother-in-Laws

 My favorite story about my mother-in-law is this: It had to have been 1989 or ‘90, and Dona Antonia was visiting us in Boston from Brazil.  Because the trip was long, she usually stayed for two or three months once she was there. When Mãe (pronounced ‘my,’ Portuguese for mom) visited, she readily cared for…

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Politically Correct Language Does Nothing for Blatant Racism

Comedian Elon James White’s take on Pool Racism In intercultural communications, the emphasis is on cultural understanding and appreciating that sometimes people might unintentially offend because of unconscious bias. Such was not the case with 60 African American children who were kicked out of a pool at a private club in Philadelphia, being told that…

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An Oxymoron in Networking and Diversity: A Jewish Sky Diver

A few years ago I was with a group of women socializing after work, and we were talking about experiences of going camping growing up.  Each shared her memories, and then turned to me for ‘my turn.’  All I could think of was “We’re Jewish.  We don’t camp.” Such was the reaction today during a workshop…

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Get Smart, The Cold War, Russian Spies, and Family Time

I shared with my husband the article in yesterday’s New York Times, about President Obama’s decision to give a meeting with Prime Minister Putin a backseat to some time with his family.   From an intercultural communications perspective, it struck me as 100% against the grain–the entire idea is to understand your counterpart’s orientation and frame…

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Christians and Muslims on same page to combat social woes

If you’ve ever thrown up your hands in frustration trying to communicate in another language, in another country, you may also have stayed calm by reassuring yourself that at the core, we all have the same basic needs for food and shelter.  As long as you’re not trying to discuss existentialism, you’ll probably be okay.  In multicultural communications…

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Person to Person Diplomacy for Cross-Cultural Appreciation

“Getting to know you” is a lyrical description of the premier event that took place in Chicago this past weekend.  Partners of the Americas (POA), one of the largest volunteer organizations in the Western Hemisphere, hosted the first Midwest Regional Conference on volunteerism that featured the power of citizen diplomacy, the primary force in bringing…

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Advertising in China: The President, Blockberry, and Cultural Appropriation

 My first reaction?  Totally inappropriate.  My second reaction?  If it meant not raising taxes due to new revenue streams, why not?   Although, “why not” might be answered by Conan O’Brien’s experience with international advertising (below). The Wall Street “China Journal admittedly hasn’t verified this with Robert Gibbs, but we’ll go out on a limb and…

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First Steps to Cultural Understanding for US Teens

That’s Grace and Nicole.  Two teenagers enjoying an outing together.  Except that Grace is from Nicaragua, and Nicole is from Wisconsin.  The two met through the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas Youth Ambassadors Program. “The Youth Ambassadors program, begun in 2002, brings outstanding public high school students from across Latin America to the United States…

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