2009 was a transformative year for me. I spent 5 months as Senior Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon, an institute for advanced study in Lyon, France, and also organized the National Communication Association Summer Conference on Intercultural Dialogue, held at Maltepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22-26. The first experience showed me just how well-connected European scholars are with the rest of the world, especially when compared to US scholars. In Europe, not just senior faculty, but even graduate students connect frequently with significant numbers of international peers, meeting regularly, and collaborating on research projects. The second experience made it clear how little it takes to get even US scholars who have never traveled abroad to take that first trip and make their own connections. We distributed $5000 in small grants of $250, $500, or $750 to a total of 10 scholars at different stages of their careers, and they were able to leverage these amounts with matching grants from their own universities into enough to cover major expenses.
At the end of the Istanbul conference, the group discussed followup activities. Others took on the responsibility of preparing a journal special issue, a preconference, a book (forthcoming with Kendall Hunt). I agreed to find a way to fund small grants for cultural research, and expand opportunities for international collaborative research projects. With help from others who were at the conference, I put together a proposal to the Council of Communication Associations, and they approved the establishment of this Center in March 2010. Basic documents setting up the Center and the first Advisory Board members were approved at their board meeting in September 2010.
In Fall 2010 I was invited back to Lyon, this time as Chercheur invité [Invited Scholar] at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. It was helpful to be collaborating on international research projects myself while working to help others set up such connections! At the end of March, my time at the ENS-Lyon came to an end, and I started a series of visits to other countries before returning to the US. Over the spring, I traveled to Israel (giving talks at Hebrew University and the University of Haifa), Azerbaijan (the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue), China (giving talks at Shanghai International Studies University, Zhejiang University, Northwest University, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing International Studies University, Peking University, but also meeting with scholars at Wuhan University and Hong Kong), and then giving a few more talks in Japan (Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, and University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa).
I returned to the US for summer 2011, but spent 2 months in Fall 2011 as Chercheur invité at the Institut Français de l’Éducation (recently made part of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon) and then stopped at the Politécnico de Coimbra in Portugal. My project at IFE resulted in a book, Learning Matters: The Transformation of US Higher Education, published in 2012. When back in the US, I co-presented a paper to the National Communication Association meeting in New Orleans, where I connected with some of the Center’s Advisory Board members. In Spring 2012, I visited New Zealand (University of Otago), Australia (University of Melbourne, University of Brisbane), Singapore (Nanyang Technological University), Taiwan, Beijing (Beijing International Studies University), and Wuhan (Wuhan University and the Central China Normal University). Then in April and May I was a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, in Portugal, presenting talks at the University of Lisbon and then the University of Coimbra as well. While in Portugal, a monograph version of the book Learning Matters was prepared and translated: Arquitectura pedagógica para a mudança no ensino superior [Pedagogical architecture changes for higher education]. I got back to the US in time to present at the International Communication Association meeting in Phoenix (a co-authored paper with a colleague in France), where I met with a different cluster of members of the Advisory Board. In June I participated in the Ethnography of Communication conference in Omaha (presenting another co-authored paper with a different French colleague), and in August met with a few more members of the Advisory Board at the Association for Education in J0urnalism and Mass Communication in Chicago.
I returned to ENS-Lyon for the fall 2012, again as Chercheur invité at the Institut Français de l’Éducation. While in France, I was invited to Paris, to the Fondation La Main à la Pâte, to give a talk about my project in Lyon this year, a history and analysis of College for Kids in the US. At the end of October, I returned to Portugal, this time to Carregal do Sal, to talk about “Who needs Intercultural Dialogues?” as part of the Conferência Ouvindo o Outro: sobre o diálogo entre culturas [Conference on Listening to the Other: About Dialogue between Cultures], held prior to the avant premiere of the play Sots l’Ombra d’un Bell Arbre [Under the Shadow of a Leafy Tree]: The future is unwritten. After a return to the US in November and December, I traveled to New Zealand, making brief stops in Australia, Singapore, and Manila (no formal talks, thus no lengthy descriptions of what I was doing). A report entitled Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework, resulting from the UNESCO Experts Meeting in Fall 2011 was published in March 2013. Talks and/or visits in spring 2013 included Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Macau, the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, Tallinn University. During a brief stop in Lyon in May, I learned that a book chapter resulting from collaboration with colleagues there has appeared: “ViSA: Construction d’un objet-frontière et d’une forme de métacommunication.” Then it was off to the IUFM d’Auvergne (in Clermont-Ferrand, France) for a week of talks and workshops related to my co-authored book Learning Matters. The last trip this spring is to London, for the International Communication Association convention, where I will present a paper co-authored with 2 Portuguese scholars on the history of intercultural communication.
See the posts categorized as “Director’s talks” for further notes describing my stops in various cities and the scholars with whom I connected. For more information about me, see my CV. For more information about the Council or the Center’s Advisory Board, see Who we are. For contact information see Contact.