On the way between the US and New Zealand, I was able to stop in Sydney, Australia for a week. Being there permitted me to connect with two people I’d never met but only talked to via email, and one I had not seen in over a decade. Between the three, there was a wide range of interests and career stages.
Lily A. Arasaratnam is Senior Lecturer in Intercultural Communication and Program Director for an MA program at Alphacrucis College in Parramatta, just outside Sydney. I “met” Lily when we both participated in an online dialogue about intercultural communication for the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication which will shortly be published. Her primary research specialization is intercultural communication competence. She is an intercultural expert both because of her PhD and her personal experience: born in Sri Lanka, raised in the Maldives, with US degrees, and now living in Australia, she lives many of the dualities others only try to understand.
Olga Kozar is currently completing her PhD in Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her research is on private one-on-one English as a second language lessons conducted via videoconferencing tools such as Skype, especially when learners and teachers have different cultural backgrounds. In her spare time she runs such a language school – with about 1000 students! She was quite helpful in providing technology-related ideas, given that she’s become such an expert. I was delighted to discover that she and Christine Develotte, a colleague from Lyon, France, who does similar work with teaching French online and who I introduced her to via email, have now met in person as well.
I was introduced to Robyn Penman by Barnett Pearce so long ago we don’t remember when it would have been; it was a pleasure to have a chance to catch up on the past decade. Currently active with the CMM Institute, formerly with the Communication Research Institute of Australia, Robyn is a pioneering communication scholar, widely respected both for her ability to state theory clearly (as in her early Communication Processes and Relationships, or the more recent Reconstructing Communication) and to apply that theory to practical communication problems (as in Designing Information for People, a co-edited volume). Robyn suggested that, given my current efforts to connect international scholars, my name should now be changed to Ariadne, for her association with webs and weaving.
I look forward to continuing the conversations with all these scholars.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue