The Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue in Asia was held at the University of Macau on March 28-30, 2014. The organizers were Todd Sandel (Communication, University of Macau), John Corbett (English, University of Macau) and Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz (Center for Intercultural Dialogue). By design, this was a small event, designed to answer the question of whether, and in what ways, intercultural dialogue might be a useful term for discussing intercultural interactions in Asia. Sessions focused on such topics as what concepts aid in the study of intercultural dialogue, how intercultural competence fits with intercultural dialogue, and what needs to happen next, and various publication outlets. At least one special journal issue will result.
Martin Montgomery (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities) officially welcomed participants on behalf of the University of Macau. Participants included Saskia Witteborn (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Richard Buttny (Syracuse University, currently doing research in Malaysia), Stephen Croucher (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Ling Chen (Hong Kong Baptist University), Jiang Fei (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Huang Kuo (International Publishing Group, Beijing), Aimee Dawis (University of Indonesia), Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and University of Tasmania-Launceston, Australia), Peih-ying (Peggy) Lu (Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan), Melody Lu (Sociology, University of Macau), Priscilla Young (Peking University HSBC Business School, Shenzhen), and Anastasia Aldelina Lijadi (Psychology, University of Macau). Multiple masters and doctoral students in both Communication (Julie Zhong, Fiona Ng, Hazel Wan) and English (Carl, Dai Guangrong and Betty, Liu Suiling) managed some of the logistics, helping international visitors get around the city, picking up lunches, and serving as photographers and videographers. Administrative Staff, Barbara Chin (Communication) and Tina Chao (English) also spent many hours preparing documents and making travel, hotel, and other arrangements.
The highlight of the conference (at least for me) was gaining a sense of intercultural issues across Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and simultaneously across disciplinary, theoretical and methodological boundaries. Since this was a small group, there were lots of opportunities for participants to connect, and at least one journal special issue and several new research collaborations are being planned, as well as a future conference. Most immediately, researcher profiles for more of the roundtable participants already are being posted to this website, and half a dozen have committed to writing Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, to be posted over the next few weeks and months.
A short highlights video was prepared and is readily available. In addition, Aimee Dawis sent in a photo of coverage about the Roundtable in the International Daily News, a Chinese newspaper with the highest circulation in Indonesia:
Thanks to Aimee for arranging for this article, and to the University of Macau for being such a wonderful host institution for this event.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue