Director’s activities

Wendy Leeds-HurwitzWendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
Summary of Activities 2010-present

I took on the position of Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue in March 2010. In June I retired after 28 years as Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Fall 2010 was spent 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). This set the pattern for the following years: one or two long stays, with lots of short international visits.

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 (that year integrated into the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon). My project at IFE resulted in a book, Learning Matters: The Transformation of US Higher Education, published in 2012. Before returning to the US, I presented several talks at the Politécnico de Coimbra in Portugal. Back in the US, I co-presented a paper to the National Communication Association meeting in New Orleans in November, where I connected with some of the Center’s Advisory Board members, and then prepared a section on Internationalization for NCA’s website. 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.

In fall 2012, I returned to ENS-Lyon, 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, 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 descriptions of activities posted). A report entitled Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework, resulting from the UNESCO Experts Meeting in Fall 2011, was published in March 2013 (later translated into Arabic, FrenchSpanish, and Russian). Talks and/or visits in spring 2013 included Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Macau, the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, and Tallinn University. During a brief stop in Lyon in May, I learned that a book chapter resulting from collaboration with colleagues there had appeared, ViSA: Construction d’un objet-frontière et d’une forme de métacommunication [Boundary objects as a form of metacommunication]. Then it was off to the IUFM d’Auvergne (in Clermont-Ferrand, France) for a week of talks and workshops related to Learning Matters. The last trip was to London, for the International Communication Association convention, where I presented a paper co-authored with the two Portuguese scholars who hosted my talk in Lisbon in 2012.

I spent Fall 2013 at Villanova University as the Harron Family Endowed Chair in Communication, teaching a graduate seminar on Social Construction Theory and an undergraduate seminar on Socialization to Cultural Identity. While on the east coast, I had the opportunity to connect with Beth Haslett at the University of Delaware in September. In October I met with colleagues and gave a talk at University at Albany, connecting with numerous colleagues there. In November, I gave the Harron Lecture at Villanova. Also in November, I participated in the NCA convention in Washington DC, connecting with lots of old and a few new colleagues, as well as meeting with several of CID’s Advisory Board members, the NCA Task Force on Internationalization (integrating the results into the previously descried section on Internationalization on NCA’s website), and was the guest of honor at the Villanova reception (thanks, Maurice!). In December, Bryan Crable and I signed a memorandum of understanding between CID and the Waterhouse Family Institute.

After completing my semester at Villanova in December 2013, I started the next international trip. My first stop was Sydney, Australia, where I was able to connect with several scholars. My second stop was Dunedin, New Zealand, where I presented a talk at the University of Otago. In February of 2014 I began the first publication series for CID, Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue. In April, CID co-organized the Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue in Asia with the University of Macau. The talk I gave in Azerbaijan in 2011 was published in a new book on intercultural dialogue edited by my counterpart, Liubou Uladykouskaja, Director of the Institution Intercultural Dialogue in Belarus. I spent April 2014 in Paris, connecting with Yves Winkin, Katerina Stenou at UNESCO, one of the Advisory Board members of the CID, and Gerardo Bautista (the publisher of Learning Matters). In May I stopped in The Netherlands, Italy (both Turin and Bergamo), Lugano (Switzerland) and Lyon.

I spent most of fall 2014 in Victoria, Canada, where I gave several talks at Royal Roads University and connecting with faculty teaching in the only MA in intercultural/international communication in Canada. RRU videotaped one of my talks, and clips have now been posted to the CID channel on YouTube. Several graduate students at RRU worked on small projects as interns at CID. Over the winter and early spring, I made several stops in Australia and New Zealand. Late spring and summer 2015 were spent moving my home base from Wisconsin to Vermont. In June, my entry on intercultural dialogue appeared in The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction.

Across August, September, and October of 2015, I was in Victoria, BC (Canada), teaching a course at Royal Roads University on Cultural Identity to their masters’ students, and participating in a videotaped conversation, Communication Matters: Immigration from an Intercultural Communication Perspective. In November, I participated in the 8th International Conference on Intercultural Communication at Wuhan University in China. Since I was unable to get to China in person, I participated digitally. As a result, my paper, The Influence of National Character Studies on Intercultural Communication: Moving Beyond Past Assumptions to Current Complexities, is now available on the CID YouTube channel.

For the month of April 2016, I was visiting professor at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France, at the invitation of Yves Winkin, at that point director of the museum. While there, I also spent time with Katerina Stenou, one of the Advisory Board members of the CID, Casey Man Kong Lum, and Johanna Maccioni. In addition, Christine Develotte invited me to give a presentation on “Family Socialization to Cultural Identity: How Theory and Method Influence Research” to her doctoral seminar at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. In May, a chapter I wrote based on my teaching at UWP (When “Education is an Exotic Land”: Using Metaphors to Construct Student Academic Identities) was published in the collection Diversity in the College Classroom: Knowing Ourselves, Our Students, Our Disciplines, which focuses on intercultural interactions in the USA. Also in May, a chapter I wrote for Urban Foodways and Communication: Ethnographic Studies in Intangible Cultural Food Heritages around the World appeared, entitled Epilogue: Urban Foodways as Communication and as Intangible Cultural Heritage. I spent July through September back at Royal Roads University, in Victoria, BC, again teaching a graduate seminar on Cultural Identity. By the time I left, I had chosen Min He to serve as Assistant to the Director of CID for 6 months, with a focus on determining who are CID followers. In November, I participated in the NCA convention in Philadelphia, stopping to visit several colleagues in New York on the way.

In January 2017, my article “De la possession des compétences interculturelles au dialogue interculturel: Un cadre conceptuel [Moving from having intercultural competencies to constructing intercultural dialogues: A conceptual framework], appeared as part of the special issue on Les competences interculturelles: Enjeux, pratiques, perspectives in the journal Les Politiques Sociales. In February, I started a second publication series for CID, Constructing Intercultural Dialogues. These present case studies of actual examples of times people attempt, whether successfully or not, to hold dialogues across culture boundaries. In June, I started a third series, CID Posters, due largely to the efforts of the spring intern, Linda J. de Wit. These turn quotes related to intercultural dialogue into memorable images, and have been (justifiably) extraordinarily popular, with thousands of views and downloads of most of them. July through September were spent back at Royal Roads University, this time teaching a graduate seminar in Advanced Research Methods. From October 2017 through March 2018 I supervised a doctoral student in an independent study course preparing for her dissertation, again at Royal Roads University.

In spring 2018 the first CID Video Competition was held, asking students to answer the question “What does intercultural dialogue look like?” Thanks to the efforts of a wonderful panel of judges, first, second, and third prize, as well as three awards of excellence, were chosen, and the winning videos posted to the CID YouTube channel. I also wrote a foreword for Maria Flora Mangano‘s dissertation when it was published, Relationship as a space “in between”: A transcultural and transdisciplinary approach mediated by dialogue in academic teaching. My list of online publications expanded, with Who remembers Goffman? for the Oxford University Press Blog, and Holding local, not global, intercultural dialogues, for the UNESCO Intercultural Dialogue E-Platform. The set of competences described in detail in Intercultural competences: A conceptual and operational framework, a document I prepared for UNESCO in 2013, was redesigned into a wonderful visual resource on that same platform, as Core concepts, the same year. July through September 2018 I spent in Ireland and Scotland.

In spring/summer 2019, the second CID Video Competition kept me busy. Students were asked to answer a new question: “How do social media influence intercultural dialogue?” and there was a new set of judges; the winning videos have now been posted. July through September 2019 were spent in Scotland, Wales, and England connecting with a variety of friends and relatives, and visiting more ancient castles, churches, and Roman ruins than I’ve ever seen before. In terms of research, an essay on Thick description  was published in SAGE Research Methods Foundations in September; I also posted about what thick description is and how it can serve as a tool for intercultural dialogue. In December I published Moving (slowly) toward understanding knowledge as a global commons in the Journal of Multicultural Discourses; “The value of a Fulbright: Internationalizing education one person at a time” in the book Internationalizing the communication curriculum in an age of globalization; and an interview with the French journal Mediation et Information as part of a special issue on relationships.

In 2020, I was interviewed by a colleague in Wuhan, China, as part of an article which has now appeared in English (“How can we communicate interculturally? Response and reflection from global communication scholars on the COVID-19 epidemic”), and which will appear in Chinese in the future. I wrote “Intercultural dialogue as the elephant in the room: Moving from assumptions to research investigations” for first issue of In Dialogue: CID Occasional Papers, and also prepared the Wikipedia entry for Intercultural dialogue, which is now receiving even more views than the one prepared for CID years earlier. I wrote several book chapters with colleagues in Canada, Germany, or the UK, and gave two presentations at New York University on intercultural topics.

In January and February 2021, a major project was holding focus groups to discuss UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative, leading to a final report, and then an addendum. During the year I presented on intercultural communication topics for San Diego State University, New York University, and Royal Roads University. In November, I was a plenary speaker for “Intercultural dialogue in an online setting” as part of MetaUniversity 2021, organized by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe. In addition, I taught a graduate seminar on Public Culture, for Royal Roads University, once in spring and once in fall. The students studied how public culture organizations and institutions get to the culture to the public when the public can’t visit in person, creating a website, Facebook group, and Instagram account, as ways to share what they learned. I also designed a new course for RRU: Migration and Diaspora Studies in Global Contexts, which will be taught for the first time in 2022. Still in 2021 (a busy year), I published The role of theory groups in the lives of ideas in the inaugural issue of History of Media Studies, and several book chapters on disciplinary history (including The Natural History of an Interview and the microanalysis of behavior in social interaction: A critical moment in research practice); and contributed to the panel Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Robert Shuter, an early intercultural communication scholar in the US, at the National Communication Association convention in November.

From 2018 to 2022, I supervised Astrid Kuhn’s doctoral dissertation, In sight: MOVING Filipino Canadians into leadership? at Royal Roads University (Canada). I gave a presentation on “Key concepts in intercultural communication and dialogue” at New York University in February. I have multiple articles and book chapters either just published or in press. Now available are “Gregory Bateson and communication theory” in Goffman handbuch: Leben – werk – wirkung, and “Goffman and Communication” in The Routledge international handbook of Goffman studies. I gave multiple presentations in fall 2022: two presentations at NYU (one on the semiotics of food, the other on intercultural dialogue), one at Royal Roads University (on cultural identity and migration), one at the American Anthropology Association (on disciplinary history), and one for the Universidade de Brasilia (on Erving Goffman), now available on YouTube. The AAA panel is leading to a book I will co-edit on Stephen O. Murray’s life and work; the talk in Brazil will become a chapter in a book, both of which are in process in 2023.

For more information about me, see my CV (February 2023). For more information about the Council or the Center’s Advisory Board, see CID People. For contact information see Contact.








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