Van Evra, Jennifer. (1 May 2019). Cape Breton student sings beautiful Mi’kmaq rendition of the Beatles’ Blackbird’. CBC Radio.
This essay and video about a translated song serve as a reminder that language and culture are bound together, and thus that intercultural dialogue has an important link to multilingualism.
“Blackbird is one of the Beatles’ most beloved songs — and now a small East Coast school has made it their own by creating a rendition in the Mi’kmaq language. Music students at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia created the cover as part of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, a United Nations initiative aimed at raising awareness of endangered Indigenous languages around the world. Led by music teacher Carter Chiasson, students recorded the Paul McCartney classic in their native Mi’kmaq language, with translation by Chiasson’s colleagues Katani Julian and Albert ‘Golydada’ Julian.”
In 2017, Zeit Online (the online platform for the Germany newspaper Die Zeit) organized the first ever My Country Talks event, Germany Talks.
“The idea for the first Germany Talks event came about after Donald Trump had been elected president, Britain had voted for Brexit and France was on the verge of electing a right-wing president. Western societies seemed increasingly divided.
ZEIT ONLINE’s editorial team asked itself: What can we do to overcome polarization? How can we help our readers to have a conversation outside their own filter bubble?
On May 4, 2017, ZEIT ONLINE posted a widget on its homepage with the question: “May we introduce you to someone?” After a couple of weeks, 12,000 people had registered through the widget in the hopes of meeting someone in their neighborhood with a different political perspective.”
Germany Talks led to the creation of My Country Talks. In 2018, comparable events were organized for Italy, Austria, Germany (again), and Switzerland. In 2019, Finland, Belgium, Italy, all of Europe, Norway, Denmark, and Britain held events.
E-learning Introduction to Dialogue Facilitation: Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange, 4 November-2 December 2019, Online and Belgium. Deadline: 1 November 2019.
This is an online, paced training course designed to give participants a background and understanding of dialogue facilitation and to prepare for the intensive course.
Introduction to Facilitation: 10 hours of asynchronous, paced online course
The Facilitation Training was developed with the expert contribution of various conflict resolution, mediation and facilitation practitioners, invested in 21st century education and in broadening knowledge and use of peace-building methodologies in a diverse and global context. Successful completion of training and practicum qualifies trainees to UN endorsed certificates.
Facilitators are an important part of Virtual Exchange programmes. They are third parties who help a group have a constructive, respectful and authentic dialogue on various topics of (mutual) interest.
Facilitators are multi-partial and neutral process leaders: they do not participate in the content of the conversation but do their best to ensure all participants feel free to express themselves and are heard by others, respecting certain agreed-upon ground rules and following the indications of programme curriculum as well as the group’s needs and interests.
Facilitators seek to elicit self-group awareness and understanding by providing a safe and effective learning environment where participants learn tools to hold an effective cross-cultural dialogue and are inspired to take the skills and understanding beyond their participation in Virtual Exchange.
Facilitators are trained in utilizing a diverse set of facilitation tools to foster such awareness and learning and address group dynamics. Virtual Exchange facilitators are curious learners, good listeners, multi-taskers and team workers. As a facilitator, you will actively strive to improve your facilitation skills and knowledge with the Erasmus+ facilitator community.
Contributing to the United Nations 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, a Google Earth project, Celebrating Indigenous Languages, brings attention to specific languages spoken around the world by letting 55 people share examples of greetings, sayings, and stories in their native language.
“A shared language is one of the most important connections among groups of people. Not only does it create a sense of kinship, but it promotes a shared worldview through unique vocabulary and traditional sayings and songs. Yet many of the world’s 7,000 languages are in danger of disappearing; according to the United Nations 2,680 Indigenous languages are at risk. Indigenous communities around the globe are working to preserve and revitalize their languages by teaching them to future generations and sharing them with non-Indigenous speakers.”
Katz, Brigid. (15 August 2019). At-risk indigenous languages spotlighted on new Google Earth platform. Smithsonian.com
Šopova, Jasmina. (2019). Indigenous languages and knowledge. The UNESCO Courier, January-March 2019.
Choe, Caroline. (31 August 2019). Cookie artist teaches edible lessons In Asian-American history. National Public Radio.
Who would have thought using baked goods as a platform to talk social justice was a thing? And yet, the attention it has garnered is exactly what we need to start dialog and to impart enlightenment.
“Jasmine Cho knows the power of a good cookie. ‘Cookies,’ she says, ‘can make anything more palatable.’ Including conversations about race and social justice in America.
A baker based in Pittsburgh, Cho creates intricate, hand-drawn cookie portraits of Asian-American figures as a way to increase representation and raise awareness of Asian-American history and identity.”
Children’s books reflect the adult world, sometimes in unexpected ways. In a college course on children’s literature, I studied the ways in which children’s books dealt with serious issues (such as death). Since then I’ve paid a lot of attention to children’s books, so when I saw this infographic, I paid attention. You should too.
Full citation: Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/.
This seems to show an over-representation of White children at 50%, but now look at comparable figures for 2015:
Full citation: Huyck, David, Sarah Park Dahlen, Molly Beth Griffin. (2016 September 14). Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 infographic. sarahpark.com blog.
Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/picture-this-reflecting-diversity-in-childrens-book-publishing/
Statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison:
Even though the number of white protagonists in children’s books has gone down over the 3 years examined, this doesn’t actually show as much increase in diverse protagonists as it might – the largest gain was in the category of “animals, trucks, etc.”! Obviously there are a lot of children’s books with diverse protagonists still needing to be written, so that all children get to see themselves represented.
Durand, E. S., & Jiménez-García, M. (2018). Unsettling representations of identities: A critical review of diverse youth literature. Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, 1(1 ), Article 7.
Naidoo, J. C., & Dahlen, S. P. (Eds). (2013) Diversity in youth literature: Opening doors through reading. Chicago: ALA Editions.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
Gorman, J. (20 August 2019). An archaeological puzzle on the Danube. New York Times.
This article reports on a fascinating example of early intercultural dialogue; the archaeological evidence found is in Serbia.
“The faces are haunting. About 8,000 years ago, over a period of perhaps 200 years, artists that lived in this settlement on the banks of the Danube carved about 100 sandstone boulders with faces and abstract designs. The faces are simple, with wide round eyes, a stylized nose and down-turned open mouths…
Researchers still debate the precise dating of different settlements at Lepenski Vir and nearby sites, but agree on the essential fact that the sites capture a record of the meeting and mixing of two cultures and peoples…
Another indication of the merging of two cultures is a change in burial practices. Throughout Europe, the Mesolithic foragers laid a body down stretched out. The migrant farmers from the Near East brought another way of treating death, setting the body in a crouched or fetal position.
Both practices are found at Lepenski Vir. And when the burial practices are combined with DNA profiles, the picture is richer still. Some of the dead of Near Eastern heritage are buried in the way of the foragers. And others of foraging heritage are buried in the way of the farmers.”
Traveling in Scotland, I visited the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling. At the entrance, they have handouts outlining the history of the site – translated into 90+ languages!
I have never seen so much effort put into documentation for international visitors. If only all tourist attractions were so thoughtful.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
Sam Van Aken, sculptor and art professor at Syracuse University, invented the Tree of 40 fruit, already described as “a symbol of acceptance and dialogue across differences” – and it seems well suited to that role.
The Tree of 40 Fruit is a single grafted tree with the capacity to grow over 40 different varieties of stone fruit, including peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, cherry, and almond. Appearing as a normal fruit tree through the majority of the year, in spring it blossoms in variegated tones of pink, white, and crimson, and in summer multiple fruits ripen. Primarily composed of antique and native stone fruit varieties, the Tree of 40 Fruit is a form of conservation, preserving rare, unknown, or now forgotten cultivars that are not commercially available.
Syracuse University Magazine
2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Indigenous languages matter for social, economic and political development, peaceful coexistence and reconciliation in our societies. Yet many of them are in danger of disappearing. Every 2 weeks, the world loses an indigenous language and with it an entire cultural & intellectual heritage.
“An International Year is an important cooperation mechanism dedicated to raising awareness of a particular topic or theme of global interest or concern, and mobilizing different players for coordinated action around the world. In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, based on a recommendation by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. At the time, the Forum said that 40 per cent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.
In addition, indigenous peoples are often isolated both politically and socially in the countries they live in, by the geographical location of their communities, their separate histories, cultures, languages and traditions. And yet, they are not only leaders in protecting the environment, but their languages represent complex systems of knowledge and communication and should be recognized as a strategic national resource for development, peace building and reconciliation. They also foster and promote unique local cultures, customs and values which have endured for thousands of years. Indigenous languages add to the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity. Without them, the world would be a poorer place.”
from: About IYIL 2019.