This is a story about the formal welcome of an immigrant group (Chinese) into a new homeland (Australia). It ends with a question about broader applications.
On April 27, 2013, the Maori formally welcomed the Chinese community to Auckland at the Taniwha [a mythical being similar to a dragon] and Dragon Festival held on to Ōrākei marae [their ancestral home] to formalise a relationship between the two cultures. There was a pōhiri [formal welcoming ceremony] and festival.
“During the pōhiri, the kaikōrero [speakers] on both sides recounted the long-standing ties between Māori and Chinese families through market gardening, for instance, and sometimes the shared experience of racism. The festival afterwards highlighted common aspects of Māori and Chinese cultures — the significance of tīpuna [ancestors] and traditions, of taniwha [water spirits] and dragons, community dance, kite-flying. And, of course, food.”
After months of careful planning, thousands of people turned up, and the event was a success, with much learning on both sides. Which made Andrew Robb wonder, might it be appropriate and feasible to organize a comparable event for the Pākehā [White New Zealanders of European descent], many of whom have lived in New Zealand for generations, and now recognize the significance of Māori culture, yet never actually came in “through the front gate,” acknowledging the presence of a pre-existing culture.
And that leads to an even broader question: could new ceremonies be created to welcome various groups of immigrants to their new homelands (even if belatedly)? and if so, would they help smooth the integration process, on both sides?
Robb, A. (March 25, 2017). Are Pākehā up for the challenge? E-Tangata.
Intercultural dialogue is often about finding a way to recognize and reconcile two different sets of assumptions/beliefs. A particularly graceful solution to a conflict of beliefs between locals and tourists is described below. What is uncommon is that a solution was found in acknowledging a lack of action.
Context: Uluṟu /Ayers Rock used to be frequently climbed by visitors, but as of October 26, 2019 is to be closed to further climbing. Uluṟu is an intensely sacred landscape for the Aṉangu people.
“In regards to the climb itself, the management board did a clever thing. Rather than simply encourage visitors not to climb, they provided a way for them to feel they had contributed something by their decision. At one time, there was a visitors’ book on the summit with the title “I climbed Ayers Rock,” where climbers could record their achievement. So, at the visitors’ centre in the nearby town of Yulara, staff installed another book, with the title “I have not climbed Ayers Rock,” where visitors could make a comment about why they chose not to climb. This inspired piece of social psychology enables visitors to see their decision as an active endorsement, rather than a passive abstention. Signing becomes a record of a different kind of achievement. I glanced through some recent comments, many of which mentioned newfound respect for Aboriginal feelings. One visitor wrote: ‘I climbed it 29 years ago. Came back wiser.'”
Among the author’s conclusions: “social change may be hastened if the narratives stress mutual benefit rather than ‘us’ vs ‘them’ antagonism. The Aṉangu position was that not climbing Uluṟu was good for visitors’ bodies (safety), good for their souls (respect for sacredness), and good for building relationships between blackfellas and whitefellas.”
Warne, Kennedy. (December 10, 2017). No more shoes on Uluṟu. E-Tangata.
Art Research Residency, L’AiR Arts programs, October 8 – 22, 2019, Paris, France. Deadline: May 8, 2019.
As part of the L’AiR Arts programs, the Art Research Residency is designed to encourage artistic encounters and foster cultural exchanges for artists from all over the world. The program enables participants to evaluate their place as an international artist in Paris and situate their artistic exploration and practice within both the historical and contemporary context.
Located in Montparnasse, the host partner, FIAP Paris, provides a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere with rooms and spaces designed for your comfort. As an International Exchange Centre, it fosters initiatives which contribute to the promotion of a global citizenship.
NOTE: there are several other types of residencies as well, having different deadlines and dates. The upcoming multidisciplinary residency in January-February 2020, will be dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the inter-war period of Ecole de Paris and its historical legacy. The goals of this residency is not only to highlight the important role that international artists have played in Paris during the 20th Century interwar period, but also to support international dialogue towards an open and free society of today. And sometimes art professors, historians, or curators are included in these residencies, not only practicing artists.
Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange is part of the Erasmus+ programme, providing an accessible, ground-breaking way for young people to engage in intercultural learning.
Working with Youth Organisations and Universities, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange is open to any young person aged 18-30 residing in Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. Through a range of activities, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange aims to expand the reach and scope of the Erasmus+ programme through Virtual Exchanges, which are technology-enabled people-to-people dialogues sustained over a period of time.
Specific programs include:
Professional development for youth workers and university educators to learn how to develop a Transnational Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange Project (TEP) in order to enrich and expand existing programmes.
Advocacy training bringing young people from different backgrounds together to develop parliamentary debate skills with the support of a network of trained debate team leaders, fostering listening and understanding through advocacy training.
Interactive Open Online Courses across cultural contexts and national boundaries to learn with peers from diverse backgrounds using bite-sized video lectures, supported by skill building activities and facilitated intercultural discussions.
New website launched by CMM Institute: Cosmopolis2045.
What if a whole community treated relationships with other people as if they really mattered? What if a whole community took dialogue and deliberation seriously? And what if that community tried with all their hearts to bring about a better social world in all the myriad of ways we engage in communication with others in our world? These were the questions asked by a group of scholars and practitioners sponsored by the CMM Institute. The Cosmopolis2045 website is their answer.
The Cosmopolis2045 website depicts an imagined community set in the future (circa 2045) in which residents and leaders of the community have adopted a communication-centric view of how their own and other social worlds function. This website offers an intriguing look at a possible near future in which dialogue and deliberation are an integral part of everyday community events and are at the heart of city functioning. The website is also an information-rich resource for teaching classes on communication, especially cosmopolitan communication and for exploring the implications of a communication-centric view for a range of educational, legal, governance, and associated community practices.
Listen: Learning from Intercultural Storytelling (Germany).
The aim of LISTEN is to use “applied storytelling”, meaning storytelling without “professional” storytellers, in its many forms and functions as educational approach for the work with refugees – be it to support language learning, to exchange about cultural differences, to create visions etc.
In order to give refugees a voice in the receiving societies and to support their integration, LISTEN will explore different approaches to storytelling and how radio and other forms of audio broadcasting (e.g. podcasting) can be used as medium to share those stories.
Emre, M. (1 November 2018). This library has new books by major authors, but they can’t be read until 2114. New York Times.
The Future Library is a work of art that will take an astonishing 100 years to complete:
“In a small clearing in the forests of Nordmarka, one hour outside the city limits of Oslo [Norway], a thousand spruce trees are growing. They will grow for the next 96 years, until 2114, when they will be felled, pulped, pressed and dyed to serve as the paper supply for the Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library: an anthology of 100 previously unpublished books written by some of the 21st century’s most celebrated writers. There will be one book for every year the trees will have grown, each a donation from a writer chosen by the Future Library’s board of trustees — a gift from the literary gatekeepers of the present to the readers of the future.”
How is this relevant to intercultural dialogue?
“Turkish novelist Elif Shefak [who provided the fourth manuscript in the project]…describes writing a novel for the Future Library as ‘a secular act of faith’ in a world that seems to have gone mad, a world that violently accentuates the differences between people instead of celebrating their common humanity. ‘When you write a book,’ she says, ‘you have the faith that it will reach out to someone else, to someone who is different from you and it will connect us. That you will be able to transcend the boundaries of the self, that was given to you at birth, that you will be able to touch someone else’s reality.'”
Barlow, Susanna. (31 October 2018). The power of story. The Nasiona.
“The collective story of what it means to be human and how we should treat one another is the foundation upon which our cultures, our religions, our rituals, and even our identities are predicated upon. Stories are the bedrock of civilizations and the mortar between societies. While there is much diversity among humans, it is through our shared story that we find mutual understanding and cooperation. It is also through stories that we create wars, incite violence against each other, and isolate ourselves from others’ suffering. Stories bind us to each other, and we can be bonded as easily by hatred as by love through a shared story. And when our hostility, our judgment, and misunderstandings cause us to battle each other, we still end up tethered to one another by the story of that conflict.”
StoryCorps has started a new project, One Small Step, as a tool for encouraging dialogue.
“Over the last 15 years, StoryCorps has perfected a method for helping people feel more connected and for reminding us of the inherent worth of every person and every story. People come together to have otherwise impossible conversations, using our tools and questions. The microphone gives them license to talk about things they otherwise might not discuss.
Now, we are doing something different. We are asking people with different political views to record a StoryCorps interview with each other. Why? To break down boundaries created by politics and remember our shared humanity. To remind us that we have more in common than divides us and that treating those with whom we disagree with decency and respect is essential to a functioning democracy.
With One Small Step, we are seeking to counteract intensifying political divides, by facilitating and recording conversations that enable people who disagree to listen to each other with respect.”
4th Annual U.S. Media Literacy Week, November 5-9, 2018.
“Media Literacy is the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, COMMUNICATE and CREATE using all forms of communication. The mission of Media Literacy Week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education today.” Media literacy is a prerequisite for intercultural dialogue; without it, dialogue cannot occur.
NAMLE provides a wide variety of resources, including Free DVD/Streaming + Discussion Guide (for a limited time).
Continue reading “Media Literacy Week Resources 2018”