Royal Roads University visit 2017

Director's ActivitiesI spent July, August, and much of September 2017 teaching a graduate seminar at Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada, as part of their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC) for the third time (see prior posts for the first and second visits to RRU). This year the course was IICS 630: Advanced Research Methods, with students from Canada, China, Greece, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Ukraine. My thanks to Juana Du, program head of the MAIIC, for again inviting me to her beautiful campus to work with an incredible group of students!

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Ling Chen visited campus to give a guest lecture while I was in residence. She, Juana, and I went to Butchart Gardens, justifiably one of the major tourist spots in Victoria. This year I also was able to meet with Jan Bavelas, retired from the University of Victoria, and several of her former students, now research assistants.

Also while in Victoria, I connected with two my former students, Min He and Akari Takenishi. Min served as Assistant to the Director for 6 months, and both of them have translated Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue. Another of my 2016 students, Yan Qiu, has also translated some of the Key Concepts.

While at Royal Roads, I connected with a number of faculty and staff across a variety of programs, from Interdisciplinary Studies to Global Management, from the Centre for Teaching & Educational Technologies to Tourism & Hospitality Management. I look forward to maintaining connections with many of them.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Kids and Culture Camp

Fostering Cultural Diversity at CampEagan, O. (28 February 2017). Fostering cultural curiosity at camp. The Hill.

“there’s nothing like real knowledge of an individual
to destroy a stereotype”

Owen Eagan, who as writing a story for The Hill, a Washington, D.C. newspaper, contacted me a few weeks ago, to ask about intercultural dialogue. While I have no specific knowledge of or experience with the camp he was writing about, I did agree to make a few generalizations about intercultural dialogue, some of which are quoted in the attached article.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue





Les compétences interculturelles: Enjeux, pratiques, perspectives

Special Issue LPS About a year ago, Johanna Maccioni asked if I would write an article for a special issue of the journal Les Politiques Sociales on Les compétences interculturelles: Enjeux, pratiques, perspectives [Intercultural competences: Stakes, practices and perspectives] which she was editing with Cédric Juliens. I agreed, and wrote the draft, which we discussed when we both happened to be in Paris in April. It was translated over the summer; in fall Yves Winkin helped by reviewing the entire translation with me when we were both in Victoria. The issue has just been published, and is now available. As a Belgian journal published in French, the overview provided below is in French, however abstracts of all of the articles are available in French, English and Spanish. My thanks to Johanna for the invitation which led to a model of intercultural collaboration.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Présentation [Overview]

Lors de vagues de migrations successives, des millions de personnes ont gagné l’Occident dans la perspective d’une vie meilleure. Migrants et natifs du pays d’accueil ont alors fait l’expérience de la rencontre. Mais quand les différences culturelles sont perçues sur le mode de la hiérarchie, des rapports de force s’installent. Les travailleurs sociaux doivent-ils préconiser l’assimilation ou négocier sur fond d’interculturalité ? Et lors de cette négociation, quelles compétences les acteurs mettent-ils en jeu ? Ce numéro propose un état de la question des compétences interculturelles. Il clarifie certains enjeux identitaires, explore des pratiques actuelles et pose une réflexion pour l’avenir.

Sommaire [Table of Contents]

Présentation [Introduction] by Johanna Maccioni and  Cédric Juliens

De la possession des compétences interculturelles au dialogue interculturel : un cadre conceptuel [Putting intercultural skills and abilities at the service of dialogue: A conceptual framework] by Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz

L’interculturalisme québécois : un modèle alternatif d’intégration [Inter-culturalism in Quebec: An alternative model of integration] by Sabine Choquet

Reconnaissance : entre égalité et diversité [Recognition: Between equality and diversity] by Audrey Heine and Laurent Licata

« Islam-médicament » et « Coran-pharmacie » : du religieux comme forme de soin [“Islam the medicine, the Koran the pharmacist”: Religious practice as a form of care] by Eléonore Meriem Armanet

Enjeux de formation à la démarche interculturelle : exemple du milieu des soins [What is at stake in intercultural approaches: The example of the area of health care] by Johanna Maccioni

Le choc culturel : révélateur des difficultés des travailleurs sociaux intervenant en milieu de migrants et réfugiés [“Culture-shock”: A telling sign of the difficulties of social workers working with migrants and refugees by Margalit Cohen-Emerique

L’évaluation des compétences interculturelles [The evaluation of intercultural competences] by Anne Bartel-Radic

Les mobilités académiques comme opportunité pour les compétences interculturelles : de l’endoctrinement à l’acceptation des imaginaires [What happens when students exchange universities: The chance to be at
home in a different culture and replace received ideas with a new imaginative world] by Fred Dervin

« La première fois que j’ai vu de la neige en Belgique, je croyais que c’était du sucre. » Entretien avec l’équipe de médiatrices interculturelles du « Foyer » [“The first time I saw snow in Belgium I thought it was sugar”: A discussion with the team of female intercultural mediators at the cultural centre, Molenbeek, Brussels] by Juliens Cédric and Chikhi Hamida

« C’est à l’Eden que je songeais » [“C’est à l’Eden que je songeais”] by Frédéric Dussenne

Compétences interculturelles : entre droit à la diversité et nécessité du vivre ensemble [Intercultural competence between the right to diversity and the need to live together] by Altay Manço

National Communication Association 2016

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I participated in the National Communication Association convention in Philadelphia, November 10-13, 2016. I was a panelist for ‘Catching Ourselves in the Act’ Revisited: Taking Stock of the Past(s) and Future(s) of Communication Social Construction. The panel chair was Patricia Covarrubias; other panelists were Brenda Allen, Kevin Barge, Theresa Castor, Gloria Galanes, and Liliana Castañeda de Rossmann – pictured in the slideshow on my right. We discussed what has happened in the 10 years since the ‘Catching Ourselves in the Act’ conference on social construction theory, held in Albuquerque, NM. That event used an uncommon design, and was one of the influences on the format of the NCA Summer Conference on Intercultural Dialogue in Istanbul in 2009, the event which led to the creation of this Center for Intercultural Dialogue.

This conference was replete with such echoes of past events. I saw several of those who were at that Istanbul conference (including Erla S. Kristjánsdóttir – in the slideshow on my left, Jolanta Drzwiecka, and Eddah Mutua), or at the Macau Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue in Asia (Todd Sandel, Sunny Lie, and Richard Buttny). Villanova University held a social event for past, present, and future Harron Chairs, and as their 2013 chair, I was invited, and got to see many of my colleagues from that campus (including Maurice Hall, Sherry Bowen, Heidi Rose, and Bryan Crable) as well as Marianela Nunez, who has managed to turn her MA thesis into a full-time job! I also caught up with several of CID’s advisory board members (Donal Carbaugh and Todd Sandel again), and saw many scholars who have researcher profiles on this site (John Baldwin, Yea-Wen Chen, Sara DeTurk, Gonen Dori-Hacohen, Tenzin Dorjee, Don Ellis, Beth Haslett, Ron Jackson, Trudy Milburn, Bob Shuter, Miriam Sobre-Denton, and Yael Warshel among them). One of the results of my conversations is that additional scholars have agreed to write new Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, or translate those already published in English, and these will start appearing over the next few months. Another result came out of discussion at the International and Intercultural Communication Division business meeting, and will result in a new series for CID – details to be announced shortly.

On the way from Vermont to Philadelphia, I stopped in New York to connect with Casey Man Kong Lum, and was given a guided tour of Chinatown, with a focus on food (he just co-edited Urban foodways and communication: Ethnographic studies in intangible cultural food heritages around the world, a book for which I wrote a chapter). In addition, he recently worked with the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) on a project called MOFAD City, contributing to a filmed tour of Manhattan’s Chinatown (clip shown above). While in New York, I finally saw Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus, the new transit hub at the World Trade Center, so a photo of that is provided in the slide show as well (a world tour planned around visits to Calatrava buildings would be a joy, given their beauty – I’ve already seen his work in Lyon, Lisbon, Dublin, Liège, Buenos Aires, Tenerife, and of course, my former home of Milwaukee). Given the emphasis on food as a form of communication in New York, it was easy to maintain that focus to find excellent multicultural restaurants in Philadelphia, and I enjoyed Afghani, Cuban, Indian, Japanese-French fusion, and Thai meals during my stay.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue


Royal Roads University & Cultural Identity 2016

I spent July, August and September 2016 teaching a graduate seminar at Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada, as part of their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC) for the second time (the first time was described a year ago). The course was Contemporary Issues in Communication: Cultural Identity. The 39 students came from China, Nigeria, India, France, Senegal/France, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Jordan, Brazil, the US, and Canada.

Near the end of the course, there was a banquet for students in the program, and many photos were taken, including one with those faculty, staff and administrators who were present. We took another the last day of class. None of these includes everyone.

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Students worked on a major course project on the social construction of migration in the public sphere. Each one looked at a different part of the story – I hope to upload some of their results in later posts.

While at RRU, I arranged for an intern for CID, Min He. She started her work as Assistant to the Director on October 3, 2016.

I also was asked to supervise a doctoral dissertation in Interdisciplinary Studies, and have started working with Liton Furukawa on her project. An international student herself, she will examine the transition international students make after graduation (when Canada offers them a 3 year residency permit) to being international workers.

My thanks to Juana Du, program head of the MAIIC, for again inviting me to her beautiful campus to work with an incredible group of students!

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

April in Paris

For the month of April 2016, I was visiting professor at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France. The museum is one part of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, a unique institution that really has no comparable body in the US. The museum is essentially the equivalent of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC – the repository of objects that play important roles in science, engineering, or various arts and crafts. These range from Foucault’s pendulum to scientific instruments, to vehicles, to many early communication devices (from a visual telegraph to early motion picture cameras). 

Yves Winkin

My thanks to Yves Winkin, the museum’s director, for the invitation, and the introductions to many of his staff. Specific thanks to Roubina Modely and Emmanuel Lacrois for all their help with the logistics of acquiring an apartment. Those I spent the most time with included Isabelle Taillebourg and Nirina Ramandraivonona of the Documentation Center, Nathalie Giuliani of Exhibits, and Jamila Al Khatib of the pedagogical unit.

Anne Jorro of CNAM graciously invited me to join a full-day international seminar, Arts et faire: Des gestes professionnels de transmission, diffusion, mediation on April 15. Participants came from around France, as well as Belgium and Switzerland. And I was able to meet later with one of Anne’s former doctoral students, Padma Ramsamy-Prat, currently working on a research grant at CNAM.


While in Paris, I had the chance to reconnect with Katérina Stenou, my contact since 2009 with UNESCO, and a member of the Advisory Board of the CID.

In addition, Casey Man Kong Lum stopped in Paris between a sabbatical stay in Tours and visits to Lisbon and Barcelona. He is one of the editors of a new book entitled Urban foodways and communication: Ethnographic studies in intangible culture food heritages around the world, for which I wrote the final chapter. [Update in May 2016: the book is now in print – follow the link added here to a description and table of contents.]

Casey Lum, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz

I also had the opportunity to meet Johanna Maccioni, a Belgian psychologist and researcher who is one of the editors of a special issue of Les Politiques Sociales on intercultural competence. I was asked to write one of the articles last fall, which is currently under review, as a result of my role in preparing the UNESCO publication Intercultural competences: A conceptual and operational framework.

As long as I was back in France, 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, on April 8. Afterwards, I gave feedback to her students on questions related to their own research projects.

All in all, a busy month!
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director

8th Conference on Intercultural Communication (Wuhan, China)

Professor SHAN Bo graciously invited me to participate in the 8th Conference on Intercultural Communication, held at Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, November 20-22, 2015. Since I was unable to get to China this fall, I videotaped my paper, and sent that instead. The title is “The Influence of National Character Studies on Intercultural Communication: Moving Beyond Past Assumptions to Current Complexities.” For others who did not get to Wuhan, I’ve uploaded it to the Center for Intercultural Dialogue’s YouTube site.

My thanks to Xinya Liu, the Conference secretary, for all of her help with logistics, to Dave Adams at Royal Roads University for recording the video, and to Jingya Yang, one of my graduate students while I was at Royal Roads University, for uploading the video to a site accessible within China.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Intercultural Dialogue Described

Several years ago I was invited to describe intercultural dialogue for an entry in the International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction; the volume has now appeared. The citation is:

Leeds-Hurwitz, W. (2015). Intercultural dialogue. In K. Tracy, C. Ilie & T. Sandel (Eds.), International encyclopedia of language and social interaction (vol. 2, pp. 860-868). Boston: John Wiley & Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9781118611463/wbielsi061

“Intercultural dialogue (ICD) stands at the nexus of language and social interaction (LSI) and intercultural communication (ICC). Unlike other forms of interaction, ICD assumes participants come from different cultural (ethnic, linguistic, religious) contexts, implying that they will have divergent assumptions about, and rules for, interaction. ICD has been used as a technical term having several quite different meanings. First, ICD may refer to any interaction in which participants have different cultural backgrounds. Encompassing virtually all of ICC, this use may be discarded as too broad and thus not especially helpful. Second, ICD may refer to specific types of intercultural interactions, those in which dialogue serves as a specific goal. That narrower use will be taken as the focus here. Unlike other intercultural interactions, which may include nonverbal and unconscious elements, in this usage ICD typically requires both language and intent, being a deliberate verbal exchange of views. ICDs are designed to achieve understanding of cultural others as an immediate goal, taking the more advanced steps of achieving agreement and cooperation as potential later goals. Given existing cultural diversity, not only within political alliances (such as the European Union) but even within individual countries, today ICD typically is granted considerable value as a practical tool used to prevent or reduce conflict between cultural groups, instead fostering respect and tolerance.Thus it is treated as a potential technique for building or maintaining peace. . . The term ICD has been widely used since the 1980s but less often
directly studied than its significance warrants, thus, it is a concept that is not only available
but that calls out for further research. . . Like all dialogue, ICD is an active, co-constructed creation, requiring the cooperation of participants to engage in potentially new ways of interacting.”

Cultural Identity at Royal Roads University

Across August, September, and October of 2015, I taught a graduate seminar at Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada, as part of their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC). The course was Contemporary Issues in Communication: Cultural Identity. The 38 students enrolled were quite international, as they came from China, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Barbados, and Canada.

On the last day of class, several students asked for photos, so here’s one, although not everyone was present at the time. Imagine another dozen added to the group.

IICS 638 class photo 2015

Students prepared small papers on their own linguistic repertoires, examined the ways in which living rooms can display cultural identity, prepared group presentations on case studies about cultural identity. Their major assignments were either applied group projects, or individual papers. The group projects included:

• Hosting an intercultural competence workshop for students in the Pre-Masters Program at RRU
• Designing a brochure for Hainan Drive Travel Association to give to Chinese tourists to Victoria
• Preparing a videotape in collaboration with Indigenous Education & Student Services at RRU about the Lklungen (Songhees) Nation for their own use in public presentations
• Preparing a videotape documenting differences between Chinese dialects for use in teaching Chinese to English speakers
• Creating pre-departure orientation materials for the Office of Global Advancement to use in preparing students, staff and faculty for a trip to Ecuador.

While at RRU, I was asked to participate in a public conversation, Communication Matters: Immigration from an Intercultural Communication Perspective. Dr. Juana Du, program head of the on-campus version of the MAIIC, served as host. Other participants were Lisa Selvey and Jingya (Celine) Yang, two students from the course. Follow the link to get to the video, which is now available on YouTube.

One of the highlights of my time at RRU was being able to watch Tom LaFortune carve a totem pole for the campus, and then attending the unveiling ceremony.

I posted last year about the beautiful campus, but this time I lived on campus, with peacocks in the front yard and deer in the backyard, a Japanese garden, and 650 acres of trails available for exploration. A few new photos follow. My thanks to Professor Du for inviting me to her beautiful campus to work with a fascinating group of students!

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

p.s. In November, Crossroads, the RRU internal publication, just posted a notice about one of the student projects in the course.

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The ‘Problem’ of Intercultural Weddings

On October 21, 2014, I presented “Ambiguity as the Solution to the “Problem” of Intercultural Weddings,” at Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada, as one of two talks during a fall trip there to meet with students and faculty in their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC). (Further information about that visit has already been posted to this site.) A videotape of excerpts from that talk is now available on the Center for Intercultural Dialogue’s YouTube channel. My thanks to the faculty for the invitation to visit, and to the technology department for videotaping the event.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue