International Center for the Rapprochement of Cultures established as a cooperation between UNESCO and Kazakhstan.
According to The Times of Central Asia, “an agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on the establishment of the International Center for the Rapprochement of Cultures under the auspices of UNESCO was signed on June 25 in Paris. The agreement was signed by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Gulshara Abdykalikova. . .
The proposed structure is planned to be created under the auspices of UNESCO on the basis of the Center for the Rapprochement of Cultures under the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan. . .The objectives of the Center will be the promotion of research, the preparation of publications, the organization of conferences and educational activities on the history and practice of intercultural interaction in Central Asia and beyond.”
The International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) is a UNESCO initiative.
Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation on CBC Radio (Canada). Host Rosanna Deerchild takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country.
Exploring the Complicated world of Cultural Identity looks at cultural identity and how Indigenous people see themselves in a world that wants to paint them all with one brush. Identity, of course, is a complicated and touchy issue in a lot of communities in Canada, as elsewhere.
A full list of podcasts is here.
It’s not part of Unreserved, but a brief video by CBC Radio is also interesting: What’s in a Name? From “Redskin” to Indigenous takes a look at what Indigenous Peoples have been called and what they call themselves.
An open online course for basic Finnish
Launched at the end of November 2015, the online course for Finnish uses texts, dialogues and assignments to teach basic vocabulary and grammar to beginners – from exchange students to asylum seekers.
The online course A Taste of Finnish is primarily intended for international university students coming to Finland, but as it is open to all and available free of charge, it can also help asylum seekers and people relocating to Finland for professional reasons get a taste of the language in their new home country.
Developed at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Helsinki, the course comprises ten lessons covering basic Finnish vocabulary, involving situations such as introductions, visiting a café and talking about leisure activities. The lessons also discuss Finnish pronunciation and grammar.
Orbe, Mark P. (2019). Microaggressions. NCA Concepts in Communication Video Series.
The National Communication Association has begun posting a series of videos explaining various communication concepts to YouTube. Four are posted as of this writing, and one of those overlaps with intercultural dialogue.
Everett, S. S., & Gidley, B. (2018). Getting away from the noise: Jewish-Muslim interactions and narratives in E1/Barbès. Francosphères, 7(2), 173-196.
Abstract: This article offers a comparative lens on intercultural and interreligious encounter in urban contexts in France and the UK, focusing on the commonalities and specificities of different national and municipal contexts. It offers an account of three forms of encounter, based on extensive fieldwork in two neighbourhoods of Paris and London: commercial interdependencies embedded in early phases of immigration; voluntaristic ‘interfaith-from-above’ policies shaped by state agendas developed since the beginning of the twenty-first century; and still emerging ‘interculturalism-from-below’ generated by second- and third-generation children of immigrants, which is marked by nostalgia and selective reading of local heritage. In doing so, it bypasses the sharp disciplinary and methodological divides that separate research on Jewish histories and cultures, Muslim communities, immigrant quarters, and postcolonial/minority ethnic contexts. It aims instead to show how intercultural and interfaith encounters often occur in mundane spaces, and operate through and despite forms of ambivalence, and in this respect offer a context in which to displace the terms of spectacular accounts of racial and civilizational conflict.
Robles, J. S., & Castor, T. (2019). Taking the moral high ground: Practices for being uncompromisingly principled. Journal of Pragmatics, 141, 116-129.
This article asks questions relevant to many contexts of intercultural dialogue: “What actually happens when people are in the midst of unyielding disagreement? How do people accomplish intractability in interaction, and what might this tell us about the social and practical achievement and function of seemingly-incompatible positions in conflict?”
Abstract: “We examine how participants in a moral conflict hold fast to their beliefs during a highly publicized moment in an ongoing social controversy. We apply discourse analysis to a video-recorded confrontation between a same-sex couple seeking a marriage license, and a county clerk refusing to provide the license for religious reasons, which took place after the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act in the U.S.A. (and had prohibited same-sex couples from marrying).We examine how pragmatics of account avoidance sequences and framing are deployed in interaction to accomplish “being morally principled.” This case illustrates how mediated public conversations around social changes provide participants opportunities to perform moralities and define the terms of debate in relation to cultural institutions. We reflect on how the consequence of this event is a form of debate in which participants speak past each other ritualistically, constructing worldviews as incompatible and problems as unresolvable.”
Mangano, M. F. (2018). Relationship as a space “in between”: A transcultural and transdisciplinary approach mediated by dialogue in academic teaching. Bergamo, Italy: University of Bergamo Press.
What is special and uncommon about Maria Flora Mangano’s research is her clear focus on dialogue as a space of relationship. Often intercultural dialogue has been viewed as occurring at the global, international level, typically involving politicians. Maria Flora is one of a very few scholars to become interested in how intercultural dialogues occur within face-to-face interactions, thus at a more personal level. Dialogue more easily develops among those who have already succeeded in establishing a relationship, rather than between strangers.
The metaphor of creating a social space in which dialogue can occur is not unique to Maria Flora, but it is uniquely appropriate to her concerns. The data which form the body of the project demonstrate praxis – in this case, her actual teaching experience, where she creates a space of relationship in the classroom, permitting dialogue to occur. This should encourage others to follow where she has led, since sufficient details are provided which others can immediately use.
In sum, Maria Flora Mangano not only studies dialogue, she demonstrates it in a way others can easily follow. And her theoretical argument clearly explains why they should do so. As the conclusion suggests: “dialogue needs relationship to be realized, and, at the same time, dialogue creates relationship” (p. xiv). May we all learn to create a space for dialogue in our relationships.
Maria Flora Mangano has frequently been mentioned on this site, contributing a number of publications (Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 81 on dialogue as a space of relationship, Constructing Intercultural Dialogues, 2 on reconciliation, and CICD 9 on intercultural dialogue as an activity of daily living), translations into Italian (KC1, KC14, KC37, KC81, CICD 2), and guest posts (A space of relationship for dialogue among cultures, and Example of dialogue among cultures).
NOTE: This post is a shortened version of my Foreword to this book, appearing on pp. v-vi.
Hippler, J., & Kamali-Chirani, F. (2018). Cultural civil war. In European Union National Institutes for Culture, Culture Report: EUNIC Yearbook 2017/2018 (pp. 36-41). Stuttgart, Germany: European Union National Institutes for Culture.
Brief overview provided by the authors:
For a long time, Europe and the United States have presented themselves through “Western values” such as liberalism, liberty, and democracy; nevertheless, currently they are in a state of what can be described as cultural civil war. On one hand stands US President, Donald Trump, who proudly applies the “America first” policy. On the other hand stands Brexit, which demonstrates the rise of populism and Euroscepticism in the UK. At the same time, governments in Poland and Hungary are cultivating extreme nationalist discourses, again with strong xenophobic elements and anti-Muslim hysteria. Remarkably, there has also been a weakening of the independence of the courts, restricting freedom of expression, and aiming for a kind of democracy controlled from above. In France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Italy there has been a rise of right-wing populist movements doing well at the polls. Such trends are not specific to the West alone. Putin, Erdoğan, and Duterte are part of the right-wing populism that has emerged on every continent. We have to accept that today we are going through a cultural civil war. Jochen Hippler and Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani argue in their article that this war is not being fought with weapons but in people’s minds at the grassroots of society, online, on radio and TV, and in print media. They also present solutions for how to win this war by dealing with the causes of the breakdown of the political culture in the West, and by going on the offensive culturally, in order to re-conquer the hill of cultural hegemony.
The 11 short films produced by the Translation and Translanguaging TLANG team provide a teaching and research resource in the areas of multilingualism, superdiversity, and sociolinguistics. They also document engagement approaches with different stakeholders. Those investigating linguistic and social diversity, migration, translation and translanguaging, may find them particularly useful. TLANG was a major research project active 2014-18; its aim was to understand how people communicate across diverse languages and cultures.
Voices of the Bullring Markets : This video provides an introduction to the superdiverse nature of the Bullring meat and fish markets in Birmingham.
The Library of Birmingham : This video provides an account of language and interaction at the Library of Birmingham.
Communication in the Multilingual City: This film of the final TLANG conference contains discussions about translanguaging and offers a range of interpretations.
Translanguaging and the Arts: A Creative Conversation: This film explores researchers, artist and creative practitioners working together to represent multilingualism and superdiversity in new and engaging ways.
Overcoming Barriers to University Education in South Africa: Highlights from workshops held in South Africa to engage university lecturers and managers in discussions about translanguaging as pedagogy in higher education in South Africa, and the role of South Africa’s official languages in university classrooms.
Researching Translanguaging Summer School: Scholars from all over the world attended this summer school which explored different conceptualisations of translanguaging and methodological approaches for researching linguistic diversity.
Women & Theatre: The TLANG team collaborated with a creative company, ‘Women and Theatre’, who produced an original piece of theatre in response to their engagement with the research project. The show was performed 22 times in four cities, to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences.
A Network Assembly I: This captures how a range of different stakeholders including policy makers, councillors, museum curators, local business people, artists, academics and students engage with concepts such as superdiversity, translanguaging and multilingualism.
Changing Lives: This film shows the work of a Chinese community Centre and provides an account of how the lives of people visiting the centre are changing.
Team Work in the City: This film shows the coaching practices of a volleyball coach communicating with volleyball players from different countries around the world.
Crossing Borders: Translanguaging as Social Practice.This short film captures our partnership with a range of stakeholders including artists, policy makers, academics and community activists around the themes of language, superdiversity, sport and law.
Here’s the most recent article I’m reading, in case it’s also of interest to others:
O’Sullivan, Feargus. (21 August 2018). Discovering that strangers aren’t all that strange. CityLab.
“Taking a class with a diverse group of Londoners helped me see the city and my neighbors in an altogether different light….We also got to imagine what it was like in each other’s shoes…Every day in a city, we brush past people with different backgrounds and outlooks from our own. To sit with each other and really focus hard on expressing and understanding each other’s experiences, however, that’s something completely different…I didn’t discover a specific space as such; the shift for me has been more about an attitude of openness.”