Università della Svizzera italiana 2014

WLH and PraxmarerFrom May 20-30, 2014, I had a wonderful invitation to stay in Cimo, Switzerland (a village just outside Lugano), with Peter Praxmarer, the executive director of the European Master in Intercultural Communication (EMICC), which is coordinated through the Università della Svizzera italiana (known in English as the University of Lugano). He also collaborates with, and teaches for, the Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication (MIC), as well as a number of other European universities.

My goal was to learn more about the EMICC, an intensive and international semester-long study of intercultural communication jointly offered by ten European universities since 2002. This program is a model of international collaboration for graduate education, and an innovative form of what in the USA is called “study abroad,” ensuring that students not only learn about intercultural communication at a theoretical level, but also practice it. We were able to discuss not only some of the logistics of this program, but also shared interests in intercultural communication more generally, as well as inventing future possibilities for collaboration.

While in Lugano, I was able to connect also with Prof. Bertil Cottier, Director of the Institute for Public Communication at USI. Trained as a lawyer, one of his current interests is in data protection and new technologies. As it turns out, the Institute will be conducting a search for a faculty member specializing in intercultural communication shortly – keep an eye on this website for the details.

I also met with Alexandra Stang, a graduate student at the University of Duisburg-Essen (in Germany) currently studying the Intercultural Campus platform, “an international university network created for intercultural learning.” She was in town to interview Peter Praxmarer, and took the opportunity to interview me as well.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Rosanne Teniente Micro Grant Award


Rosanne Teniente has been awarded a micro grant for international travel, funded by the Association for Business Communication through the Center for Intercultural Dialogue. The following is her description of herself and the project. You can also read the main article describing all award winners.

I am a Rhode Island native who has been transplanted around the world. As an undergraduate at Simmons College in Boston, MA, I studied economics and international relations, focusing on development economics and Middle Eastern politics.  After my undergraduate studies, I moved to Egypt for several years as a Gilman Scholar at the American University in Cairo studying Arabic and interned with the US Foreign Commercial Service, and then worked as an English instructor at an international school.  I am now a master’s candidate in the public administration program at Northeastern University, while working in the field of social services.  I currently reside in Southwest New Mexico with my husband who is serving in the US Air Force.  I embrace new adventures, foreign languages, and cross-cultural learning experiences.

With the support of the CID grant as well as Northeastern University, I will be traveling to Baar, Switzerland to attend a ten-day conference in August hosted by the Institute for Peace and Dialogue, a nongovernment organization that is dedicated to strengthening institutional dialogue between civil societies, international peace and state institutions. The conference is IPD’s International Summer Academy in Peace-building & Intercultural Dialogue, which will feature experts and practitioners in the field of conflict resolution and peace building. Through different workshops, lectures, interactive group work, and negotiation activities, the knowledge gleaned with help me to build upon my past empirical research on the effect of conflict on GDP per capita in developing countries.

September 2014: This project is now complete, and Teniente’s final report is now available.

Olena Zelikovska Micro Grant Award

Olena ZelikovskaOlena Zelikovska has been awarded a micro grant for international travel, funded by the Association for Business Communication through the Center for Intercultural Dialogue. The following is her description of herself and the project. You can also read the main article describing all award winners.

Dr. Olena Zelikovska is an Associate Professor in the Department of English for Economic Specialties at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NULESU). For the last 10 years she has been working as a focal point in developing curriculum of “Business English” and ‘Translation of Commercial Correspondence and Business Communication’ for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in Economics, Management of International Affairs and Linguistics as well as in supervising students’ research projects with the focus on intercultural communication issues.

In 2010, Zelikovska defended the thesis: ‘Developing intercultural competence in the students of higher economic educational institutions’ (adopted by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine). She has been chairing the Student’s Research Group “Business Environment and Intercultural Communication” since 2011.

Zelikovska has been constantly seeking for international cooperation to provide the students with valuable practical experience. She is interested in project-based programs designed to connect American and Ukrainian students in a distance learning opportunity that is grounded in intercultural dialogue and exchange.

Project background: The growing importance of English as an instrument of international communication on the global scale and its increased use in Ukraine has triggered research about improved methods to develop university students’ intercultural competence (ICC). This has promoted changes in both the teaching and learning process. However lack of students’ cross-cultural communication experience has resulted in low sensitivity of intercultural issues. The initial discussion has shown that the NULESU students majoring in Management of International Affairs or in Linguistics have very little idea about intercultural communication (IC). For instance, they are unaware of the privacy zone character of the American culture and can easily use the patterns of direct language imposing their ideas and feelings on the interlocutor as they commonly do in Ukrainian culture with higher power distance and no privacy space. Moreover English classroom communicative behavior of the majority of faculty staff unfortunately does not often correlate with such behavior of their American colleagues. That is why the traditional teaching practice does not achieve the expected results on developing ICC.

The key to the solution may be the application of the 3-component intercultural development model that provides knowledge (cognitive element of the model), foster awareness (affective element of the model) and develop skills (behavioral element of the model). The proposed project seeks to assess the interrelated issues: How to fill each component of the model with the intercultural communication content tailored to the particular needs of the individual student? How do these components correlate with each other? What issues should be submitted for Student’s Research Group? How to launch distant projects between American and Ukrainian students to enrich each other with learning by experience? The development of classroom communicative behavior of the department staff is the issue of special importance. The project will provide the unique opportunity for the grant holder to study all these processes as a system at the Californian State University by classroom observation, students and faculty staff surveying and discussions with further analysis of the data collected. The ultimate goal of the research is to empower Ukrainian students with intercultural awareness enabling them to develop empathy, tolerance and mutual understanding with their American peers.

Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue in Asia (Macau)


Roundtable portrait
Left to right, front row: Croucher, Sandel, Leeds-Hurwitz, L. Chen; middle row: V. Chen, Dawis, Lijadi, P. Lu, Huang, Jiang; back row: Buttny, Corbett, Witteborn, Young

The Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue in Asia was held at the University of Macau on March 28-30, 2014. The organizers were Todd Sandel (Communication, University of Macau), John Corbett (English, University of Macau) and Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz (Center for Intercultural Dialogue). By design, this was a small event, designed to answer the question of whether, and in what ways, intercultural dialogue might be a useful term for discussing intercultural interactions in Asia. Sessions focused on such topics as what concepts aid in the study of intercultural dialogue, how intercultural competence fits with intercultural dialogue, and what needs to happen next, and various publication outlets. At least one special journal issue will result.

Martin Montgomery (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities) officially welcomed participants on behalf of the University of Macau. Participants included Saskia Witteborn (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Richard Buttny (Syracuse University, currently doing research in Malaysia), Stephen Croucher (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Ling Chen (Hong Kong Baptist University), Jiang Fei (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Huang Kuo (International Publishing Group, Beijing),  Aimee Dawis (University of Indonesia), Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and University of Tasmania-Launceston, Australia), Peih-ying (Peggy) Lu (Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan), Melody Lu (Sociology, University of Macau), Priscilla Young (Peking University HSBC Business School, Shenzhen), and Anastasia Aldelina Lijadi (Psychology, University of Macau). Multiple masters and doctoral students in both Communication (Julie Zhong, Fiona Ng, Hazel Wan) and English (Carl, Dai Guangrong and Betty, Liu Suiling) managed some of the logistics, helping international visitors get around the city, picking up lunches, and serving as photographers and videographers. Administrative Staff, Barbara Chin (Communication) and Tina Chao (English) also spent many hours preparing documents and making travel, hotel, and other arrangements.

The highlight of the conference (at least for me) was gaining a sense of intercultural issues across Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and simultaneously across disciplinary, theoretical and methodological boundaries. Since this was a small group, there were lots of opportunities for participants to connect, and at least one journal special issue and several new research collaborations are being planned, as well as a future conference. Most immediately, researcher profiles for more of the roundtable participants already are being posted to this website, and half a dozen have committed to writing Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, to be posted over the next few weeks and months.

A short highlights video was prepared and is readily available. In addition, Aimee Dawis sent in a photo of coverage about the Roundtable in the International Daily News, a Chinese newspaper with the highest circulation in Indonesia:

International Daily News

Thanks to Aimee for arranging for this article, and to the University of Macau for being such a wonderful host institution for this event.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue



CID has 1000 subscribers!

Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to the Center for Intercultural Dialogue‘s website, we have just crossed the 1000 mark!

CID at 1000 subscribers

This number includes those who have signed up through WordPress for email notification each time a new post appears, as well as those who follow us through Facebook, Twitter, or Google +. WordPress cannot track those who have joined the CID LinkedIn group (which currently stands at 112), or who find CID through YouTube or Pinterest, so the actual number of subscribers is actually even higher. It took 3 1/2 years to get to this point, but presumably it will take a lot less time to get to 2000!

As the number of followers has increased, CID’s email has increased as well. We try to answer all emails within a few days, and to post relevant information within a week.

We very much appreciate your support.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

CID is on Wikipedia

In case there has been any doubt, the Center for Intercultural Dialogue definitely exists – and we know this because now there is a Wikipedia entry saying so!

CID Wikipedia entry

This was created as one response to the National Communication Association call for increased entries on communication-related topics by communication specialists. (Details may be found on the NCA Wikipedia Initiative page.) For those who have not yet created an article on Wikipedia, the official standards are quite stringent about what is sufficiently “notable” to merit an article. (Of course, that doesn’t mean all articles currently posted meet those standards.) And there is an elaborate formal system to learn in order to participate in the site. But in today’s world, there is a sense in which any serious endeavor should be represented there, so it seemed worthwhile creating an article.

Minh Cao gets credit for taking the time to first learn the guidelines, and post the first draft. For those who have not yet created articles, a warning: this took 3 drafts over 2 months, and help from 4 different editors at Wikipedia, before approval was granted for a substantially shorter article than originally envisioned. Apparently such delay and critique are common.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

CID and social media

social media logos

In addition to the Facebook organizational page developed several years ago, the Center for Intercultural Dialogue now has a social media presence that includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus. Nearly all of this activity is due to the efforts of Minh Cao, Assistant to the Director. 

Minh also learned the required format to post on Wikipedia – an entry on CID is currently under review and will be described in a post once it is public. [UPDATE: CID is now on Wikipedia as well!]

Several colleagues have asked why a broad social media presence is valuable (and whether it is worth the considerable time it takes). The short answer is that social media permit CID to meet interculturalists on whatever platform they choose to spend their time. A further question might be: are so many people really using social media today? The answer to that comes from the Pew Internet and American Life Project which just posted their Social Media Update for 2013. They conclude:

“Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms. Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites.”

Substantial thanks are due to Minh for making the CID accessible across multiple platforms in 2013. The goal for 2014 will be to determine what content best fits each of these contexts, and to expand the impact of the CID as a result.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

CID has Pinterest account

Pinterest-CIDThe Center for Intercultural Dialogue recently started a Pinterest account, thanks to the efforts of Minh Cao, Assistant to the Director.

For those who prefer to access information through visual rather than verbal content, this will be a place to go to see images related to intercultural dialogue that have originally been posted to this website, or on other similar sites (such as UNESCO, UNAOC or ACIDI). Current content includes photographs, images from our publications, and word clouds used on the site. It’s also a good way to see what websites we’ve been surfing.

CID has a LinkedIn group

CID LinkedIn groupThe Center for Intercultural Dialogue recently started a LinkedIn group, thanks to the efforts of Minh Cao, Assistant to the Director.

The purpose of this group is to permit conversations among those who share interests in intercultural dialogue. It is open to conversations among members not only on intercultural dialogue as a narrow focus, but also on a broad range of topics related to international or intercultural communication, dialogue, or international collaborative research more generally. This website is not a convenient place to hold conversations, so the LinkedIn group is designed to fill that gap.

Examples of appropriate topics:
*Asking for help in locating resources on a subject
*Asking for contacts in a particular country
*Questioning how others respond to particular intercultural problems
*Asking opinions about a topic of general interest
*Posting an academic job, so long as it has to do with intercultural or dialogue topics, or if it is outside the US (if it meets the latter requirements but is non-academic, it may still be fine; if you post it and we don’t think it fits, we’ll delete it) – but post jobs under the job tab or they will be moved there

CID agreement with Waterhouse Family Institute

As one result of my semester at Villanova University, the Center for Intercultural Dialogue has now signed a memorandum of understanding with the Waterhouse Family Institute. As described on their website, “The Waterhouse Family Institute (WFI) is founded on the principle that the study and practice of communication is inherently connected to issues of ethics and social justice, and that properly understood, communication is central to the creation of positive social change. WFI is housed within Villanova University’s Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

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Dr. Bryan Crable is the Director of the WFI. Basically what this understanding means is that we will cooperate on, and seek joint grant funding for, several projects. More information will be posted to both websites as our discussions lead to specific activities.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue