The Smithsonian Institution’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world. This year’s theme is Coming Home.
The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world, highlighting the crucial role languages play in our daily lives. In 2023, the festival returned in person, in Washington, DC, February 23 to 26, but many of the films are now available to stream in full on their website.
A few examples of the films available to stream:
Definition of Resilience is a four-episode radio and video documentary series highlighting the dynamic stories of Native American hip-hop MCs. Episode 2 considers the topic of identity.
Witch is a collaboration between Apashe, a Canadian dance and electronic musician, and Alina Pash, a Ukrainian rapper and musician. The music is described as “creepy orchestral with dance flavor,” and Pash’s rap vocals are reminiscent of spellcasting. Shot in Pash’s hometown of Kyiv, the music video weaves the story of a witch burner who reaps what he sows.
Wiki Education is asking that faculty consider assigning students to write articles for Wikipedia. Wikipedia has limited entries on intercultural dialogue-related topics. The two seem a natural fit.
In Wiki Education’s Wikipedia Student Program, college and university instructors assign students to write Wikipedia articles, empowering them to share knowledge with the world. Students research course-related topics that are missing, underrepresented, incomplete or inaccurate, synthesize the available literature, and use free tools and trainings to add information to Wikipedia. They are now accepting submissions for the Fall 2022 term.
I’ve not used Wikipedia assignments in courses because I retired before this became a thing. However, I learned the process in order to create a page for the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, and later was asked by a colleague to please create an entry for intercultural dialogue as a topic, as there was not yet anything available on the site. So I know it’s not difficult, and I also know that there is not as much content on related topics as there might be. Therefore, I suggest that anyone looking for a new and interesting type of applied assignment might want to consider the creation of Wikipedia pages as a possibility as a way to ensure that Wikipedia has the most up-to-date content relevant to intercultural dialogue topics.
For students, one benefit is that it is possible to check how many times anyone has viewed an entry. The ICD entry has been available for under two years, but has already had over 5000 views. Having that kind of impact should help motivate any student to do their best work.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world in Washington, DC, until May 31, 2021.
Through digital storytelling, the festival amplifies the work of diverse practitioners who explore the power of language to connect the past, present, and future. Since 2016, the annual festival has celebrated International Mother Language Day on February 21. The sixth annual festival will take place via a monthly online screening series from February 21 to May 31, 2021.
Many of these films would be valuable in teaching about cultural differences, if not intercultural dialogue explicitly. The theme this year is The Healing Power of Storytelling.
Culture Buff Games, created by Culture Games, an EdTech developer of interactive games on different cultures, offer games for intercultural trainers (some free, others cost).
The games leverage visual culture scenarios to help foreign students understand how country-specific culture values manifest in contemporary everyday life and are informed by historical events. Designed by interculturalist trainers, these learner driven interactive games emphasize problem solving and practical application of cultural knowledge. Our games can be trainer facilitated or used as self-directed learning tool. There are multiple sets of games for American Values, British Values, Chinese Values and Indian Values.
CID would like to make available on this site a collection of exercises on topics related to intercultural dialogue, and designed to help people learn to engage in intercultural dialogues.
As a reminder, intercultural dialogue has been defined on this site as “the art and science of understanding the Other” (courtesy of Peter Praxmarer, as explained here).
The goal is to first gather a number of such exercises and, second, make them available to all those who follow this site. This request may be interpreted broadly, both in terms of content (so that intercultural competence, conflict resolution, conflict management, negotiation, peacekeeping, etc. would all be appropriate foci), and in terms of type of exercise (not only discussion but also writing, video, interview, graphic design, etc. could all be relevant examples).
The Times asked artists of multicultural backgrounds to draw self-portraits, and published the results. It’s an interesting exercise, and a good possibility for a Intercultural Communication course assignment. Most students have several cultural identities in their background after all, even if they and their parents were born in the USA.
As has been pointed out on this site, children who grow up with parents having different cultural backgrounds, and who learn to interact in multiple cultural contexts, often learn to be particularly good at intercultural dialogue. (For further discussion, see KC12: Third Culture Kids, and KC94: Cross-Cultural Kids.)
The University of Minnesota Press is committed to challenging white supremacy, police violence, and unequal access to criminal justice, education, and resources in Minnesota, the United States, and throughout the world. To promote understanding and action for change, they are making a series of antiracist books available to all to read online for free through May 15, 2021.
These include: Living for Change by Grace Lee Boggs, and Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify, by Carolyn Lee Holbrook, among others, for a set of 30 ebooks.
There are a large number of documents currently being posted online with suggestions for what to read or teach related to anti-racism. Given that dialogue across racial boundaries is one form of intercultural dialogue, the topic is particularly relevant to CID. For a one-page introduction, see KC97: Anti-Racist Education.
Race is happening. Never mind that race is always happening but it is especially happening now, urgently happening. . .
– Lauren Michele Jackson
Here are a few of the reading lists currently circulating:
Abe, a film by Brazilian director Fernando Grostein Andrade, uses fusion foods as a way to approach intercultural dialogue.
Finding one’s identity is a challenge everyone faces, but few have the pressure that 12-year-old Abe feels as the son of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father. Though his parents have raised him in a secular household, both sets of grandparents insist he chooses between being Jewish or Muslim. Abe’s passion for food allows him some escape from the escalating family tensions. While exploring Brooklyn to discover new foods, he meets Chico, a Brazilian chef who believes “mixing flavors can bring people together.”
If you use other films in your work or teaching that relate to intercultural dialogue, please take a moment to send an email with a short note, as CID is currently preparing a list of such films to post as a resource.
Barenboim and Said established the orchestra to bring together young musicians from across the political divide in the Middle East. They hoped that music would help to bring understanding and tolerance of different beliefs and cultures. The name comes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s collection of poems, West-Eastern Divan. The film covers the years 1999-2004; the orchestra is still performing today, and makes a point of putting on concerts in the musicians’ home countries whenever possible. In 2007 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon named Barenboim UN messenger of peace, and in 2016 the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was named a UN Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding. The conversations among young musicians from a variety of countries would make this a good choice of film for someone teaching about intercultural dialogue.