absolutely complimentary Thanks to Tammy Roberts from Nashville for some kind words about the show. Tammy organises international exchanges for high school students. Amongst other things Tammy wrote: ‘Your podcasts have helped me to understand different cultures around the world which has helped me to relate better with some of the students. One small example was the German student that thought I was very odd for flying a US flag at our home. … once I heard your podcast on Germans flying flags, it clicked why she was not comfortable with my display‘. We love stories like that. So if you have another example where you found the podcast useful then let us know by leaving a comment here.
Juliette Towhidi is widely known for her screenplay of the film ‘Calendar Girls’. This is a very British movie based on a true story. The Women’s Institute or WI as it’s known, in Britain, is an old-established organisation originally for farmer’s wives to get together and swap recipes and knitting patterns. At least that is the stereotype. The film tells the story of a group of friends at a Women’s Institute in Yorkshire, one of whom has a husband who dies of cancer. The friends decide to raise money for cancer research in a very unusual way by making a calendar posed by members of the WI in various states of tasteful undress. Tasteful means that although they are wearing fewer clothes than they should, you don’t see anything that you shouldn’t. Remember that these are mainly women of ‘a certain age’ as we say politely.In real life thousands of copies of the calendar were sold and the story became widely known.
This was a virtual event which happened in the virtual world, Second Life. The chat show was one of a series of events organised by Language Lab, a pioneering language school which operates 100% in Second Life. They have built a whole city with a theatre, art gallery, café, toy shop and church to name but a few of the locations where you can have your language lessons. As well as more traditional lessons, they also organise events such as art exhibitions and the chat show which features in this podcast. The great thing is that you are not watching a TV here, you are part of it. They have even hired actors who staff the café, shops and other buildings so that you can have the full inter-cultural experience. For example the audience at the Juliette Towhidi interview could slip the chat show host a note with a question for the movie writer.
absolutely secret What is the secret of a good education? Finland is a country which regularly tops the PISA international comparisons and at a recent conference I attended, the audience couldn’t help questioning the Finnish presenter Timo Väliharju of Mediamaisteri about the secret to Finland’s success.
absolutely sacred In this segment Juliette is talking about another film, London Kebabs, which she was involved in which explored religious and cultural differences.
Working in internationally mixed groups can offer a number of unexpected benefits, but also tremendous intercultural challenges. In this show we concentrate on how you can prepare yourself or other people to master these challenges.
absolutely un-teachable?: Thomas, an international project manager from Slovakia talks with Nicole who worked for the European project “Teaching-Culture”. In this project Alexandra Haas from VHS Rhein-Sieg together with 13 European partners developed a training course for intercultural awareness aimed at teachers of adult education in Europe. Nicole, one of the developers from Austria, tells us about her experiences in international teamwork situations. Even the culturally-determined differences of the daily agenda for meetings (e.g. meal times) turned into one of many challenges the international group had to master, because cultural differences influence teamwork and sometimes even the team spirit. We often think we are aware of these challenges, but in fact in international teamwork they often get in our way. However, the question remains whether culture can really be taught or can we only learn by experience?
absolutely essential: Keith Warburton from Global Business Culture helps clients from all over the world to develop levels of cultural awareness and understanding so that they can operate more effectively and profitably within the global market place. He can look back on a very long international career, working in several countries for over 18 years. He remembers the mistakes companies made when they started to work globally and explains how difficult it still is to convince a complete company to participate at intercultural training seminars. Today, everybody in a company, from the most senior top manager to the junior part-time admin staff is supposed to communicate effectively with clients and suppliers from other cultures. As Keith says, a company is only as strong as its weakest link so intercultural awareness training is essential at all levels of the company.
absolutely explorative: We wanted to know how experienced intercultural trainers attempt to teach culture. Do they use facts and figures and simply imform the participants about the different customs and habits of other cultures, such as how to present your business card in the Asian context? Or do they go outside the company with a whole group and make them explore the differences in case studies and simulations? We asked a group of intercultural trainers what the perfect intercultural training seminar would look like, how the learning group should be motivated and which exercises they would propose.
The next show will be coming to you on 30 May from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Richard Harris, Professor, Faculty of Management, Chukyo University, Japan has a novel way of describing the proximity expected in some cultures. ‘People from the Middle East …say they love to feel the breath of the other person’. He also explains how distance is measured by the singing of songs by some Pacific cultures.
Dr Gary Weaver explains a cultural simulation involving a Mr Kahn of unknown origin. Kahn comes from a high context culture as defined by Edward Hall and we hear an extract of a role play in which low context meets high context with amusing results. Behind the fun lie some important intercultural principles.
Darren Krape, New Media Advisor, describes how the new media are influencing diplomatic work. The first example is of virtual consuls and the second is of a Wikimedia type exercise within the state department called Diplopedia. Not surprisingly the open editing approach of building up intelligence in this way had some sceptism to overcome.
Don’t forget that May 10th is Pangea Day. People all over the world have been competing to make short films illustrating universal human values. The 24 best films will be shown over four hours at 18 GMT. Which do you like best? Did you hold an event or attend a Pangea event? Tell us about it by adding a comment here.
absolutely champion: Absolutely Intercultural has been nominated for a Danish podcasting award because every other AI show is produced in Denmark. If we are to have a chance of winning then we need more nominations before we get to the voting stage! So if you like what you hear then send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
Name of the podcaster(s): Anne Fox
URL of the podcast: http://www.absolutely-intercultural.com
Nominator’s name and email address (to take part in a prize draw of nominators
Reason for nomination: optional but you can explain why the podcaster deserves the nomination
Deadline for this first round is May 12th. If your Danish is good you can read more at: http://www.podcasterprisen.dk/
The next show will be coming to you on 16 May from Dr. Laurent Borgmann from RheinAhrCampus in Germany.