An Interview with breidi Truscott Roberts

My name is breidi Truscott Roberts (yes, lower case “b”) and I’m from Northern California in the U.S.  In fact, I’m actually 5th generation Californian on one side of my family.  That said, I have lived many other places too.   

 

 

Describe an important intercultural experience in your life.

 

An important intercultural experience in my life was living in Chiapas, Mexico while pursuing my MA in Intercultural Relations from the School for International Training.  I was down there doing my practicum and interviewing Zapatista women for my capstone project.  It was an amazing experience and a challenging one from a linguistic and intercultural perspective.  While I speak Spanish, many of the indigenous women did not (rather they spoke languages like Tzeltal and Tzotzil).  Plus, I was adjusting - not only to living in another country – but a completely different, rural, agrarian community.  I was trying to bridge gaps in culture, gender, class, education level, age, language – it was fun and challenging!  

 

 

Which institutes have you attended? 

 

I have attended SIIC almost every year since 2008 and WIIC since 2014.  Next stop: QIIC!

 

 

Which programs have you participated in?

 

Fellows and Rinterns. I was a Fellow in 2008. I heard from so many professionals in the intercultural field that I had to try out SIIC sometime.  In 2008 I finally got the time off work to be able to attend.  A colleague who had been a Fellow the year before recommended the program to me.  I was excited to be part of that special community and I enjoy helping while learning – I guess I like “servant leadership.”  The financial arrangement also made it easier for me to attend.  I have been coming back as a Rintern every year since that time save for one summer (and I missed it only because I was living in New Zealand!) 

   

           

Which have been your favorite workshops or instructors?

 

Oh there are just too many favorites to say them all!  So I’ll just mention three: I absolutely adore Lee Gardenswartz, Anita Rowe, and Jorge Cherbosque.  I took their Emotional Intelligence and Diversity workshop one of my first years at SIIC and totally fell in love with the material and the facilitators. They have also become good friends of mine over the years! 

 

 

How has attending ICI's programs benefitted your professional life?

 

Taking new workshops each July at SIIC and March at WIIC I get to constantly update the material that I use as an intercultural trainer.  It’s one of my ways of staying on top of what’s “latest and greatest” in the intercultural field.  As a result of this exposure to new methods I have also been able to get certified in a number of different tools and methodologies.  Plus, I have built many relationships with other professionals over the years.   I love that I can call upon these colleagues to bounce ideas off of, to help me become clear on something, and to grow as a professional.  These relationships have also led to new clients and collaborations on conference presentations.

 

 

How has attending ICI's programs benefitted your personal life?

 

It’s funny that I signed up for the SIIC Fellows program to benefit my professional life and yet had no idea before attending that it would completely enhance my personal life as well.  I have made a handful of truly life-long friends at SIIC who are part of my closest circle now.  Plus, going back year after year I feel like I have a second home in July each summer - it feels like “my” community!  

 

 

Describe the SIIC experience to those that have not attended?

 

I have often heard SIIC described as “summer camp for grown-ups.”  It’s more than that, though.  It is a rich learning environment where participants, fellows, faculty all mingle together in workshops, at lunch, at evening socials to discuss important topics, share ideas, and also just have fun together.  It definitely feels more cozy than a conference, though, and sleeping on a school campus lends itself to the camp-like feel.  It’s kind of like Brigadoon – that mythical city that surfaces every once in a while – only this magical community happens every summer.  

 

 

How are you currently using your intercultural knowledge?

 

I use my intercultural knowledge, awareness, and skills daily at my work at International House Berkeley.  We have 600 residents living here from 60 countries and just walking down the hallway can be an intercultural experience!   The bulk of what I do, though, is to lead workshops for staff who work at UC Berkeley on how to work more effectively across cultures, so I’m constantly putting my intercultural learning to use. 

 

 

 

ICI would like to thank breidi for being our first blog participant. If you would like to share your experiences and be featured on the ICI blog, please send us an email at ici@intercultural.org 

 

 

"I signed up for the SIIC Fellows program to benefit my professional life and yet had no idea before attending that it would completely enhance my personal life as well.  I have made a handful of truly life-long friends at SIIC who are part of my closest circle now."

Seeds of Change

 

A blog about all things intercultural

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Monday, March 7, 2016

Those of us who start exploring life in other countries often end up falling in love with cultural differences and forever become infected with the travel bug. My name is Antimo Cimino, a MAIR graduate from 2006, six-time SIIC participant, and former employee of ICI. I started traveling in 1989 at the age of 16 from Italy to France and have never stopped since. I am sure many of you can relate. 

 

A class in intercultural communication at Portland State University opened the door to the world of Intercultural for me, and from then on life has brought me closer and closer to my dream. After spending eight plus years working for a global leadership development company doing work with top Fortune 500 companies and their C-suite leaders, I felt the need to build my own company and take full advantage of my skills and express my passion for what I do each and every day. 

 

I am proud of having been able to transform the experience of travel for many of my clients and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. Watching the moment the traveler expresses their gratitude to the locals for the warm welcome, whether they are in Italy, Hungary, Croatia, or Brazil, has been deeply rewarding. The joy, gratitude, happiness, and tears that I often witness expressed in that moment, are a confirmation that what I am doing is worthwhile. 

 

Travel for me is not just an esoteric experience meant to distract a person from their routine and break away to go relax on a sunny beach or enjoy the food at the buffet of a cruise ship. Travel for me is about human interaction, a gentle walk through the past as centuries old history balance with experiencing the authentic cultural reality of the locals. 

 

When I bring travelers who can afford to cross an ocean and spend two to three weeks in a different country, I am also creating intercultural experiences for those not so fortunate locals who will never afford to travel out of their villages or countries. I call it the reversed vicarious travel experience through travelers who bring cultural differences to the homes of locals around the world. 

 

So you now see how an intercultural education has helped me fuel my passion and crown my dream.

 

The videos below will give you a brief glimpse into my passion and I hope you can follow me to spread it across the globe. 

 

My Travel Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHasY2um4k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hkouzXCJ4c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rybQ_hqOR4M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c9yTzw3u_M

 

My Social Media Sites:

 

https://www.facebook.com/Voomago/

 

Instagram: Antimoc72

 

"Travel for me is about human interaction, a gentle walk through the past as centuries old history balance with experiencing the authentic cultural reality of the locals."

 

- Guest blogger Antimo Cimino

Seeds of Change

 

A blog about all things intercultural

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Travel for me is about human interaction, a gentle walk through the past as centuries old history balance with experiencing the authentic cultural reality of the locals."

 

- Guest blogger Antimo Cimino

Those of us who start exploring life in other countries often end up falling in love with cultural differences and forever become infected with the travel bug. My name is Antimo Cimino, a MAIR graduate from 2006, six-time SIIC participant, and former employee of ICI. I started traveling in 1989 at the age of 16 from Italy to France and have never stopped since. I am sure many of you can relate. 

 

A class in intercultural communication at Portland State University opened the door to the world of Intercultural for me, and from then on life has brought me closer and closer to my dream. After spending eight plus years working for a global leadership development company doing work with top Fortune 500 companies and their C-suite leaders, I felt the need to build my own company and take full advantage of my skills and express my passion for what I do each and every day. 

 

I am proud of having been able to transform the experience of travel for many of my clients and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. Watching the moment the traveler expresses their gratitude to the locals for the warm welcome, whether they are in Italy, Hungary, Croatia, or Brazil, has been deeply rewarding. The joy, gratitude, happiness, and tears that I often witness expressed in that moment, are a confirmation that what I am doing is worthwhile. 

 

Travel for me is not just an esoteric experience meant to distract a person from their routine and break away to go relax on a sunny beach or enjoy the food at the buffet of a cruise ship. Travel for me is about human interaction, a gentle walk through the past as centuries old history balance with experiencing the authentic cultural reality of the locals. 

 

When I bring travelers who can afford to cross an ocean and spend two to three weeks in a different country, I am also creating intercultural experiences for those not so fortunate locals who will never afford to travel out of their villages or countries. I call it the reversed vicarious travel experience through travelers who bring cultural differences to the homes of locals around the world. 

 

So you now see how an intercultural education has helped me fuel my passion and crown my dream.

 

The videos below will give you a brief glimpse into my passion and I hope you can follow me to spread it across the globe. 

 

My Travel Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHasY2um4k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hkouzXCJ4c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rybQ_hqOR4M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c9yTzw3u_M

 

My Social Media Sites:

 

https://www.facebook.com/Voomago/

Instagram: Antimoc72

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"I signed up for the SIIC Fellows program to benefit my professional life and yet had no idea before attending that it would completely enhance my personal life as well.  I have made a handful of truly life-long friends at SIIC who are part of my closest circle now."

My name is breidi Truscott Roberts (yes, lower case “b”) and I’m from Northern California in the U.S.  In fact, I’m actually 5th generation Californian on one side of my family.  That said, I have lived many other places too.   

 

 

Describe an important intercultural experience in your life.

 

An important intercultural experience in my life was living in Chiapas, Mexico while pursuing my MA in Intercultural Relations from the School for International Training.  I was down there doing my practicum and interviewing Zapatista women for my capstone project.  It was an amazing experience and a challenging one from a linguistic and intercultural perspective.  While I speak Spanish, many of the indigenous women did not (rather they spoke languages like Tzeltal and Tzotzil).  Plus, I was adjusting - not only to living in another country – but a completely different, rural, agrarian community.  I was trying to bridge gaps in culture, gender, class, education level, age, language – it was fun and challenging!  

 

 

Which institutes have you attended? 

 

I have attended SIIC almost every year since 2008 and WIIC since 2014.  Next stop: QIIC!

 

 

Which programs have you participated in?

 

Fellows and Rinterns. I was a Fellow in 2008. I heard from so many professionals in the intercultural field that I had to try out SIIC sometime.  In 2008 I finally got the time off work to be able to attend.  A colleague who had been a Fellow the year before recommended the program to me.  I was excited to be part of that special community and I enjoy helping while learning – I guess I like “servant leadership.”  The financial arrangement also made it easier for me to attend.  I have been coming back as a Rintern every year since that time save for one summer (and I missed it only because I was living in New Zealand!) 

   

           

Which have been your favorite workshops or instructors?

 

Oh there are just too many favorites to say them all!  So I’ll just mention three: I absolutely adore Lee Gardenswartz, Anita Rowe, and Jorge Cherbosque.  I took their Emotional Intelligence and Diversity workshop one of my first years at SIIC and totally fell in love with the material and the facilitators. They have also become good friends of mine over the years! 

 

 

How has attending ICI's programs benefitted your professional life?

 

Taking new workshops each July at SIIC and March at WIIC I get to constantly update the material that I use as an intercultural trainer.  It’s one of my ways of staying on top of what’s “latest and greatest” in the intercultural field.  As a result of this exposure to new methods I have also been able to get certified in a number of different tools and methodologies.  Plus, I have built many relationships with other professionals over the years.   I love that I can call upon these colleagues to bounce ideas off of, to help me become clear on something, and to grow as a professional.  These relationships have also led to new clients and collaborations on conference presentations.

 

 

How has attending ICI's programs benefitted your personal life?

 

It’s funny that I signed up for the SIIC Fellows program to benefit my professional life and yet had no idea before attending that it would completely enhance my personal life as well.  I have made a handful of truly life-long friends at SIIC who are part of my closest circle now.  Plus, going back year after year I feel like I have a second home in July each summer - it feels like “my” community!  

 

 

Describe the SIIC experience to those that have not attended?

 

I have often heard SIIC described as “summer camp for grown-ups.”  It’s more than that, though.  It is a rich learning environment where participants, fellows, faculty all mingle together in workshops, at lunch, at evening socials to discuss important topics, share ideas, and also just have fun together.  It definitely feels more cozy than a conference, though, and sleeping on a school campus lends itself to the camp-like feel.  It’s kind of like Brigadoon – that mythical city that surfaces every once in a while – only this magical community happens every summer.  

 

 

How are you currently using your intercultural knowledge?

 

I use my intercultural knowledge, awareness, and skills daily at my work at International House Berkeley.  We have 600 residents living here from 60 countries and just walking down the hallway can be an intercultural experience!   The bulk of what I do, though, is to lead workshops for staff who work at UC Berkeley on how to work more effectively across cultures, so I’m constantly putting my intercultural learning to use. 

 

 

 

ICI would like to thank breidi for being our first blog participant. If you would like to share your experiences and be featured on the ICI blog, please send us an email at ici@intercultural.org 

 

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Latin America and Its Place in the World

 

By: Dianne Hofner Saphiere and Fernando Parrado Herrera

 

 

Latin America is assuming its rightful place in the global arena, not only as a leading economy, but also as a model for innovative social movements.

 

This largest region in the world has long been admired for sharing its powerful music, dance, literature, visual art—and its only world heritage cuisine. Latin America has taken a key leadership role in exploring innovative solutions for restructuring societal inequity and promoting responsible development and the sustainable use of natural resources. Many of these efforts are based on popular, direct-democratic movements, including indigenous social movements.

 

However, the outstanding features of Latin America culture continue to be a sense of timelessness, an emphasis on the worth of personality, and an instinctive protest against the idea that success in business and the accumulation of wealth are superior to the acquisition of culture. Eleven Latin American nations include multiculturalism and multilingualism in their constitutions, and an additional four recognize indigenous rights.

 

The average Latin American thinks differently about such fundamental concepts as time, work, success, joy, truth, and beauty. In other words, it is life itself, not its possessions or achievements, that tend to be most worthwhile to Latin Americans. Being what you want to be is generally more important than getting what you want.

 

The Latin America worldview may hold the answers to many of the issues facing our world today, including climate change. Yet Latin America has often been culturally misunderstood. Important Latin American values such as communalism, expressiveness, celebration, and indigenous respect for the earth are frequently under-appreciated.

 

While often viewed as a single market with a shared language, religion, history, and culture, it is actually home to hundreds of languages and ethnicities, and diverse histories, geographies, economies, and political systems.

 

Latinos abroad bring perspectives and insights that can be used to generate innovative solutions and create vibrant, cohesive communities. As group orientation breaks down in various cultures worldwide, we must ask: Are we making the most of Latino talent? What do we need to do to be interculturally competent with members of the Latino diaspora?

 

We very much look forward to having you join us for this highly experiential workshop where we will explore the richness, complexity, irony, and promise of the hundreds of cultures that comprise Latin America. Taught by both of us, the workshop is called “Latin America and Its Place in World Life,” and it will take place July 13-15, 2016, during the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication.

 

During the workshop we will look backward: what Latin America looked like during the height of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec civilizations, what the conquista and the slave trade meant for the region, the gifts of resources and talent the region has provided, and how such history and heritage affects life in the region today. We will look at the present: how do people from different ethnicities, socio-economic levels and geographic areas communicate and collaborate, and how can we work and live with them more effectively? Finally, we will also look forward: what are some of the unique experiences and insights that Latin America has to share with the world, and what we can learn from Latin America to enrich our view of life?

 

Those of you who enroll in the workshop will receive a one-month subscription to the Cultural Detective Online, so you can use this resource during the workshop and have time afterwards to continue your learning at your convenience.

 

SIIC is one of the world’s premier venues for networking with and learning from professionals in the fields of intercultural communication and diversity. We trust you’ll join us for this annual learning opportunity!

Wednesday, April 12, 2016

Reflections on QIIC 2015 

 

 

Hi, I’m Steve Bushill and I teach Intercultural Studies at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai and I love stories from around the world. One of my favorites is a story from India that tells of six blind men who come across an elephant. Each holds a different part of the elephant and tries to tell the others what the elephant is like from their perspective.

 

My memories of QIIC are similar. People arrive in a spirit of honest curiosity and humility to share and discover more about the nature of Intercultural Communication. Some have read, written and taught a lot about it. Others have experienced it in multicultural families or businesses. Still others know very little about it and are only just becoming curious. All end up leaving with more information, ideas, different questions and contacts, which promise future discoveries and discussions.

 

Does that sound like a great way to spend your time?

 

Be careful though… you might just find yourself wanting more and booking flights to Oregon for the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication in July… I did!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Food, The Great Connector

 

by Kelsey Maher 

 

Food misunderstandings are a plenty even within the same country. While recently touring a farm in Northern California, I was served a boiled artichoke. As a Southerner, who is more accustomed to eating fried okra, I stared at the purple pinecone for a while and then asked how I should eat it. Perhaps a more inclusive example would be for you to think back to the first time you cooked with a close friend. At that time, you were exposed to the cultural kitchen habits of that particular individual.

 

Although there are many differences in how food is prepared and consumed, the questions that arise from those differences such as ‘Why do you add this ingredient instead of this one?’ are the beginnings of cultural understanding through displaying interest and building a higher tolerance for ambiguity. During these discussions, one is also experiencing culinary diplomacy.

 

Culinary diplomacy is an exchange between government-to-government or citizen-to-citizen where food is the catalyst for interaction. State dinners would be an example of government-to-government culinary diplomacy. The United States’ Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, where members of the American Chef Corps represent the United States at events in the U.S. and abroad, would be an example of citizens interacting with other citizens over food.

 

For the past six months, my co-host, Sam Chapple-Sokol, and I have worked to elaborate the definition of culinary diplomacy through our bi-monthly podcast entitled The Culinary Citizenwhere practitioners in the field talk about their projects using food as a tool for intercultural communication and conflict resolution. We have interviewed academics whose cookbooks are helping expand the knowledge of a region and nonprofit leaders assisting refugees maintain and reinvent their identities through food.

 

Much to the dismay of unsuspecting interviewees, the final question to each episode is asking what is his or her universal truth about food. Most often, respondents will answer with “food is one of humanity’s basic needs; therefore, it is the great connector.” Although surprisingly, someone once answered “chocolate.”

 

Whether your gastronomic truth is more esoteric or unique, next time you engage with a culinary setting unlike the one with which you are familiar, begin asking questions in order to develop your proficiency in that distinct culture’s kitchen.

 

 

Learn more about The Culinary Citizen.

 

Follow me on:

Twitter @KelseyJMaher

Instagram @Kjmaher08

 

The Intercultural Communication Institute 

Intercultural Communication Institute

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Portland, OR 97225 

Phone: 503-297-4622

ici@intercultural.org

TEACH WISELY - TRAIN EFFECTIVELY - MANAGE THOUGHTFULLY