May-June 2012
Clues to Intercultural Effectiveness
Tips, Techniques and Resources 
Haunted by the Ghosts of our Ancestors

The Importance of Reorienting the Nomadic Mind


You could say my Mama was a modern-day pioneer. She packed up one suitcase for the three of us, for herself and her two young daughters, and traveled West for the opportunity to reinvent herself, escaping totalitarianism through the seemingly impenetrable Iron Curtain. That was a quarter of a century ago. Still, after so many years, a mother myself, I have yet to truly commune with the place where I live, feeling no tangible connection to the land here.


Why so disconnected? This land seems foreign and not yet part of my "cellular memory" shaped by centuries of Central European living. It is not where my ancestors are buried. In my life, I've moved too many times to count, skirting the land, speeding along its slippery surface as if it were ice. Like the original pioneers, and a great many modern-day transplants and migrants, I have internalized the frontier as a state of mind, to paraphrase Native American activist Winona LaDuke. She faults our society's culture of transience, our belief that a greener pasture lies somewhere else, calling it a psychosis, for disconnecting us from our responsibility to place.

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First Official Export of Cross-Border Services




We are very proud to announce that on May 14, 2012, during the international event "Intercultural Competencies for Negotiating under the Free Trade Agreements," which was held in the Alumni Club of Andes University, we formalized the first export of cross-border services under the new Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the USA. 


The export was for international legal and business consulting services and training in intercultural negotiation to develop free trade commerce under article 11 of the FTA.

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Improve Organizational Productivity with this Proven Tool



Certified facilitators Paris 2012

These incredible and very affordable workshops will enable you to make full use of the Cultural Detective materials and methods to: 

  • Enhance intercultural effectiveness and productivity in your organization or community.
  • Excellent introduction to intercultural communication competence.
  • A wonderful way for the advanced practitioner to reflect on the things that matter, and develop the ability to combine the various theories, approaches and tools in the field.

 Register Now or See Details!

Global Skills to Keep Employees



Successful organizations use talent development for employee attraction and retention as well as superior employee performances. 


Recently, one of our site license clients told us their focus is on keeping people by teaching the skills that support inclusive and collaborative teams, and that this is one of the key ways they leverage Cultural Detective


"Cultural Detective is a phenomenal tool for teaching both of these skills and applying them on a global, as well as domestic level," the client said. As Janet Bennett points out in her article, Culture General or Cultural Specific? That is the Question , "Rare is the professional arena where we face colleagues from only one or two cultures. Instead, each of us operates with a wealth of cultural diversity that is rich, complex, and challenging. This reality suggests that learning a single specific culture serves us well, and learning about cultural difference in general serves us even better."  


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Touring the Origins of Islam



On my second day in Damascus, I moved in with Noura and her family, only to find out that ... they themselves have just miraculously escaped from their home town, Homs: the city that is being bombarded and torn apart by civil unrest!


Her brother has gone to school only 30 days this year. They were trapped in their house for two weeks without electricity. Each time they go to the grocery they are uncertain of ever being able to come back. Leaving their only source of income, an internet café behind, the single mom and her two children have been struggling to avoid falling apart. 


 Read the Travelogue

Meet "Culturoctupus Detecticus"

Official Cultural Detective Animal


We already have a Cultural Detective theme song (La Boca de Cultura) thanks to our multicultural, multi-talented friends Kotolán. I now suggest that, as do many nations of our world, we name an official Cultural Detective animal. And my nomination is the "Thaumoctopus Mimicus."


While many animals change shape or color, the Mimic Octopus studies others and then mimics their movements and their looks - instantly! And this octopus' repertoire includes at least 15 different species!  


Come on, polyglots, global nomads, TCKs, and other blended culture people, can you top that? It changes its behavior to suit its environment, and its behavior is contextually effective. Sound like anyone you know? Wonder who teaches, trains or coaches these octopi?


The thaumoctopus mimicus, or Culturoctopus Detecticus, would definitely seem to be one ethnorelatively developed, or, ahem, shall I say, "marizo-relatively" developed animal. You can view a short video of my nomination in action, posted in our blog.


  See the Video Here

50 Different Intercultural Workshops this Summer




ICI logoBlock your calendars for two brand-new five-day workshops by Cultural Detective creator Dianne Hofner Saphiere, to be conducted at the 36th annual Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) on the Reed College campus in Portland, OR. 


July 16-20 (SIIC Session II) Dianne will co-facilitate a workshop with Barbara Schaetti entitled, "Developing Intercultural Competence: An Integrated Practice." 


Then, July 23-27 (SIIC Session III), Dianne will co-facilitate with Jonamay Lambert a workshop entitled "Designing and Implementing Global Diversity Training."Cultural Detective authors Donna Stringer, Basma Ibrahim DeVries, and Tatyana Fertelmeyster will also be facilitating workshops at SIIC in July.


Don't forget that between Sessions II and III there will be a Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification workshop, right on campus to make it easy! 


The Summer Institute offers about 50 different workshops, plus programs for Fellows and New Interculturalists. Be sure not to miss it!



Link to the Summer Institute

Dining Differences Can Have Lifelong Effects!

Cultural Differences Again Get a Child in Trouble 


Recently another sad story about dining etiquette across cultures has been in the news. This time it involves cultural differences over how to use a spoon and fork, and involves a Filipino family living in Canada


Fortunately this child, Luc Cagadoc, was not removed from his family, but his mother, Maria-Theresa Gallardo, explains that the school's reprimands for Luc eating in a typically Filipino way have negatively affected his self-esteem as well as his performance in school.


Learn about the Court Case

Have You Had Your POP E B Today?



Kevin and Rita Booker, very active Cultural Detective community members and extremely talented professionals, have put together a series of three articles on using film in intercultural education that I think you will find very helpful. 


If you use movie clips or YouTube videos in your coaching, training or teaching, or if you want to do that more, be sure to take a look. Lots of learning there.


By the way, if you love film, be sure to check out CDTV, our Cultural Detective channel on YouTube, with over 20 playlists. We welcome your recommendations (urls) on videos to add. Together we can build a convenient central repository of films to use to help our world become a more inclusive and collaborative place!


Creativity Can Inoculate Against Making Assumptions




If I were to ask you what it takes to be effective across cultures, what comes to mind? Some of the classics: self-awareness, open-mindedness, curiosity, flexibility, maybe communication skills; all are important. But where is creativity in this picture? 


You could argue that creativity is an output of some of the above. But I think it's worth highlighting the importance of creativity as a stand-alone competency for working across cultures, especially when it comes not just to being aware of cultural differences, but being able to develop effective bridging solutions to differences you may experience.



Read More about It

Book Review: "Business Networking and Sex"




Women & Men Cover

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast!" This is a quote that grabbed me during a recent keynote address by BNI (Business Network International) founder and Chairman Dr. Ivan Misner. He was introducing his new book, Business Networking and Sex (Not What YouThink!)


Those (in the audience of more than 1000 Kansas Citians) with more exposure to culture-related topics probably guessed that the book focuses on networking techniques of the different genders and how to be successful networking with the opposite sex. But to hear so boldly from this networking icon how powerful culture truly is in relationship building and the networking process resonated strongly with this Cultural Detective


Rapid and Proven Success!




CD-PL-DMIS graphic

The ability to collaborate productively and enjoyably across cultures is more important than ever, whether we focus on communicating with elderly parents or teenaged children, or on building trust and producing results with colleagues at the next desk and across the planet. But what do theory and practice tell us about how to gain maximum effectiveness?


Starting in September we will conduct a four-month course that will transform your personal and professional practice. It will enable you to use the MashUp in a developmentally appropriate manner to support and stretch learners at all stages of intercultural development.


Coursework will be conducted virtually, allowing you to complete the assignments from your office, home, or during travels. There will be individual and pair assignments, in addition to online classes. Do not miss this opportunity to work with some of those who are doing leading intercultural competence work worldwide.


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Cultural Detective has a YouTube channel, CDTV, with 20 playlists for different purposes. Please be sure to check it out and help us build this resource. Thank you!





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We record the latest news updates, and have archived past issues of this newsletter, on one of our web pages. Past issues include instructions for interesting activities, theoretical discussions about intercultural issues, and links to many intercultural resources. Please take a look and enjoy the resources you find!

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Vanessa G. Hernandez