October-November 2014Clues to Intercultural Effectiveness
Tips, Techniques and Resources

Welcoming Madame Pele


I am so proud of what the government in Pahoa, district of Puna, county of Hawaii is doing, and not doing, to "divert" the lava flow that is destroying homes, businesses, and lives. The clarity, patience, and wisdom they show in their answers to community members' questions make me wish they worked in my county.


In the video, you will see Pi'ilani Ka'awaloa, an INCREDIBLE cultural resource person!!! She demonstrates wisdom in her people's truth, and openness to teaching as well as acting in collaboration with others. She tells us that the native Hawaiians have adjusted to western culture, in that they now "buy" their land. But she also tells us they will never "own" it; it belongs to the goddess Pele.


 Video and full story

Comparing Cross-Cultural Tools


We get calls and emails every day, asking us how Cultural Detective compares with some of the other intercultural tools on the market. Thank goodness people are passionate about developing intercultural knowledge and skills, and that there are so many intercultural tools available! That's a big change in the last two decades, and a huge step in the direction of building intercultural competence in our organizations, our communities, and ourselves!

Most of the well-known development tools in the field-Cultural Detective®, Country NavigatorTM, GlobeSmart®, CultureWizardTM, and Cultural Navigator®, among others, use a values-based approach to understanding cultural differences. Such a method has proven significantly more effective than a "do's and don'ts" approach, because behavior depends on context. Thus, do's-and-don'ts advice is frequently erroneous because it has little or no connection to a specific situation you may find yourself confronting.


Learn more  

Approaches to Learning About Cultures

 It is generally acknowledged that it is important to understand one's own cultural values before we can begin to understand another's worldview, let alone develop intercultural competence. Cultural Detective Self Discovery offers a way to investigate our own values through a series of guided questions designed to help us discover more about ourselves. 
Below is an excerpt from Cultural Detective Self Discovery by Dianne Hofner Saphiere, George Simons, and Kate Berardo in which we address the most common approaches to culture learning, their strengths and weaknesses.    

Read more

Learning, Cherishing and Preserving Native Heritage



I recently traveled in Southeast Alaska, where I was thrilled to see gorgeous country and amazing wildlife, and also learn a tiny bit about the native peoples who inhabited the area prior to the Europeans' arrival. 

Alaska is a beautiful, largely unspoiled area, much of it covered by mountains, glaciers and rivers. Southeast Alaska is a harsh land in the winter, but has amazing natural resources. In the summer you will find indigenous berries, incredible wild salmon runs, and an abundance of other seafood. The natives have a saying, "When the tide is out, the table is set."

 Full article

by Meg Quinn



One of Cultural Detective's valued and respected long time users, Meg Quinn, recently shared with us a new technique that she has developed for introducing her learners to building more powerful cross cultural bridges.

When she introduces the Cultural Detective Worksheet, Meg asks participants to think about three different approaches...


 Learn the tip

Effective Way to Use Cultural Detective


I'm going to tell you a real story, of an actual person, who was promoted to a management position from an administrative assistant position because of a three-hour workshop she conducted for her bosses.


How'd it happen? The woman, let's call her Yolanda, worked for a very large multinational in Texas. The firm, of course, did a lot of business with Mexico. Over the ten years or so Yolanda had been with the company, she'd worked for a succession of bosses, most of whom did not understand Mexican culture and had committed many errors, losing opportunity and revenue, as well as credibility, for themselves and the company.


  Read full story

Online Events You Can't Miss!



Sign up, but you don't have to dress up, to join us for a free webinar!


People from every continent and every time zone join us for these informative webinars, and are glad they did. Don't miss out; space is limited!


Our complimentary, 90-minute online workshops feature Dianne, creator of the series, introducing the Cultural Detective Method as a way to help participants learn to appreciate and leverage diversity as an asset, rather than seeking to minimize difference. 


Webinar participants will have the opportunity to see and experience some of the wealth of content and process available with the Cultural Detective Online tool, and understand how easily the system can be incorporated into existing courseware. 


At the conclusion of this online learning event, participants will receive a three-day trial pass to the Cultural Detective Online. This allows you to take some time after the webinar to look around and learn more about the tool at your leisure.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM (GMT-6)

Full schedule for 2015 will be updated shortly and can be found at www.culturaldetective.evenbrite.com

Intercultural Competencies and Life Truths

Film Review: 3 Fundamental Skills for Effectiveness 


For well over twenty years I travelled 25 days out of every month. I loved it. Always a new place, thriving off the energy of the people I had the pleasure of working with, each week or two entering a new industry and learning how things work. 


The fundamentals of human interaction that I dealt with did not vary significantly by industry; the content, however, did.. 


Read the review

What's the World's Newest Language?


How many languages are there in the world? Do you know just how many have died off? Or will go extinct soon? How about this: do you know how to rescue those that are endangered? And what about new languages emerging in our world today? Are there any? If so, what are they? Do you know the world's newest language? We put together this short quiz to get you thinking and test your knowledge.


When a language disappears, it often takes with it a great deal of the history of a community. It limits what scientists can learn about human cognition: fewer languages mean fewer data sets. Loss of a language too often means a loss of social and cultural identity, at least partially.


  Full story and quiz

Culture and Holiday Rituals

by Carrie Cameron


I look forward to Halloween and all the fall and winter holidays every year. Like most people over the age of, say, 30, I have fond memories of the way holidays were celebrated when I was a child, and contrast these memories with the way the holidays are celebrated today. But I never realized how intensely emotional and culturally bound these personal representations of holiday traditions are until I participated in an intercultural panel discussion of holidays, years ago, at a SIETAR meeting (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research). 


The discussion began with an Anglo-American woman telling the story of how the practically sacred-for her-ritual of decorating the Christmas tree was misunderstood by her Japanese immigrant husband. 


 Read article

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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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Newsletter Editor: 
Vanessa G. Hernández