The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

CILT research into Intercultural Skills

CILT research into Intercultural Skills



CILT is now entering the second phase of its research into an occupational and functional map for languages and intercultural skills and is currently consulting on the cross-sector applications of languages and intercultural skills in the workplace.

You can contribute to their research

If you are a employer involved in the management or recruitment of any roles using language or intercultural skills or if you are an employee using your language or intercultural skills in your job, they would like to hear from you. They’ve prepared a short questionnaire that should take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete.

Your views are essential to this project. Please download and complete our questionnaire and return it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday 27th February. If you have any questions or comments about the project, you can email those to the same address.
Alternatively, their research team are conducting one-to-one telephone interviews with employers, employees and key stakeholders. If you have a lot of knowledge with regard to a particular role, or roles, and its (their) use of language or intercultural skills, it would be very helpful to talk to you. Please contact CILT directly to discuss your particular perspective.
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New national standards on intercultural respect at work

New national standards on intercultural respect at work



The first ever National Occupational Standards for working with people from different countries or diverse cultures will be launched today at a high profile event in central London. The new Standards provide a quality benchmark for building mutual respect, improving communication and workforce relations, and reducing racism.

The new National Occupations Standards for Intercultural Working describe the skills, knowledge and understanding required by anyone wishing to work effectively in a multicultural environment. They can be used to inform policy and procedures, provide a good practice guide for human resources professionals, and identify training needs to promote social and community cohesion.

CILT, the National Centre for Languages led the government-funded project to develop the new Standards, which were approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in September 2008. Today’s launch celebrates the completion of the project, which has involved hundreds of organisations, employers and individuals from across the UK over the past two years.

Read more >> CILT
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The Interculturale Theatre Storytelling Laboratory


The Interculturale Theatre Storytelling Laboratory



Presents

the gift of diversity

Intercultural Theatre Storytelling Festival

II Edition - Rome, May 8-24 2008
The idea

Interculture means confront, exchange and communication among diverse cultures, towards an opened view and a larger dialogue between differences, against each discrimination. However, somehow, privileging interest to origins and traditions of the person that we meet - even if he is rich and amazing - and that normally we call a stranger, we may risk to forget his true particularity, maybe the most important thing: his story and not his country's one, his experience and not his people's one, his emotions and feelings, not his race's one. So, we can make the mistake to build a weak and false image, a masquerade, where people are just playing roles: the African, the Chinese, the Arabian and so on. Words are important and, when concepts linked to them have a fundamental value in our life, contradictions are not possible. We are different or equal? We can't be both, this is our provocation. If you think we are all unique, then, maybe, you could agree with the idea behind this project: the most powerful, significant and revolutionary way to have an intercultural point of view, in other words, to underline the importance of differences and richness inside our individuality, is to show the diversity of people that often think themselves as equal (not celebrating the equality of strangers...), to tell how much they are interesting to listen when they are speaking of themselves and how all become wonderful if they are so proud to mix each others.


II Edition

In May 2008 we’ll present the second edition of this festival. The last year, the first one was thought to put the bases and this time we whish to show our idea of interculture. Local or foreign artists, considering their diversity as a gift, will tell their story with their personal language or dialect. Because Italy and all countries in the world are wonderfully multicultural places even without immigrants, which are just other colours to improve the rainbow…

Almost seventy artists and companies, since North to South, sent us their proposals, convincing us that our point of view is not so crazy. After a hard selection will present nine shows from all Italy. The aim is to create a space where, thanks to Theatre Storytelling, interculture will become just culture, while actors and public will agree that diversity is the first value to celebrate.

The participants are, in order of appearance:

May 8, 9.00 p.m.: “Scantu[1]”, by and with Adele Tirante, “Cosa sono le nuvole” and “Viaggio inverso”

May 9, 9.00 p.m.: "Francesco Pileggi, the true story of a man of honour[2]",

by and with  Andrea Chianelli

May 10, 9.00 p.m.: “Calafrica[3]”, by and with Manuela Valenti

May 15, 9.00 p.m.: “Refugees”, by and with “Rataplab”

May 16, 9.00 p.m.: “Zagara”, by and with Maria Cristina Sarò

May 17, 9.00 p.m.: “It’s spring”, by and with Antonio Carletti

May 22, 9.00 p.m.: “Horrible heritage on the lake[4]”,

by and with “The differents, almost equal but different”

May 23, 9.00 p.m.: “The town of Punt”, by and with Elisa Menchicchi

May 24, 9.00 p.m. : “The true story of Jean Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, orator of the human race”,

by and with Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher and Cecilia Moreschi

The festival will be at the Studio Uno Theatre (www.studiounoteatro.it), in Rome,

Via Carlo della Rocca, 6.

The Laboratory:

The Intercultural theatre storytelling laboratory is directed by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher (www.alessandroghebreigziabiher.it), with the precious collaboration of Cecilia Moreschi.

Information:

Luisa Moreschi

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.narrazioneinterculturale.org

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Medical staff require training on intercultural awareness

Medical staff require professional interpreters and specific training on intercultural awareness, a new study published in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research suggests. The authors reveal that doctors are dissatisfied with the treatment they provide to their non-native patients, and that they cite cultural differences and language barriers as the key factors causing the disappointment with the level of care that they provide.

Birgit Babitsch from the Berlin Institute of Gender in Medicine in Germany, and co-workers from Berlin and the UK, gathered the results of questionnaires completed by doctors working in the internal medicine and gynaecology departments of three Berlin hospitals. The responses were then narrowed down to those relating to native Germans and those of Turkish origin and analysed in conjunction with the patients’ medical records. Over 2400 doctor questionnaires and corresponding patient records were finally analyzed.

The researchers found that doctors’ dissatisfaction with the patient-doctor relationship was much greater with regard to their Turkish patients. The two main reasons given were communication difficulties and the doctors’ perceptions that the Turkish patients did not always require urgent treatment. Around 20% of doctors were dissatisfied with the course of treatment for Turkish patients, compared to 10% for German patients. Minor differences were found in doctors’ satisfaction with regard to the patient’s gender.

Dr Babitsch states: “The use of professional interpreters for improved communication and the training of medical staff for improved intercultural competence are essential for the provision of adequate health care in a multicultural setting.”

Read more > EurekAlert
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2008 top 10 trends in business training

2008 top 10 trends in business training

What are the top ten trends in training and human resource development that are expected to dominate in 2008?

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Muslims, Ramadan and the Workplace – a Guide for HR

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins next week. Millions of people from Morocco to Malaysia will fast everyday from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. Among these will be significant numbers of Muslims working in offices in Europe and North America where Ramadan slips past unnoticed. This lack of awareness can and does cause inconvenience, stress and unhappiness to practicing Muslims in the workplace. Commisceo Global, a leading cross cultural communication training provider, has released a free guide for employers with Muslim staff to help them better understand the month and what it means to Islam’s adherents.

Depending on the sighting of the moon, the Islamic world will once again begin their annual exercise in spiritual and physical cleansing through fasting and other religious exercises next week. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Indonesia where the majority of the population will be fasting, the social cycle changes to accommodate people’s needs. Work may start later due to people praying late into the night, it will certainly finish earlier to allow people to prepare for iftar (breaking of the fast) and the general pace of life drops down a couple of gears, especially for the important last 10 nights.

However, in Europe and North America the pace of life continues as normal. Although many Muslims will be going through the same rigours as people in Syria or Singapore, Ramadan can be that little bit tougher. This is mainly down to the lack of cultural awareness within businesses nowadays. Although people may know who a Muslim is they may not appreciate what a Muslim does. Unawareness of aspects of the religion such as food & drink, interaction between genders, moral obligations, prayers and holidays is widespread.

As a result there are always stories of Muslims being invited to business lunches, not being provided with time or space to break their fasts at sunset or expected to work on the Eid holiday following Ramadan.

“We know of Muslims working in organisations that had no idea what Ramadan was and what it entails. Stories include buffets being set up next to someone’s desk at work who was fasting, a manager insisting on a Muslim colleague attending a working lunch and adequate time not being given at the time to break the fast to drink and eat properly,” explains Commisceo's Managing Director, Neil Payne.

Respecting cultural diversity in the workplace is simply best practice. If staff feel that they are being taken care of and understood on a personal level, a business will experience greater retention, morale and ultimately productivity.

In order to provide businesses with access to timely cultural knowledge on Muslims, Islam and the month of Ramadan, Coomisceo have released a free downloadable file that offers employers a summary of the main issues. These include looking at what Ramadan is, what it means to Muslims, the impact it has on their daily lives for a month and how in turn this impacts their working lives.


“The future is culturally diverse and if we are all to have a successful future, then cultural awareness is critical,” adds Payne.

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Language and Cultural background holding foreign-born workers back

“When you're looking at skills and technical professions there's a good body there of commonality,” said Tom Ryan, who's in charge of Communitech's recruitment strategy. “What we also find is culture shock. We find culture shock and language as a two-part killer.”

Not always, according to Herbert Hess, president of Hess Associates, which provides a placement service for people looking for work in the IT sector. Hess said that while language and culture shock can be a problem for some immigrants looking for work, people from countries such as India are used to working 10 to 14 hours a day - the kind of work ethic employers are looking for. “They've got language skills, communication skills and are very well educated. They don't seem to have a problem in terms of fitting in.”

Hess said he's seeing more Middle Eastern people looking for work nowadays compared to previous years, when Russian and Asian workers dominated the field.

Read more: Hess 
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Communication holds key to M&As

As companies conduct cross-border courtships and inter-marry , the one glue needed to hold all the pieces together seems to be missing. Language and communication skills seem to be the one major casualty of the technical education pursued by most managers and coveted by most employers. However successful an organisation, the lack of proper language skills can derail the most audacious merger or turn the most breath-taking innovation into an ordinary process shift.

That’s probably why Astra-Zeneca , Boeing and Citigroup have all hired well-known poet David Whyte to figure out how to conduct conversations within their organisations.

Read more: Whyte 
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