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An Invitation to Collaborate Across Differences

  • CI-LAS Haret Al Labanh Cairo Governorate Egypt (map)

What’s a monocultural society? Or for that matter a multicultural one? What is meant by ethnocentrism? Or for that matter by Eurocentrism?

This course invites you to explore your relationship with the (cultural) “Other”.  Our exploration will climb two stages: you will be introduced to the basic theoretical frameworks and key elements that constitute Cross Cultural Communication and Intercultural Learning, followed by a survey of practical application.
It is often said that to be able to know the Other, we need to know ourselves first. We will study the topics of identity, self- and other-awareness, perception, and belonging: the age-old ”us” vs ”them” paradigm that inevitably leads to stereotypes and prejudice. The process of acculturation presents yet another major theme and will serve as a conceptual bridge to studying ethnocentrism.

The second stage will be more hands on as it engages with the practical application of the different cross-cultural communication frameworks. With the use of experiential learning methods, we will consider the tools necessary when decoding others’ behaviours and communication patterns to build up competencies for successful and meaningful interaction with the Other. Here we will introduce the notion of ethnorelativism.
Our study of the Other will be enriched by writings of Martin Buber and Tzvetan Todorov. Joseph Shaules and the Bennetts will be our guides on the introductory tour of the cross-cultural field.     

What to expect
●        Opening up to learn about yourself and others in a safe environment through sharing of personal experiences and observations
●        Participate in experiential learning activities; some of which may take place beyond the classroom
●        Weekly engagement with assigned readings and voicing of your opinion in class discussions
●        To produce a final individual or group mini-project based on the learning and experiences from the course

Why apply
●        To gain deeper insight into who you are through self- and other-reflection
●        To examine your attitudes towards the “Others” and your default settings when interacting with strangers
●        To learn how to decode others’ behaviours and communication patterns
●        To (re-)discover and strengthen your cross-cultural skills
●        To explore the nature of ethnocentrism and enthorelativism and their implications in today’s world