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Working with Differences a success!!

On November 20.2003 the Cross Culture committee and Writing Committee jointly sponsored a Pre-conference prior to the ECIS Annual, deputy chair of the Cross Culture committee was instrumental in the planning and acted as registrar. He was also slated to be a major presenter.

Emergency surgery prevented him from attending the conference but he is nonetheless the single person who deserves most credit for its success. The committee thanks him for his extraordinary efforts on behalf of the team. Others essential to the planning and execution which made the conference a success were Debra Rader, who did the IT labors to assemble the information packet. Lynda Walker Williams, who assured arrangements for conference room and catering, and Richard Pearce who assisted in the design and particularly in finding an exemplary substitute at the last moment. Non-committee members participating in the program included Jim Cambridge (Research Fellow with the IB research Unit at the University of Bath), Coreen Sears (author of Second Language Students in Mainstream Classrooms) and Bernadette van Houten (former chair of the committee and now working with her own Consultants Intercultural Communication).

The room was full. Attendees included many experienced heads and teachers and others interested in cross-cultural work.John Sauer, chair of the Writing Committee, designed the brochure for the workshop and assisted with registration on the day itself.

The actual presentations were as follows:

“Getting back to our roots: the need for cross-cultural understanding”

Bernadette van Houten

“The only culture we can understand: our own cultural identity, current theory and practice” Richard Pearce

“Exploring ‘Looking-Glass land’: learning about cultural contrasts at school”

Jim Cambridge

Brains Trust Panel:

Jon Rinnander, Lynda Walker-Williams.

Coreen Sears, Bernadeette van Houten

Final debriefing:

Bernadette van Houten

Need for Cross cultural work

While the pre-conference was meeting in Humburge, two terrorist bombs exploded in Istanbul. Among the victims of diverse faiths, cultures, and nationalities, was Mr. Roger Short, HM Consul General in Istanbul and a governor of the British School of Istanbul.

Committee members present workshops at conference

Committee members were represented among the presenters at the ECIS annual conference:

Richard Pearce stood in for the absent Peter Weinrich and also presented his own research in two related workshops:

Understanding the Mobiles Child through Identity Structure Analysis Debra Rader, author of New Kid in School: Using Literature to Help Children in Transition presented a workshop on the same theme.

Jon Rinnander chaired a panel on Crosscultural Issues in Early Childhood which also included Amanda Ilhan of the British School Istanbul, Karla Schmidt of the international School Hannover Region, and Coreen Sears.

Lynda Walker-Williams had a full house on a Sunday morning for her interactive presentation on “Educating for Global Citizenship”

Distinguished Thai author and journalist presents at Conference

The committee shared with the Writing Committee an invitation to the Thai Writer Chamnongsri Hanchanlash. She offered at the ECIS convention a unique metaphor of “International cultural overpasses: their relation to and alienation from indigenous cultures”. Celebrated in her own land and much translated, this poet and novelist presented a multigenerational perspective on the process of cultural hegemony in a host country to many international schools. In a sprightly offering, she observed the process of acculturation in herself, her children and her grandchildren, meanwhile deftly applying contemporary theory in multilingual and cross cultural issues. Her striking presentation, electrifying in its impact on those who heard it, raised a basis question. Why do we hear so seldom at ECIS from the parents and families who are the recipients of our ministrations? At workshop after workshop people talk about the difficulties of reaching some East Asian students, yet few heads or teachers turned up to hear an Asian speaker show us the other side of the tapestry we think we are weaving. Her talk was a wake up call. If we wish to be true to the broader cross cultural agenda we need greater diversity in presenters at our conferences. (Jon Rinnander)


From : Cross Culture Committee Newsletter , December 2003

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