During the SIETAR Spain congress held in Malaga in the end of September, diversophy® was represented by Dr. George Simons who along with Soumia Ben Amar held a workshop titled “Culturally Competent Training with Cognitive Integrity”. Soumia is a fellow interculturalist, senior advisor to the International Consultative Diplomatic Commission, as well as an expert in international communication and negotiation with 18 years of industry activity behind her belt. (Ms. Ben Amar’s website can be accessed via http://i-strator.com/indexen.html).
During the workshop, members explored several first steps toward up-to-date cultural expertise rooted in postmodern, linguistic, performative, iconic and constructionist thinking. The exercises and reflections were based on contemporary findings of neuroscience. The three main holistic dimensions of activities included: 1) narrative and storytelling exploration; 2) learning and practicing of skills; 3) non-verbal and kinetic exercises. The participants determined their identity narrative, analyzed perceptions of “self”, narratives and looked at tangibility of culture in general and culture of interculturalists specifically.
In another activity, Dr. Simons participated in the World Café discussion on migratory issues, which focused on techniques of client management for interculturalists working with said issues. One of the main topics at his table included contemporary differences and challenges between Spanish and other IC fields, such as legislation and media, and the commodification and reduction of training time by companies. Another discussion addressed the necessity of teaching ICC to a broader spectrum of students and finding ways of conversion of the latter into clients. The final major point raised at the table was interculturalists’ and SIETAR visibility and solutions for credibility and influence.