Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC)

Intercultural communication humor!

I am a passionate life long learner. This summer I am taking a graduate level class: The History of the South (that is, the South of the U.S.).  While I already have a Masters from the School for International Training, I am a firm believer that education is not a destination, but rather a life long journey that has ebbs and flows.  This will be my 2nd graduate level class in U.S. History – a subject that I am very curious about and one that directly relates to my work as an intercultural educator because it is important to know where the value structure of a country comes from to understand its culture.

Each summer I make a list of professional training opportunities to consider, and then I make a short list of what is “realistic” in terms of time, funding, and work/life balance. After careful consideration, I opted for the History course and the BEVI training for a variety of reasons.  However, if time and resources permitted, I would have liked to attended training at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in Portland, Oregon, US.  In fact, I wish that the SIIC had a virtual training option for those of us who cannot easily get to the west coast!

SIIC has a 34 year history of providing professional development in intercultural communication. It is part of the Intercultural Communication Institute (ICI), a private, nonprofit foundation designed to foster an awareness and appreciation of cultural differences in both the international and domestic arenas.

Their workshops are appropriate for intercultural trainers, human resource and diversity managers, educators, international administrators and those who work across diverse teams.  In fact, it is really an appropriate training program for anyone who wants to learn more about building bridges among cultural differences as well as simply understanding why we are the way we are.

Their summer institute is offering four summer sessions this year including one, three and five day workshops.  Some of particular interest include:

New Narratives in Intercultural Education and Training – facilitated by Milton Bennett. This one excites me because I want to know what new models exist out there instead of recreating the same theories repeatedly. How can we look at the work that we do from a different lens?  And how could we miss an opportunity to learn from Milton Bennett?  He is a guru in our field!

Mapping the Intercultural Self: Using Visual Journaling to Create an Atlas of Experience – facilitated by Patricia (Patti) Digh and David Robinson.  This appeals to me because it is a unique way to explore culture.  Participants are instructed to bring art supplies – which sounds like a fabulous creative outlet when exploring your intercultural self. And I must add that one of the facilitators, Ms. Digh, sounds like an unbelievable woman! Anyone who writes a book about living with intention is a rock star in my humble opinion. Furthering her potential “rock star status” is that she lives in Asheville, North Carolina (US), one of the coolest places on our dear planet.

China: A Critical-Culture Briefing – facilitated by George Renwick. A dedicated training on China by one of the world’s leading experts on East/West cultural dialogue. What else do I need to say?  I simply will add that I met George Renwick years ago during my days at Cartus and learned more in a 20 minute conversation with him about China then I did in 4 years of college. Enough said!

While I won’t be able to attend SIIC this summer, I hope that you’ll consider doing so. And if you can’t get out to the west coast of the US this year, make sure to sit down and assess your professional development opportunities.  Whether it is traveling abroad, attending a conference, drilling down in a country specific training or making a list of books that will help you to grow as an educator and person, make sure to take the time to explore on your educational journey. Life is too short and too precious not to!