Enabling Meaningful Intercultural Dialogue
Every culture has its own distinguishing features that are defined by its social, political and economic history, its mix of religious beliefs, and its geography. Some cultures have a history of ethnic diversity and so they have mechanisms for understanding and accepting other points of view and ways of being. But not every culture, or person within a culture, has the means to communicate meaningfully across traditional boundaries of race, class, ethnicity and gender. Even so, new ways of crossing these boundaries can be learned by anyone with a will to do so.
Holding meaningful conversations with people from other cultures can be a challenge. Here are six things to remember in order to make sure that people speak and listen to one another with respect and understanding.
- Distinguish fact from opinion
- Be aware of distinguishing features of your own and other cultures
- Recognize and reject cultural, religious and gender stereotyping
- Maintain equal dignity for all participants
- Recognize and respect cultural differences and similarities
- Make a personal commitment to being open, curious and accepting