The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Cultural diversity training can help tackle healthcare inequalities

Cultural diversity training can help tackle healthcare inequalities


Healthcare inequalities may partly be due healthcare professionals'
ignorance of ethnic minority healthcare needs, according to an article in the latest edition of Clinical Medicine, published by the Royal College of Physicians. Cultural diversity programmes have been shown to improve patient outcomes, yet the research for this article found that the training of all major UK healthcare professionals in cultural diversity is inadequate.

Authors Paul Bentley, Ana Jovanovic and Pankaj Sharma revealed a wide variation in teaching practices between healthcare professions and geographic regions. Effective cultural competency training would help to make sure medical education meets the goal of improving healthcare for the whole population and tackle healthcare inequality. The authors call on UK regulatory healthcare bodies to consider cultural competency to be a requirement for all healthcare professional trainees.

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Exposure To Racial And Ethnic Diversity Better Prepares Medical Students

An article published in the medical education-themed September 10 issue of JAMA finds that white medical students are more likely to consider themselves highly prepared to provide care for minority populations if they attended schools with racial and ethnically diverse student bodies.

Under the belief that diversity exposes students to a broader field of ideas, experiences, and perspectives, most medical schools in the United States explicitly try to keep their student bodies racially and ethnically varied. The schools also believe that diversity in the classroom better prepares student to provide services to the multicultural American population. However, little research exists to support the claim of educational benefits from diversity in medical schools.

Read more > Medical News
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The Swiss to ban minarets?

The Swiss to ban minarets?


Switzerland will hold a referendum on whether to ban building any more minarets in the Alpine country, the government said on Tuesday.

A group of politicians from the Swiss People's Party (SVP) and Federal Democratic Union gathered more than 100,000 signatures to support the initiative, saying the minarets threaten law and order.

Switzerland has two minarets, in Zurich and Geneva, which would be unaffected by the vote. Neither issues a Moslem call to prayer.

"The Federal Chancellery checks of the signature list showed that of the total 114,137 signatures turned in, 113,540 are valid," the government said in a statement.

The proposal has to be discussed by parliament before being put to a popular vote and the process could take several years.

The SVP previously ran an anti-immigration campaign featuring three white sheep kicking a black sheep off a Swiss flag. The campaign was condemned as racist by rights groups and the United Nations.

Read more >> Switzerland 
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New website supports partnerships in community languages

New website supports partnerships in community languages


The launch of the website for Our Languages, a groundbreaking initiative funded by the DCSF, takes place today at the third CILT Community Languages National Conference in Sheffield.

The new website, hosted by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, provides vital information and support for community languages teachers and managers in the UK. Content includes video clips showing best practice, case studies, useful links and training and event information. Key features include a database of schools teaching community languages in England and information on how to gain accreditation in community languages: www.ourlanguages.org.uk

The Our Languages project began in September 2007 in response to a need to raise the status of community languages in the curriculum and to recognise the work of the complementary (or supplementary) sector in England. The project aims to provide support for community languages teaching by developing partnerships between complementary and mainstream schools. In its first phase, which ran until March 2008, nine schools, teaching more than twelve community languages, formed regional partnerships in Birmingham, Leicester, London and Manchester.

Read more > CILT 
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Cross-cultural competence

Cross-cultural competence (3C), another term for inter-cultural competence, has generated its own share of contradictory and confusing definitions, due to the wide variety of academic approaches and professional fields attempting to achieve it for their own ends. One author identified no fewer than eleven different terms with some equivalence to 3C: cultural savvy, astuteness, appreciation, literacy or fluency, adaptability, terrain, expertise, competency, awareness, intelligence, and understanding (Selmeski, 2007).

Organizations from fields as diverse as business, health care, government security and developmental aid agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations have all sought to leverage 3C in one guise or another, often with poor results due to a lack of rigorous study of the phenomenon and reliance on “common sense” approaches based on the culture developing the 3C models in the first place (Selmeski, 2007).

The U.S. Army Research Institute, which is currently engaged in a study of the phenomenon, defines 3C as: “A set of cognitive, behavioral, and affective/motivational components that enable individuals to adapt effectively in intercultural environments” (Abbe et al., 2007). Cross-cultural competence does not operate in a vacuum, however. One theoretical construct posits that 3C, language proficiency, and regional knowledge are distinct skills that are inextricably linked, but to varying degrees depending on the context in which they are employed. In educational settings, Bloom’s affective and cognitive taxonomies (Bloom, 1956; Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia, 1973) serve as an effective framework to describe the overlap area between the three disciplines: at the receiving and knowledge levels 3C can operate with near independence from language proficiency or regional knowledge, but as one approaches the internalizing and evaluation levels the required overlap area approaches totality.

Read more > Multi-National Multi-Cultural Collaboration 
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The Interculturale Theatre Storytelling Laboratory


The Interculturale Theatre Storytelling Laboratory



Presents

the gift of diversity

Intercultural Theatre Storytelling Festival

II Edition - Rome, May 8-24 2008
The idea

Interculture means confront, exchange and communication among diverse cultures, towards an opened view and a larger dialogue between differences, against each discrimination. However, somehow, privileging interest to origins and traditions of the person that we meet - even if he is rich and amazing - and that normally we call a stranger, we may risk to forget his true particularity, maybe the most important thing: his story and not his country's one, his experience and not his people's one, his emotions and feelings, not his race's one. So, we can make the mistake to build a weak and false image, a masquerade, where people are just playing roles: the African, the Chinese, the Arabian and so on. Words are important and, when concepts linked to them have a fundamental value in our life, contradictions are not possible. We are different or equal? We can't be both, this is our provocation. If you think we are all unique, then, maybe, you could agree with the idea behind this project: the most powerful, significant and revolutionary way to have an intercultural point of view, in other words, to underline the importance of differences and richness inside our individuality, is to show the diversity of people that often think themselves as equal (not celebrating the equality of strangers...), to tell how much they are interesting to listen when they are speaking of themselves and how all become wonderful if they are so proud to mix each others.


II Edition

In May 2008 we’ll present the second edition of this festival. The last year, the first one was thought to put the bases and this time we whish to show our idea of interculture. Local or foreign artists, considering their diversity as a gift, will tell their story with their personal language or dialect. Because Italy and all countries in the world are wonderfully multicultural places even without immigrants, which are just other colours to improve the rainbow…

Almost seventy artists and companies, since North to South, sent us their proposals, convincing us that our point of view is not so crazy. After a hard selection will present nine shows from all Italy. The aim is to create a space where, thanks to Theatre Storytelling, interculture will become just culture, while actors and public will agree that diversity is the first value to celebrate.

The participants are, in order of appearance:

May 8, 9.00 p.m.: “Scantu[1]”, by and with Adele Tirante, “Cosa sono le nuvole” and “Viaggio inverso”

May 9, 9.00 p.m.: "Francesco Pileggi, the true story of a man of honour[2]",

by and with  Andrea Chianelli

May 10, 9.00 p.m.: “Calafrica[3]”, by and with Manuela Valenti

May 15, 9.00 p.m.: “Refugees”, by and with “Rataplab”

May 16, 9.00 p.m.: “Zagara”, by and with Maria Cristina Sarò

May 17, 9.00 p.m.: “It’s spring”, by and with Antonio Carletti

May 22, 9.00 p.m.: “Horrible heritage on the lake[4]”,

by and with “The differents, almost equal but different”

May 23, 9.00 p.m.: “The town of Punt”, by and with Elisa Menchicchi

May 24, 9.00 p.m. : “The true story of Jean Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, orator of the human race”,

by and with Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher and Cecilia Moreschi

The festival will be at the Studio Uno Theatre (www.studiounoteatro.it), in Rome,

Via Carlo della Rocca, 6.

The Laboratory:

The Intercultural theatre storytelling laboratory is directed by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher (www.alessandroghebreigziabiher.it), with the precious collaboration of Cecilia Moreschi.

Information:

Luisa Moreschi

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.narrazioneinterculturale.org

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Employment gap between white and BME staff is closing

The employment gap between white and black and ethnic minority (BME) workers is closing steadily, according to a report by the TUC.

The TUC report said the employment gap had narrowed by 2.2% over the past 10 years and now stands at 15.7%.

This comes despite recent criticism of government efforts to close the gap, with accusations that some specialist schemes were wound-up too soon.

The fastest area of growth in BME employment has been part-time work, with the number doing this more than doubling in 10 years. However, just 60.1% of BME people are in work, compared to 75.8% in the wider population.

Read more > BME
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Employment gap between white and BME staff is closing

The employment gap between white and black and ethnic minority (BME) workers is closing steadily, according to a report by the TUC.

The TUC report said the employment gap had narrowed by 2.2% over the past 10 years and now stands at 15.7%.

This comes despite recent criticism of government efforts to close the gap, with accusations that some specialist schemes were wound-up too soon.

The fastest area of growth in BME employment has been part-time work, with the number doing this more than doubling in 10 years. However, just 60.1% of BME people are in work, compared to 75.8% in the wider population.

Read more > BME
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Medical staff require training on intercultural awareness

Medical staff require professional interpreters and specific training on intercultural awareness, a new study published in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research suggests. The authors reveal that doctors are dissatisfied with the treatment they provide to their non-native patients, and that they cite cultural differences and language barriers as the key factors causing the disappointment with the level of care that they provide.

Birgit Babitsch from the Berlin Institute of Gender in Medicine in Germany, and co-workers from Berlin and the UK, gathered the results of questionnaires completed by doctors working in the internal medicine and gynaecology departments of three Berlin hospitals. The responses were then narrowed down to those relating to native Germans and those of Turkish origin and analysed in conjunction with the patients’ medical records. Over 2400 doctor questionnaires and corresponding patient records were finally analyzed.

The researchers found that doctors’ dissatisfaction with the patient-doctor relationship was much greater with regard to their Turkish patients. The two main reasons given were communication difficulties and the doctors’ perceptions that the Turkish patients did not always require urgent treatment. Around 20% of doctors were dissatisfied with the course of treatment for Turkish patients, compared to 10% for German patients. Minor differences were found in doctors’ satisfaction with regard to the patient’s gender.

Dr Babitsch states: “The use of professional interpreters for improved communication and the training of medical staff for improved intercultural competence are essential for the provision of adequate health care in a multicultural setting.”

Read more > EurekAlert
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Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool

Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool

An official UK event for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008





In the cities of today and tomorrow, how can people from different cultures really live together - rather than just rub along side one another?
As part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the Intercultural Cities Conference, will look at migration, diversity and urban life in a fresh way.  New thinking is needed on how diverse communities can co-operate in productive harmony instead of leading parallel or antagonistic lives.

The conference is organised by EUCLID and Comedia, in association with the Liverpool Culture Company, and with the support of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Taking place in this year's European Capital of Culture the conference will not only provide an opportunity to look at how different cultures can live together but how mixing can be turned to economic, social and cultural advantage - key issues particularly for those responsible for planning and regeneration, the local economy, community cohesion, education and the cultural services.

The three day event  will feature various European and international speakers, such as globalisation guru Saskia Sassen, the world authority on diversity and city planning Leonie Sandercock, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who says it is time to rethink multiculturalism, city leadership expert Carol Coletta, Keith Khan who leads the campaign to make the London 2012 Olympics an unprecedented intercultural festival, and leading European city politicians including Ilda Curti and Pascale Bonniel Chalier.

The conference format will break with convention in pursuit of maximum interaction between delegates and speakers.  There will also be the opportunity to get out into Liverpool to see some examples of intercultural dialogue and delegates can also choose from various extra activities, such as a dinner at Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club, featuring comedian Shazia Mirza.

Full details can be found at http://inter.culture.info/icc including the early bird booking fee, only available until 31 March
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"Cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing human rights

"Cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing human rights


A "cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing figures in authority, including police, teachers and social services, from protecting basic human rights for fear of upsetting certain ethnic minority communities, David Cameron warned yesterday.

In his strongest attack on multiculturalism, which he said had created a "cultural apartheid" by allowing communities to lead separate lives, the Conservative leader claimed that society was caving in to "extreme elements" who should be sidelined. Cameron cited two examples:

· authorities often turn a blind eye to forced marriages - schools in Derby have recently refused to put up posters about the issue - amid fears that they might be perceived as racists;

· Victoria Climbié, the eight-year-old who was tortured to death by her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend, was not properly protected by social services because they did not want to offend a family that had recently arrived in Britain.

Read more > Cameron 
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Punjabi is 4th most spoken language in Canada

Punjabi is the fourth most spoken language in Canada after English, French and Chinese, according to an official census.

While English and French are official languages, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Italian and Arabic are the most five most widely-spoken non-official languages in the country. Punjabi is also the 4th most spoken language in the Canadian Parliament.

According to the census by Statistics Canada in 2006, the most widely-spoken non-official language is Chinese (2.6 per cent of Canadians). It is followed by Punjabi (0.8 per cent), Spanish (0.7 per cent), Italian (0.6 per cent) and Arabic (0.5 per cent).

Read more > Canada

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Translation of food labels

Translation of food labels
Revere's (Massachusetts, USA) diverse community has given rise to a number of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores brimming with international products from countries such as Cambodia, Lebanon, and Thailand.


While these restaurants and stores provide a taste of home for immigrants, they may be confusing for residents who want to try new things but cannot read foreign-language packaging.

This was one of the arguments used by City Councilor George Rotondo when he asked, by way of a council motion, that Revere stores that sell products in a foreign language provide an English translation.

"I embrace diversity. I live it," said Rotondo, whose wife is from Colombia and who can speak or read five languages. "Unfortunately, I believe it's unfair that you go to a store and see something there and don't know what it is, and have to rely on someone telling you what it is."

His colleagues on the council last month approved the motion, which then made its way to Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino's desk. There it met a speedy death.

"The council passed it and the mayor vetoed it," Rotondo said. "He thought it was 'silly'; he wrote that in a letter to me."

"I just thought it was kind of foolish," Ambrosino said in an interview. "First of all, I don't think we have the authority to have private companies translate their products into English. And I don't think it's an effort in which we ought to be expending our efforts."

Read more > Revere 
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Mills & Boon to commence Polish translations

W H Smith is to introduce Polish versions of some of Mills & Boon's most popular titles according to the press today.

Libraries are also tipped to bring in copies for an increasing Polish customer base.

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Increased arrests of immigrants puts strain on police translation costs

The increasing number of foreigners in the UK is resulting in police forces strething to "bursting point." This according to leaked memos reported in the press today.  One chief constable commented his force had been "underfunded for years" in its battle to cope with a growing number of immigrants which has left resources strained. Police also note that extra translation and bureaucratic costs are resulting.

Read more > UK Police 
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Understanding the transcultural consumer

Press Release, San Francisco, CA, January 06, 2008 :

“The more than 100 million multicultural consumers in the US, are not just multi-colored or multi-lingual but cross-cultural and transcultural as well. They are rapidly evolving and challenging the definition of “ethnic” or “multicultural” marketing,” says Valerie Romley, Chief Research Officer and author of "Beyond Translation; The Marketer's Field Guide to Understanding Today's Transcultural Consumer".

“What was effective yesterday is no longer relevant and what is effective today may not resonate with tomorrow’s moving targets. It’s time for marketers to go beyond relying on translation and color and language based segmentation and understand the roles that culture and context have in influencing beliefs and attitudes and driving consumer behavior.”

Read more> Beyond Translation 
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88% of clinical professionals encounter non-English speaking patients

More than 88 percent of America clinical research, healthcare, and medical device industry professionals surveyed encounter non-English speaking patients and subjects on a regular basis. The November 2007 survey, which was conducted by Global Language Solutions (GLS), polled the firm's clients and industry contacts on the types of languages spoken by their patients or research subjects, as well as the one(s) used most often.

GLS, which specializes in translation and interpreting services for the medical devices, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries, was not surprised to find Spanish as the non-English language most commonly cited by respondents; with 90 percent those surveyed who encounter non-English languages listing it as the most common. Other languages listed included French (37 percent), Chinese (25 percent), and Russian (20 percent).

Read more> GLS 
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88% of clinical professionals encounter non-English speaking patients

More than 88 percent of America clinical research, healthcare, and medical device industry professionals surveyed encounter non-English speaking patients and subjects on a regular basis. The November 2007 survey, which was conducted by Global Language Solutions (GLS), polled the firm's clients and industry contacts on the types of languages spoken by their patients or research subjects, as well as the one(s) used most often.

GLS, which specializes in translation and interpreting services for the medical devices, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries, was not surprised to find Spanish as the non-English language most commonly cited by respondents; with 90 percent those surveyed who encounter non-English languages listing it as the most common. Other languages listed included French (37 percent), Chinese (25 percent), and Russian (20 percent).

Read more> GLS 
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Language and Culture are issues for midwives

Language and Culture are issues for midwives
The UK's population is growing. Part of that increase is fuelled by women from other countries having children here.

And as the Local Government Association (LGA), representing 400 councils in England and Wales, outlines to a House of Lords select committee how migration stretches community services, one midwife tells how the changes affect her.


For midwife Jayne Cozens, going to work these days is also becoming something of a geography lesson.

She has worked in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for 12 years, and her caseloads are containing increasing numbers of foreign nationals from across the globe.

Language and culture are becoming more of an issue, as Mrs Cozens' job becomes ever more multi-cultural and multi-lingual.

"It can be a challenge explaining to a 17-year-old English girl what an amniocentesis is, let alone to a teenager from abroad who doesn't speak the language," she says.

There are cultural issues, too, which midwives must handle in the course of giving their advice to non-UK nationals.

"Chinese families tend to sleep together in the same room and the same bed.

"Children, new baby, mum and dad are all together. It's what they're used to, so you go to a house and there's a couple of mattresses on the floor.

"But our advice in relation to cot death is for women to not sleep with their babies, so if you have the whole family in together then that presents a problem."

Mrs Cozens said that in the course of her work "you do learn a few words" but that this is not enough to clearly explain the full message.

Read more> Language & Culture
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Enjoy Christmas say UK's religious leaders

Enjoy Christmas say UK's religious leaders
Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims joined Britain's equality watchdog Monday in urging Britons to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.


"It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show," said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

"Let's stop being silly about a Christian Christmas," he said, referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain.

Suicide bombings by British Islamists in July 2005 which killed 52 people in London have prompted much soul-searching about religion and integration in Britain, a debate that has been echoed across Europe.

Read more> Christmas
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