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.

HealthForumOnline Adds Cultural Competency to their Online Education

HealthForumOnline Adds Cultural Competency to their Online Education
HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC, PSNA, CA-BBS) provider of online continuing education (CE) for psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and other allied healthcare professionals announces the addition of a new online CE course for health professionals working with children and their families, Cultural Competency in Pediatric Psychology: Issues & Clinical Applications to their extensive online continuing education library.

This addition to HFO's online CE course selection is important as psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and other allied health care professionals in the U.S. have had a growing awareness of a shift in the demographic characteristics of their pediatric patients and their families over the last decade. Among them, is a marked change indicating a growing trend towards a more multi-ethnic society. However, despite this demographic shift, evidence suggests that Americans still do not equally share in the hope for recovery from mental illness despite the availability of effective and well-documented treatments.

Although a decade has passed since the U.S. Surgeon General first asserted that culture counts in mental health research and treatment, little has been done to address cultural variables in any way. One review of the research literature reported that only 11% of American samples included minority participants (i.e., African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics), only18% reported the SES of participants, and only 6% discussed potential moderating cultural variables such as a specific ethnic-related variable. Moreover, the existing literature typically focuses on adults, further limiting our ability to offer theory- and evidence-based interventions that are culturally sensitive to an entire population base - children and their families. Not surprisingly, U.S. minorities, particularly children, continue to face obstacles to accessing mental health care, including barriers related to language, geography and cultural familiarity, resulting in culturally-based disparities in the quality of care received and mental health outcome.

Read more > HFO
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EHRC accused of requesting ethnic minority staff to join BNP

EHRC accused of requesting ethnic minority staff to join BNP


The equality watchdog is conducting an internal investigation into allegations that a director asked minority employees to join the British National Party (BNP), testing the party's constitution ahead of a legal case.

A source says the senior manager asked staff in a teleconference to identify employees at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) from a black and ethnic minority background who could be asked to join the far-right BNP.

The EHRC allegedly wanted to gather evidence that the BNP refused minority applicants to the party, in the build up to its legal case against the party's rules.

Read more > EHRC
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Culture and Medical Care

Culture and Medical Care



The patient in Room 328 had diabetes and hypertension. But when Va Meng Lee, a Hmong shaman, began the healing process by looping a coiled thread around the patient’s wrist, Mr. Lee’s chief concern was summoning the ailing man’s runaway soul.

“Doctors are good at disease,” Mr. Lee said as he encircled the patient, Chang Teng Thao, a widower from Laos, in an invisible “protective shield” traced in the air with his finger. “The soul is the shaman’s responsibility.”

At Mercy Medical Center in Merced, where roughly four patients a day are Hmong from northern Laos, healing includes more than IV drips, syringes and blood glucose monitors. Because many Hmong rely on their spiritual beliefs to get them through illnesses, the hospital’s new Hmong shaman policy, the country’s first, formally recognizes the cultural role of traditional healers like Mr. Lee, inviting them to perform nine approved ceremonies in the hospital, including “soul calling” and chanting in a soft voice.

The policy and a novel training program to introduce shamans to the principles of Western medicine are part of a national movement to consider patients’ cultural beliefs and values when deciding their medical treatment.

Read more > Mercy Medical Centre
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Stereotyping and Cross-Cultural Communication

Stereotyping and Cross-Cultural Communication



As more or more people from different backgrounds, countries, cultures and religions immigrate to foreign lands, those countries become an intercultural melting pot. In order for the native people and the immigrant population to blend and create a thriving and successful atmosphere both sides need to develop some sort of intercultural tolerance and understanding of the differences that may exist between them. An example of poor intercultural understanding, or one based simply on stereotypes, is offered by the town of Herouxville in Quebec, Canada.

A declaration issued by the town in January 2007, which was designed to inform immigrants, “that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here [i.e. Herouxville]“. It then went on to state that the immigrant population would therefore have to refrain from their cultural norms and activities such as to “kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them, etc.”

Read more > Global Utah Weekly
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Stereotyping and Cross-Cultural Communication

Stereotyping and Cross-Cultural Communication



As more or more people from different backgrounds, countries, cultures and religions immigrate to foreign lands, those countries become an intercultural melting pot. In order for the native people and the immigrant population to blend and create a thriving and successful atmosphere both sides need to develop some sort of intercultural tolerance and understanding of the differences that may exist between them. An example of poor intercultural understanding, or one based simply on stereotypes, is offered by the town of Herouxville in Quebec, Canada.

A declaration issued by the town in January 2007, which was designed to inform immigrants, “that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here [i.e. Herouxville]“. It then went on to state that the immigrant population would therefore have to refrain from their cultural norms and activities such as to “kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them, etc.”

Read more > Global Utah Weekly
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Faces and Cultural Differences

Faces and Cultural Differences



A new study suggests that people from different cultures read facial expressions differently.

East Asian participants in the study focused mostly on the eyes, but those from the West scanned the whole face.

In the research carried out by a team from Glasgow University, East Asian observers found it more difficult to distinguish some facial expressions.

The work published in Current Biology journal challenges the idea facial expressions are universally understood.

In the study, East Asians were more likely than Westerners to read the expression for "fear" as "surprise", and "disgust" as "anger".

The researchers say the confusion arises because people from different cultural groups observe different parts of the face when interpreting expression.

East Asian participants tended to focus on the eyes of the other person, while Western subjects took in the whole face, including the eyes and the mouth.

Read more > Global Faces
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Aussies say Aussies are racist

Aussies say Aussies are racist



Australians are in two minds about multiculturalism, a long-term survey has found.

They believe cultural diversity is good for the country but they're worried that cultural differences will stop everyone from getting along.

An 11-year study by a collaboration of Australian universities has found 85 per cent of Australians acknowledge racial prejudice occurs in the nation and one in five has been a victim of racist verbal abuse.

The study found that 6.5 per cent of the 16,000 Australians surveyed were against multiculturalism.

Professor Kevin Dunn, from the University of Western Sydney's school of social science, said the study revealed that the majority of Australians are pro-multiculturalism but are anxious that the diversity will not be managed well.

"Over 40 per cent of those surveyed feel that cultural differences pose a threat to societal harmony," he said.

Read more > Survey
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Councils spend £50m a year translating documents

Councils spend £50m a year translating documents



It is a well-intended initiative which is meant to offer immigrants a helping hand. Yet now an investigation has found that many of the expensively-produced foreign-language leaflets have never been read.

Documents which have failed to attract a single reader include a pamphlet for gipsies translated into Polish, and a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender directory translated into French.

No-one read the Haringey Women's Directory when it was translated into Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish, Somali or Urdu.

All were made available by Haringey council, in north London, on its website, which records the number of times each document is downloaded.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said: “Haringey has some 193 different languages spoken. We generally offer translations where required rather than translate routinely.

"Where translations are produced they will be made available on our website as an additional service.”

Read more > Telegraph
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Cultural Diversity - Thinking Globally

Cultural Diversity - Thinking Globally


One of the greatest challenges for any enterprise, large or small, is recruiting and retaining workers, a situation that is certain to escalate as baby boomers move into retirement.

One way to meet the challenge, experts say, is to strengthen the recruitment of visible minorities. In fact, major corporations are fostering diversity in the workplace as good business sense, not only to reflect changing customer bases today, but as a strategy for the long term.

Business is increasingly international in nature and having people on staff fluent in foreign languages and cultural savvy can prove a tremendous asset. Then there is the need to have an organization reflect the communities it serves -- it just makes sound branding sense.

The challenge for many companies, however, is how to get started, and then how to recruit and retain visible minorities on staff.

Read more > Thinking Globally
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Cultural Diversity - Thinking Globally

Cultural Diversity - Thinking Globally


One of the greatest challenges for any enterprise, large or small, is recruiting and retaining workers, a situation that is certain to escalate as baby boomers move into retirement.

One way to meet the challenge, experts say, is to strengthen the recruitment of visible minorities. In fact, major corporations are fostering diversity in the workplace as good business sense, not only to reflect changing customer bases today, but as a strategy for the long term.

Business is increasingly international in nature and having people on staff fluent in foreign languages and cultural savvy can prove a tremendous asset. Then there is the need to have an organization reflect the communities it serves -- it just makes sound branding sense.

The challenge for many companies, however, is how to get started, and then how to recruit and retain visible minorities on staff.

Read more > Thinking Globally
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Fire Service recruitment campaign aims to ethnic diversity

Fire Service recruitment campaign aims to ethnic diversity



The government has launched a recruitment campaign targeting ethnic minorities and women to help the Fire Service reach its new equality targets.

Earlier this month the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) agreed to targets demanding that by 2013, 15% of all recruits to the operational sector are women - an increase from the 2008 recruitment figure of 9.2% - and that the proportion of ethnic minority staff is representative of the local community.

A report by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) had revealed that just 5% of FRS employees were from an ethnic minority background, while just 3.3% of operational staff were female.

The new campaign is designed to change attitudes and perceptions towards a career with the force - focusing specifically on women and ethnic minority groups - rather than the development of a national recruitment campaign.

The exact nature of the campaign is still under discussion but it will run across a range of media platforms, including advertising, online and events.

Read more > Fire Service
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Nursing and Intercultural Dynamics

Nursing and Intercultural Dynamics



Transcultural nursing with established clinical approached to clients with varying cultures are relatively new. According to Madeleine Leininger (1987) founder of the filed of transcultural nursing in the mid 1960s. The education of nursing students in this field is only now beginning to yield  significant results.

Today  nurses with a deeper appreciation of human life and values are developing cultural sensitivity for appropriate individualized clinical approaches.

Religious and Cultural knowledge is an important ingredient in health care. If the client do not respond as nurse expects the nurse may interpret it as unconcern or resistance the nurse then can be anxious and frustrated in order to incorporate cultural knowledge in care cultural knowledge in care.

It is important to understand some definition and cultural components that are important in health care.

For a nurse to successfully provide care for a client of a different cultural or ethnic to background, effective intercultural communication must take place. Intercultural communication occurs when each person attempts to understand the other’s point of   view from his or her own cultural frame of reference. Effective intercultural communication is facilitated by the nurse identification of areas of commonalities. After reaching a cultural. understanding, the nurse must consider cultural factor throughout the nursing process.

Major Nursing organizations have emphasized in the last decade the importance of considering culture factors when delivering nursing care.

According to the American Nurses’ s Association (1976)”Consideration of individual value systems and lifestyles should be included in the planning and health care for each client Nursing curriculum recognize the contribution nursing to the health care needs of a diverse and multi cultural society life-style may ret1ect cultural heritage.

Culture-Broadly defines set of values, beliefs and traditions, that are held by a specific group of people and handed down from generation to generation. Culture is also beliefs, habits, likes, dislikes, customs and rituals learn from one’s family. (Specter 1991)

Culture is the learned, shared and transmitted values, beliefs, norms and life way practices of a particular group that guide thinking, decisions, and actions in patterned ways.

Religion:  Is a set of belief in a divine or super human power (or powers) to be obeyed and worshipped as the creator and ruler of the universe? Ethical values and religion system of beliefs and practices, difference within the culture and across culture are found

Ethnic: refers to a group of people who share a common and distinctive culture and who are members of a specific group.

Culture-universals: commonalities of values, norms of behavior, and life patterns that are similar among different cultures.

Culture-specifies ; values, beliefs, and patterns of behavior that tend to be unique to a designate culture.

Cultural shock:-the state of being disoriented or unable to respond to a different cultural environment because of its sudden strangeness, unfamiliarity, and incompatibility to the stranger's perceptions and expectations at is differentiated from others by symbolic markers (cultures, biology, territory, religion).

Read more > Nursing
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The Intercultural Library

The Intercultural Library



Immigrants will now be able to access learning aids in their own language, information about life in their new homeland or literature in their mother tongue in German libraries, thanks to a new intercultural web portal for library users and staff, launched by the German Library Association (Deutscher Bibliotheksverband, dbv).

Via “springboards” for more than 20 languages, the Intercultural Library provides information on stocks of foreign-language books in public libraries in Germany and also links to texts for library work, multilingual glossaries and online dictionaries, multilanguage online information services and other information portals. The library-work-related level comprises texts and links to integration strategies, professional literature, professional forums, organisations and associations, and also practical examples from other libraries at home and abroad. Within this context, special emphasis is laid on topics such as “Life in Germany”, “Promoting reading and writing” and “Health”, experience having shown that demand for information and source texts on these topics is especially high.

Read more > Goethe Institut

What Kwintessential says:

This is an exciting and interesting initiative by the Goethe Institut which addresses the issues of immigration, language, cultural understanding and the integration of foreigners. Such projects should be seen as the way forward for other countries seeking to implement ways of bringing foreigners into the country and having them understand their new neighbours, colleagues and countrymen.
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The Intercultural Library

The Intercultural Library



Immigrants will now be able to access learning aids in their own language, information about life in their new homeland or literature in their mother tongue in German libraries, thanks to a new intercultural web portal for library users and staff, launched by the German Library Association (Deutscher Bibliotheksverband, dbv).

Via “springboards” for more than 20 languages, the Intercultural Library provides information on stocks of foreign-language books in public libraries in Germany and also links to texts for library work, multilingual glossaries and online dictionaries, multilanguage online information services and other information portals. The library-work-related level comprises texts and links to integration strategies, professional literature, professional forums, organisations and associations, and also practical examples from other libraries at home and abroad. Within this context, special emphasis is laid on topics such as “Life in Germany”, “Promoting reading and writing” and “Health”, experience having shown that demand for information and source texts on these topics is especially high.

Read more > Goethe Institut

What Kwintessential says:

This is an exciting and interesting initiative by the Goethe Institut which addresses the issues of immigration, language, cultural understanding and the integration of foreigners. Such projects should be seen as the way forward for other countries seeking to implement ways of bringing foreigners into the country and having them understand their new neighbours, colleagues and countrymen.
Continue reading

Cultural competence key to future work

Cultural competence key to future work



With all the talk of layoffs and company closings, it’s easy to forget that most work-force-ready Americans are not unemployed, however tenuous their jobs may seem. After all, the corollary to a 7 percent or 8 percent unemployment rate would have to be an employment rate in the 90s. That’s a lot of people who would like to keep their jobs, and Mary Beth Lamb, a Minneapolis-based consultant, believes she knows how they can do it. In two words: cultural competence.

Or global competence, if you prefer. Lamb, who has worked on five continents, says the key to future employment lies in developing a global mind-set. “We need to recognize that people from different cultures think differently,” she said. “There is a diversity of thought, language, style, behavior. Awareness is really the first step, and then acceptance and skill building are next” in the process of building such a mind-set.

Why should anyone go to this trouble when the United States has been the dominant force in business worldwide? The obvious answer is that dominance is not guaranteed; some would say that it is already waning. On the other hand, even a scenario where the United States maintains its leadership places us squarely in the world marketplace, where the need for cultural competence seems only to grow.

Read more > AMY LINDGREN

What is Cultural Competence?

As a company involved in cultural awareness training, we are often asked for a definition of intercultural competence. In short, there is no one answer that can be given to this question. Intercultural competence is a term that can be applied by many different people for many different reasons. As a result the definitions change depending on the angle at which people are looking at it from.

In essence intercultural competence can be summed up as the ability to work well across cultures. Yet, many will not agree with such a simple definition. As a way of presenting all the different opinions on the matter, we scoured some sources to see how others define intercultural competence. Here are the results:

>> "..the overall capability of an individual to manage key challenging features of intercultural communication: namely, cultural differences and unfamiliarity, inter-group dynamics, and the tensions and conflicts that can accompany this process."

by staff at Universität des Saarlandes

>> Intercultural competence ".means that a student understands a variety of significant cultural experiences and/or achievements of individuals who are identified by ethnicity, race, religion, gender, physical/mental disability, or sexual orientation; the cultural history of various social groups within a society; the interrelations between dominant and non-dominant cultures, either in the United States or elsewhere, and the dynamics of difference."

By Penn State

>> "A simple definition, however, might be: the abilities to perform effectively and appropriately with members of another language-culture background on their terms."

By Alvino E. Fantini, Ph.D., School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont

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Calls for radical action to boost minority managers

Calls for radical action to boost minority managers



Urgent action is required to boost the number of ethnic minority managers in UK workplaces, according to an equality lobbying group.

A study by Race for Opportunity - part of the Business in the Community campaign group of employers - analysed office labour market statistics between 2000 and 2007, and found ethnic minorities have not been gaining the share of jobs that their proportion in the wider UK population would justify. The gap between the overall ethnic minority population and those in managerial positions is even greater, with the report warning that, based on current trends, ethnic minority managers will never be in line with their representation in the wider population.

The Race to the Top report showed that more than one in 10 of the UK population comes from an ethnic minority group, yet just one in 15, or 6.8%, were in a management position at the end of 2007.

Read more >> Management
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Ethnic minorities employment prospects fail to improve

Ethnic minorities employment prospects fail to improve



The employment prospects of some of the UK's ethnic minorities have failed to improve and may well have declined markedly since the 1970s, according to research.

A study by research professors at both Manchester and Oxford universities found that minority ethnic groups had a much harder chance of finding work as their white counterparts, and that employment for ethnics had got worse since the 1970s. The news comes as the number of people out of work grew to 1.86 million in the three months to October – up 137,000 from the three months to July.

Anthony Heath, a professor at the University of Oxford, called on the government to do more to improve employment for ethnic minorities: “Previous government attempts to use legislation have failed to narrow the gap, although the proposals in the Queen's Speech this month may offer some hope of progress.”

Read more >> Employment
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TV Series on Exploring Cultural Heritage

PLANNING TO EXPLORE YOUR FAMILY ROOTS?

Ricochet TV are looking for families who are either planning, or would like the opportunity to plan, amazing journey of discovery back to their parents’ country of origin for a new TV series.

If you would like to take a trip to get back in touch with your cultural heritage, then give us a call on 01273 224800 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Managing Asian Cultural Diversity: Cross-cultural Issues in Asia

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Managing Asian Cultural Diversity: Cross-cultural Issues in Asia" report to their offering.

Managing Asian cultural diversity can be very complex for Western companies. Each country has its own culture, history, ideology, language and philosophy: a strategy in Taiwan may not work in China, and vice versa. Understanding the local mentality, beliefs, and even linguistic traits can make a world of difference in managing Asian employees effectively. Please attend our April 8, 2008 webcast on Asian Cross-Cultural Issues. This 90-minute session will include a 60-minute presentation, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.
The following topics are covered in this webcast:

-Diversity of Asian Cultures
-Erroneous Assumptions about Asian Cultures
-Comparison of Key Asian Cultural Concepts
-Cultural Impact on Asian Management Issues
-Common Challenges in Managing Asian Diversity
-Strategies for Effective Asian Management
-Benchmarking Practices for Global Effectiveness

For more information visit Research Markets
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Multilingual London

Multilingual London


If you want the hard facts on languages in London, look no further. The RLN's  downloadable digest tells you which languages Londoners use, how many languages are spoken, which languages are needed for trade, how many overseas students there are in London - and lots more.

Read more >> Multilingual London
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