Archive for the 'Cross-cultural Training' Category

Jun 04 2005

The Culturally Customized Web Site

My copy of The Culturally Customized Web Site by Nitish Singh and Arun Pereira arrived yesterday from the publisher (Elsevier). The price offered by the publisher when following the link from Nitish Singh’s homepage ($23.96) was lower than the price on which was list ($29.95) and the publisher shipped it gratis. It comes endorsed by John Yunker, author of Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies, who says it’s “a valuable tool for helping executives successfully localize their web site”.

By the way, I found out about this book thanks to’s personalized recommendations. Aside from buying books from, I’ve taken the time to click “I own it” under “RATE THIS ITEM” on the page describing each book I’ve purchased elsewhere. Doing this really put the “personalized” in my personalized recommendations.

Also, Don DePalma’s book, Business Without Borders: A Strategic Guide to Global Marketing is now available in paperback on for only $16.96 (list price for the paperback is $19.95, list for the now-out-of-print hardcover edition was $29.95).

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Apr 29 2005

French To Google: “Puh!”

Reaffirming its heralded position as guardian of global culture (cheese, wine, literature, extended vacations, and things that smell), the French and other EU nations have mustered up enough dander to protect the world against latest “risk of crushing American domination…” Google.

Late last year, the sinister forces of Google reached an agreement with five major libraries to digitize 15 million books and make them accessible online.

Sacre Bleu!

You can see how this might be a problem.

In response, Jean-Noël Jeanneney, head of the French National Library, called on President Jacques Chirac to “make the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe more widely and more rapidly accessible on the Internet.”

The creation of a European search engine would defend French and other languages by being published in their original tongues.

This last point has puzzled some as Google is published in over a 100 languages.

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Apr 29 2005

Globalized World Spins Past Laws of Geometry

Is the world of the 21st century flat, as Thomas L. Friedman argues in his new book that identifies globalization as the most important trend of our times?

His analysis and the challenges it raises will kick off an expansive public radio project, Think Globally, with an event to be broadcast in Minnesota at 7 tonight from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. The event, which is sold out, is scheduled for rebroadcast next month (May 16-22) as National Public Radio concentrates on the meaning of globalization in our lives.

OK, so your instinct is to wiggle around in your chair and station-surf for sports because thinking globally is too big for your brain. Resist your instinct.

The global really is local. It’s about how you, your kids, your work, your education fit into the fast-spinning web of interconnections accelerated in the last few years by technology. Expect documentaries, commentary, listener-participation, cultural segments and investigative reports. For a preview of coming attractions and for Web-only material, check out the radio collaboration’s site at

What the public radio people have put together for tonight is a forum for us to consider how to meet the future quickly and smartly.

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Apr 29 2005

The New Colossus

My last post, “Nguyen Never Forgets the Long Journey to America“, reminded me of a line from the end of the poem, “The New Colossus,” by nineteenth-century American poet Emma Lazarus. This poem appears on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty, and describes her. In this line, the statue herself is speaking:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Reading it, I was overcome by emotion and tears washed over my eyes. My ancestors, too, reached these shores, landing at Ellis Island. I, too, am free.

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Apr 29 2005

Nguyen Never Forgets the Long Journey to America

Packed in an overcrowded boat, her skin blistering under the searing heat of the mid-day sun, while her stomach betraying her courageous front alerts the other passengers to her desperate need for food and water, 11-year-old Jinny Nguyen clings to her uncle’s arm, locked in fear that their boat – their literal life preserver was sinking, along with their dream for a new life – for freedom on a distant shore.

Although her daring 1979 escape from Vietnam is now little more than a memory, Nguyen, a successful baker and owner of Port Arthur’s Golden Croissant restaurant, said she hopes that Vietnamese children growing up in America today can someday understand the plight that their families endured in order to attain freedom.

Understanding the importance of heritage, Nguyen and her husband Richard have dedicated much of their free time to instructing their children in the customs of their culture.

“I have great kids,” Nguyen said. “They all do great in school. They prefer to speak English of course because that is what they speak in school. But, at home we make them speak Vietnamese. I also bought videos of Vietnamese music for them.”

“They even listen to Vietnamese rap music,” Nguyen said with a hearty laugh. “It doesn’t matter how they learn, just so they learn.”

In addition to language instruction, Nguyen, a richly talented cook, prepares Vietnamese dishes not only in her home, but also in her restaurant.

“I believe you get to know people through their food,” Nguyen said. “We have great food and I love to share it.”

Although brought to America out of tragic events in her homeland, Nguyen said she sees the silver lining in her escape and hopes that today’s Vietnamese children will someday understand the price of freedom.

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Apr 29 2005

Government Takes Steps in Making Antigua-Barbuda a Multilingual Society

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has moved closer towards implementing its educational policy of making the entire nation multilingual.

During his official visit to the Republic of Cuba, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer requested assistance from the Cuban government in the provision of tutors in the area of Spanish, the second official language of the Caribbean.

The country’s leader also expressed the government’s interest in short courses in Spanish, including the possibility of teaching that language on radio and television.

The Cuban government expressed their acceptance to collaborate in the teaching of Spanish Language both for primary education and for professors. To this end, a Cuban expert will shortly visit Antigua and Barbuda to carry out preliminary diagnosis and establish a plan of action.

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Apr 27 2005

Asian Adaptation

It is pure Western arrogance to go to Asia and expect to do business as we do in the West. Even with the best intentions, what works in the West can result in failure in the Far East.

We need to learn how to communicate with Asians, particularly as China becomes an economic powerhouse. We can’t do that without understanding some of the dramatic differences in our cultures.

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Apr 27 2005

Studying Abroad Offers Diverse Experiences

With more and more college graduates entering the “real world” each year, it’s becoming harder to stand out on resumes and applications. USF’s study abroad program gives students the opportunity to get an upper hand on the competition at an affordable price.

“In this global world and international market place, every employer or graduate school, professional school, everyone is looking to hire or to take into their graduate studies programs people with international dimension to their education,” said James D. Pulos, assistant director of study abroad. “In reality, having done an international program, short term, summer or full semester, makes a student more marketable. It puts them at the top of every employer’s list. It’s one of the most important things now — the diversity issue, having internationalization. It’s a way to actually quantify it on your transcript.

“It’s a wonderful experience to travel overseas and backpack through Europe, but you can’t necessarily show that to an employer. If you can show them a transcript, you can quantify it. Soon, people will be in the minority if they don’t have an international dimension to their education,” Pulos said

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Apr 27 2005

Globalization and its Discontents

Published by under Global Culture

It is widely believed that the Chinese are eating our lunch. Their factories hum and belch smoke, while ours go silent and send up weeds in the parking lot. This phenomenon is commonly called “globalization.” But it is also commonly misunderstood.

In the reverie of modern Americans, globalization means the rest of the world sends you things you don’t have to pay for. The burden of today’s little essay is two-fold. The first part is easy; we point out that anyone who thinks such a thing is a fool. The second point is harder – and more important.

The world has been globalized for a long time. An Englishman in 1910 could sit in his parlor off St. James Park and drink tea that came all the way from Ceylon in cups that came all the way from China. Then, putting down his drink, he could pick up a Cuban cigar, put it to his lips…and perhaps sprinkle a few ashes on the carpet that he had bought in Egypt…or the leather boots he had ordered from a shop down the street that sold Italian goods. He could buy stocks in New York as easily as he could pick up oranges from Spain or the latest French novels to make their way across the channel.

But as Niall Ferguson points out in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, globalization is not without its disappointments. In 1910, England had been a great world power…and one of the world’s greatest economies…for two centuries. But global competition had recently edged the British out of the top spot. American GDP surpassed it at the turn of the century. Germany marched by a few years later. Relatively, England, that “weary Titan,” was in decline.

Still, why would the English complain? They lived well – perhaps better than anyone else. Even if they didn’t, they thought they did. The rest of the world was content too. People liked buying and selling. People in Europe liked globalization, because it brought them oranges in the wintertime. People in the warm latitudes liked it – now they had someone to sell their oranges to. Even then, people spoke of the “annihilation of distance,” and assumed that more miles would be destroyed in the years to come.

Globalization is nothing more than the extension of the division of labor across international boundaries. Our little village in France has the vestiges of a self-contained community. As recently as the end of WWII, almost everything people needed was produced right there. The farms grew wheat. Farmers raised vegetables…and cows…pigs…chickens. There was a machine shop…a forge…a woodworking atelier. There still remain the ‘Versailles’ boxes, in which lemon trees were planted. The boxes allowed the trees to be moved into heated space in the winter. Otherwise, they would freeze and die.

But as distance was annihilated, commerce in lemons was born. There was no longer any need to plant lemon trees in transportable wooden boxes when the lemons themselves could be shipped, quickly and cheaply, by the millions. One country can produce lemons. Another can produce machine gun cartridges.

Individuals…towns…enterprises…regions…can divide up the labor, work more efficiently, and produce more things at lower cost. Everyone involved gets a little richer.

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Apr 27 2005

Police Language Program up for National Award

The Advanced Language Program in Lexington– an effort that aids police officers in providing services to a growing Hispanic population — has been named one of 18 finalists for the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award.

The awards, often referred to as the “Oscars” of government, are given by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The Lexington program is eligible to win a $100,000 grand prize.

Lexington, like many other cities around the country, has experienced a significant increase in Spanish-speaking residents in recent years. The Advanced Language Program addresses the language barriers and the lack of cultural understanding of new residents for law enforcement officers.

The program involves two key components: language training and cultural immersion.

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Apr 27 2005

Filipino Band’s Success in Vietnam Suggests Nation’s Multicultural Ease

Published by under Global Culture

It may not be the height of cultural globalization, but it must be close – a Filipino trio of guitars and bass belting out 1960s Latin and pop tunes in perfect Spanish on a steamy tropical night in a communist Asian country on the hotel rooftop restaurant that was once the wartime haunt of U.S. officers, GIs and news correspondents.

Their names are Ludovico Mendoza, Raulico Pelaez and Constantino Cinco, and – after being spotted in a Manila hotel lounge by the general manager of the Saigon Prince Hotel – they have been plying their trade in Vietnam for the past 10 years.

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Apr 27 2005

This Tourney Seems Lost in Translation

Published by under Global Culture

When it comes to golf, 1.3 billion Chinese can’t be wrong, can they?

Well, mostly yeah, apparently.

The European Tour has five events scheduled in China this year, an attempt to bring the world’s most populous nation into the golfing fold, whether the residents are ready or not.

Last week at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing, overall attendance seemed fairly sparse, yet interruptions by camera-toting fans were plentiful and winner Adam Scott bravely fielded questions from the star-struck and confused media on issues that were downright comical.

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Apr 27 2005

Lost in (Russian) Translation

Published by under Global Culture

Some 45 years ago, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev paid his first visit to the United States. It was a turbulent encounter for both Khrushchev and Americans. Khrushchev scoffed at American economic prosperity, deplored Hollywood’s tastelessness, and predicted communism would bury capitalism. (Some prediction!)

Seeking to deflect criticism of Russia’s lack of freedoms, he was on the offensive. At a state dinner hosted by President Eisenhower, Khrushchev got into an exchange with Vice President Nixon about the US press, suggesting that it was a submissive handmaiden of the American government. Present in the room was the editor of The Christian Science Monitor, Erwin Canham. Pointing to Canham, Nixon explained that he couldn’t possibly control the editorial policy of the Monitor, Canham’s newspaper. Khrushchev responded dismissively: “I don’t believe you.”

In the Monitor
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Goal: educate world’s kids with $100 PCs
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Incredibly, almost half a century later, Russia’s current leader, Vladimir Putin, was as similarly defensive about Russia’s lack of media independence, and as similarly lacking in his understanding of American freedoms. At his meeting in Europe with President Bush earlier this year, President Putin argued that if the US press was so free, how come Mr. Bush had been able to get rid of Dan Rather and those other pesky CBS reporters? The Russian’s apparent belief that in the US, the president could fire reporters filled Bush and his staff with incredulity.

These two little anecdotes, more than four decades apart, underline a continuing lack of comprehension at high Russian levels of what democracy really means, and how it works.

It is a misunderstanding that bedevils the US-Russian relationship as Bush preaches the values of democracy, and Putin proclaims them but edges away from practicing them.

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Apr 26 2005

The Scoop on Sleep Presented in Survey

The United States is in the top 10 when it comes to getting little sleep, with 19 percent of the population logging 6 hours or less during the week. That’s among findings of a new study of sleep habits conducted by ACNielsen.

The study, which looked beyond the United States, found this country is a nation of night owls and early birds. More than a third of U.S. adults go to bed after midnight during the week, while nearly the same number are out of bed by 6 a.m.

“The Internet, laptop computers, PDAs, cell phones, and ever-rising expectations about what one can get done in a day have created a 24/7 global culture,” stated ACNielsen spokesman Tom Markert.

The research organization cited National Institutes of Health estimates that some 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. The survey was conducted over the Internet in 28 global markets and involved more than 14,000 adults.

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Apr 25 2005

New Pope Says Thanks, Overlooks Hispanic Faithful

Published by under Global Culture

Although the pontiff is said to have excellent foreign-language skills, the absence of any comments in Spanish perplexed reporters and photographers who were granted access to the new pope’s first public address.

To the bewilderment of journalists from Latin America, where most of the world’s Catholics live; he neglected to say any words in Spanish.

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Talk about pressure! Not only is the new Pope expected to speak multiple languages, but he’s also expected to remember to use them when he makes public addresses.

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