There are many good sources that look at the roots of the conflict in Syria. Here are a few:
The situation is Egypt is discouraging for democratic ideals and the violence is disturbing. Not even addressing the problem of the military coup and the illegality of removing an elected president (and the US and other foreign governments’ approval/disapproval/complicity), from an intercultural perspective it is an example of how differences between groups can result in societal and governmental conflict. However, we can also use this case with students to demonstrate the different ways that reality is constructed and the role of the media in that process. Much of the coverage in outside of Egypt has focused on one version of reality, but there are opportunities for us to find alternative perspectives, thanks to technology. As this situation continues to evolve, the difficulty of ongoing, generational cultural conflict becomes clearer. While not unique to Egypt, this certainly can be used to demonstrate and try to understand a bit of the complexity of culture, politics, power, and identity.
“In this Found in Translation Session, Pico leads a discussion on whether foreignness exists. The tension between expanded technology, more interaction, more mixing of languages, and the concept that finding places that are truly foreign is getting more and more difficult. But is the world growing homogeneously or is it in fact as full of foreignness and distance as it ever was? The translators offer a unique position as their work with TED Talks helps to preserve or revive languages and culture that have been threatened by politics or demographics.”
Where are you from? What does it mean to be “from” somewhere… does that refer to your heritage, your legal status, where you spend your time, or your heart? This is a wonderful talk by writer Pico Iyer.
- Where is Home? (mllecocoschannel.com)
- Pico Iyer: Where is home? (cyphteo.wordpress.com)
- Standing Still – Pico Iyer (becomingtabitha.com)
As I post this, closing arguments are underway in the George Zimmerman trial, a case that is wrapped in issues of identity, stereotyping, perceptions, justice, and race. As we examine Trayvon’s death and George’s trial (and all the related media and framing), this piece, written shortly after Trayvon’s death by my friend Andy Johnson, provides an opportunity for reflection.
Living outside your own culture provides many benefits and learning opportunities, but also some challenges when you return home. This BBC article describes the challenges and makes some good suggestions for coping with them.
This post was written by my former student, Lisa Zenno. She describes her experience living in many countries as she grew up and how this influences her today!
Americans are taught that more choice is better, but not all cultures are the same. Sheena Iyengar studies choices and ideas about them cross culturally, encouraging listeners to question their own assumptions.