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  • Writer's pictureDave Taylor

Start with Cultural Awareness

Updated: Aug 16, 2019

So you are considering pursuing an international partnership and eventually a larger international development project. Your organization has proven itself through experience and successful results at your home institution and leveraging that experience into international applications is a strategic focus.

Whether you are considering developing an academic partnership with an established foreign college within a healthy economic environment, or looking to become involved in a funded international project in a developing country with less established stakeholders, the need to gain cultural awareness is at the foundation of any potential success.

Each of the stakeholders, yourself included, will be initially assessing all aspects of the various interactions within their own cultural and social frame of reference. How will success be measured? Understanding the common ways of doing business, acceptable social interactions, local customs and laws, and of course... the perception of gender roles within your respective societies.

You will need to first take the time to gain awareness and understanding, so that a shared appreciation for respective cultural norms may be established. Whether you are traveling to their home country, or you are welcoming a different culture to your country, a mutual understanding will need to be established as a basis for respect, trust, and productive rapport.

Positive human dynamics will impact your day to day, as well as the long term success of your international endeavor. Consideration of social and political influences, available resources, human resource capacities, the role of government … and most of all… cultural elements that will impact your ability to communicate, interact, and gain understanding and cooperation for your tasks ahead and your ability to successfully meet expectations and realize deliverables.

Start with cultural understanding so that your interactions build stakeholder rapport, trust and confidence. Without that, your ability to achieve success within your international activity will be seriously disadvantaged.

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