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Featured Global Conversations

​In Spring 2022, the 5th round of Global Conversations invited faculty members to incorporate Dr. Darla Deardorff’s Intercultural Competence Model, as a framework for developing their sessions. Many sessions intentionally incorporated this framework into their session plan. Additionally, the Global Conversations are starting to evolve to include topics about life post pandemic. Here we feature two successful sessions: Sharing Stories of Heritage to Develop Intercultural Competencies, and The Jobs of Tomorrow in a post-COVID World: What skills you need to develop to succeed.

Sharing Stories of Heritage to Develop Intercultural Competencies
Co-facilitated by Tom Fast from Notre Dame Seishin University in Japan, Jan Krimphove from Centro Universitário Christus in Brazil, Lourdes Zilberberg from Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado in Brazil, and Khaled Keshk from DePaul University, Sharing Stories of Heritage to Develop Intercultural Competencies utilized a UNESCO sponsored method called Story Circles. Story Circles are structured sessions that can be adapted to a variety of situations for participants to actively listen to and learn from the experiences of others. The intention is to build “tolerance, empathy, critical thinking and listening for understanding” (UNESCO, 2020). In this particular session, participants focused on cultural heritage and shared tangible and intangible facets of their respective cultures. The participants came from Japan, Brazil, France, Argentina, Nigeria and the US. After spending intentional time in breakout rooms listening to the stories of their fellow participants, they came back to the main room and reported that while they expressed different ideas, they also found similarities across the countries represented. They agreed that it is important to preserve cultural heritage, but that the cultural items deemed important for preservation were different across cultures. For example, some Brazilian students noted the importance of preserving nature, given the endangerment of the Amazon forest, while a student from Japan noted the need to preserve humanity and historical artifacts given the destruction caused by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. The goal to learn from the “other” was accomplished as they shared facts; listened, observed and interpreted. However, they also strengthened other intercultural competence skills such as flexibility and sharing, as was demonstrated by one student in particular noting that they were going to be brave and talk even though they were shy. 

The Jobs of Tomorrow in a post-COVID World: What skills you need to develop to succeed
Navigating the job market has its many challenges but most especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Attending a Global Conversation centered around the future of jobs, particularly in a Post-COVID world, was timely. The topic was discussed in three ways: We first looked at the skills that would be most important or grow in demand; we then looked at current jobs that may be replaced or made obsolete by new technology; and we looked at jobs that have been created or could be more pertinent in the near future.

There were many views discussed regarding the skills that will be needed but the overall consensus reached is that some skills may be critical to have and be just as important as other main skills (i.e. Technical Skills). No skill can be done away with but more soft skills will be key to working efficiently in certain environments and positions. One main example of this was emotional intelligence. In a world where we are mostly in the business of people, it is only beneficial to train the mind to become more aware of one’s self and those they are working with. “Curiosity is still a great asset: it opens you up to keep learning!” is what one of the participants stated. 

Regarding future jobs, one point of view stated that jobs will not become obsolete but may be completely automated and not require human labor. Such would be beneficial in dangerous or toxic work environments like mines or radioactive areas still being used for research. Another way we can look at this is how certain software or technology have made small but crucial tasks easier to complete. In a similar way, as we continue to make advances in technology, such tools will continue to be implemented at a larger scale. 

The human touch is still needed. Not all jobs can be replaced by technology because in some cases, the ‘AI’ still needs to be monitored or controlled. In areas such as healthcare, there is a lot of technology and tools that are used but the doctors, nurses and other staff are still required. 

Job search methods continue to develop. From looking in newspapers only, to searching on online platforms and networking. “Sometimes we also have to unlearn things that we subconsciously use as guidelines or "rules" in the opportunities we seek or think we deserve”, is what another participant stated. This was in response to a question about how one can be confident in the jobs they apply for or the careers they want to pursue. 

The next round of Global Conversations will be in the Fall Quarter, October 3-14, 2022. You can also take a look at previous Global Conversation topics here.