tag archive: conferences

Resilience Narratives Key to Resilient Systems

The 2013 World Economic Forum Conference that began today in Davos is dedicated this year to resilient dynamism. As Arianna Huffington noted earlier in the day, the key concept that gives rise to the need for resilience is our global interconnectedness. Quoting Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, she cites five attributes that resilient systems characteristically share:

  •  Spare capacity
  • Flexibility — the ability to change, evolve, and adapt in the face of disaster.
  • Limited or “safe” failure, which prevents failures from rippling across systems.
  • Rapid rebound — the capacity to reestablish function and avoid long-term disruptions.
  • Constant learning, with robust feedback loops.

Huffington adds a sixth, “the will to want to be resilient.”

To that list, I feel we must add a seventh requirement for the present and future, Resilience Narratives: stories that will help disparate and potentially adversarial players see themselves as active participants in collaborative futures. Continue reading

Posted in: Conferences, Crisis Management, Decision making, Intercultural Communication, International Politics, Politics and Policy, Strategic Communication, Strategic Leadership Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Narrative for Survival: My Grandmother’s Story

Stories can save lives. In One Thousand and One Nights, Sheherezade uses her storytelling talents to end King Shahrayr’s plot to punish his unfaithful wife by punishing all of the women of his kingdom.  Having put to death the unfaithful Queen herself, the King embarks on a plan to marry a virgin of the Kingdom each night, and to have each killed at dawn.  That is, until he marries Sheherezade, who spends her wedding night narrating to the King a most exciting and suspenseful tale. So exciting that the King puts off her death to hear how the story continues. And so their story continues for a thousand and one nights, after which the King abandons his goal to punish women, and marries Sheherezade.

My grandmother may not have had a thousand stories, but she had at least one, and telling it to an American Consul in 1939 saved her life and that of her husband and baby, when it permitted her to leave warring Europe on one of the last ships to cross the Atlantic. I had the opportunity to tell it at a local TedX event earlier this year, and was delighted when TEDx organizers chose it as one of their favorites.  I’d love to hear about other stories that have saved lives, if you have one you’d like to share.

Posted in: Books & Films, Intercultural Communication, International Politics, Narrative forms, Politics and Policy, Popular Culture, War and Violent Conflict Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

SIETAR Conference on Intercultural Communication Begins Today in Denver

The Eleventh Annual Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (SIETAR) Conference begins today in Denver. This year’s conference is dedicated to the topic of “Risk and Resilience in an Intercultural World.”   In crisis, or other adverse circumstances, reaching across cultural borders can appear to be unduly risky, and it is resilience—the ability to recover from adversity—that must be cultivated if we are to remain engaged with others

SIETAR is a membership organization with satellite groups throughout the United States and abroad. Founded in 1974, the organization was created:

To provide a forum for exchanging ideas about training, theory, and research, and to learn from each other as well as to provide a place where interculturalists could strengthen their bonds with each other. They envisioned an exchange between people in different disciplines and professional activity that would strengthen the theoretical development and practice of intercultural communication.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Todd Conklin, Dr. William Cross and Dr. Pari Namazie.  Conklin is a specialist in human error and safety at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the other of an upbeat book on Simple Revolutionary Acts to make ourselves more engaged, happier workers. Cross heads the Social-Personality Psychology subprogram at the City University of New York Graduate Center.  Cross is well known for his work on African-American identity,  and particularly for his 1991 book Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity Namazie works in the field of international human relations management and intercultural management. She is the managing director Atieh International, a strategy, HR and training company focusing on developing business opportunities between the Middle East and Europe.

Posted in: Conferences, Crisis Management, Intercultural Communication Tags: , , , , ,