top10_woty2014_cultureHow very wonderful is this?! 2014 is my 35th anniversary working in the intercultural field, and we finally make it to number one! Merriam Webster has just named “culture” the word of the year for 2014.

“Traffic throughout the year indicates that culture is a ‘chameleon. When you put it next to another word it means something very different. For example, `consumer culture’ or `rape culture,’ which we’ve been reading about lately.

There’s the ‘culture of transparency’ in government and business, and ‘celebrity culture,’ and the ‘culture of winning’ in sports. It’s a word that can be very specific, like `test prep culture,’ or it can be very, very broad, like `coffee culture.'”
—Peter Sokolowski, Merriam Webster editor-at-large

Read all about how and why Merriam Webster dictionary named “culture” the word of the year for 2014.


from Forbes:Jessica

Screen shot from,
©Jessica Hagy: 40 Things to Say Before You Die

I was not familiar with Jessica Hagy before I read this post — 40 Things to Say Before You Die. Read it; you’ll enjoy it. I believe it will remind you of many of the important things in life.

Why am I posting it on the Cultural Detective blog?

  1. Though not intentionally cross-cultural, I believe you’ll agree that the skills, attitudes, mindsets and practices Jessica illustrates in her post all very much apply to cross-cultural interaction. They are core concepts that help us strengthen our intercultural competence.
  2. It is a rarity in life when someone is able to communicate the complex simply, clearly, and powerfully, without “dumbing it down,” while retaining its core essence. It is oh-so-much easier to write long tomes; capturing the main points without sacrificing the larger context, that’s something else entirely. I believe Jessica does this with her drawings. And you tell me, repeatedly, how the Cultural Detective process does that in your organizations.

Evidently Jessica is very well known, and I’m just late to the party. Such a joy to be late in arriving yet to arrive on time!

Please let me know if you enjoy these sorts of re-posts, and how you feel this applies to intercultural competence. Thanks!


words-of-the-year_0Eight Words of the Year from Other Countries

Great, short, fun, informative re-post. Thank you, Mental Floss!

Which words do you know? Which ones would you add?


The latest update on my Middle Eastern travels has been published in the Jerusalem Post. I hope you’ll let me know what you think!


This article by Vijay Nagaswami, “Culture vs. culture,” was sent to us via the marvelous Cultural Detective certified facilitator and current SIETAR India President, Sunita Nichani. She says, “Here is an interesting article published this Sunday in one of India’s leading newspapers, The Hindu. With the slow erosion of the custom of marrying within similar communities in India, intercultural competence will be vital for making marriages work.”

Lots of work to do in this world, in so many ways and places. Let’s get started, everyone!


For those of you who just love our Cultural Detective Deaf Culture co-author Anna Mindess‘ food blog, here’s another delightful post….

The East Bay Eats

Thy Tran
Thy Tran in shirt designed by her husband

I’m freaking out. The layered pandan rice cake–for which I so carefully poured 6 alternating colored layers–is totally stuck to the pan. No worries. Thy Tran, instructor of this Steamed Asian Sweets class at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, calmly comes to my rescue, directing me to put the cake in the frig for a quick cool-down, after which it effortlessly peels out of the pan.

pandan layered rice cake
Pandan layered rice cake

After months of hearing about the wonderful range of Asian Cooking classes at OACC, I finally make it here for a four-hour class in their Oakland Chinatown kitchen. Sadly, it turns out this is the last class in a series entitled Cooking with the Senses, Fundamentals of Asian Food.

Previous classes centered on handmade noodles, flatbreads and crepes, wok cookery, fearless frying, all taught by noted chef, author, educator (and…

View original post 1,351 more words


Interesting article in Diversity Executive magazine about product naming problems in the global market, some good examples, and a link to an article on the value of intercultural competence.

Kudos to all our interpretation and translation colleagues!

What are you favorite “Cultural DeFective” examples? And your strategies for preventing them?


Kevin and Rita Booker, very active Cultural Detective community members and extremely talented professionals, have put together a series of three articles on using film in intercultural education that I think you will find very helpful. If you use movie clips or YouTube videos in your coaching, training or teaching, or if you want to do that more, be sure to take a look. Lots of learning there.

By the way, if you love film, be sure to check out CDTV, our Cultural Detective channel on YouTube, with over 20 playlists. We welcome your recommendations (urls) on videos to add. Together we can build a convenient central repository of films to use to help our world become a more inclusive and collaborative place!


Cultural Detective Training Opportunity in New York City! |.


I have been waiting for someone to speak in an even-handed way to the pros and cons of the KONY 2012 video, which so many of us have had to respond to with a complex mix of feelings. Thank you, Liz Grover, for passing this on to us. Thank you, Laura Peterson, for taking the time to sort through your heart and your experiences and share your thoughts with us: Kony 2012 – My 2 Cents | Hands to Hearts.