Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Student Spotlight- Gregory Miller

 IIC Student Spotlight

Gregory Miller

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1) What undergraduate college did you attend? Where?

University of Colorado, Boulder

2) What was your undergraduate focus?

History (European/Cold War), and Music (Percussion)

3) How did you become interested in the IIC Program?

I currently work with a number of DU alum, one of which was part of the IIC program. After the suggestion to check the program out, I was drawn to the flexibility in the degree program as well as a new approach to working within an international context. The focus on the methods and content of the way we communicate across cultures offered what I considered to be a practical approach to better understanding the issues related to globalization.

4) What is your favorite place where you've traveled/lived so far?

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia. The connections with the community members and my adoptive family made my experiences there by far the most interesting place to live.

5) Do you have a dream job? What?

I don’t necessarily have a dream job, but maybe a line of work. I want to work in support of local voices gaining footing in discourse around development and human rights.

6) What is your favorite part about the IIC program thus far (i.e. favorite class)?

My favorite class has been Culture, Gender, and Global Communication. Weekly panels including groups able to discuss a variety of issues add real-life context to the discussion.

7) Anything else you would like to share?

The IIC program offers a great opportunity to study a variety of subjects, both within the field of Communication and International Studies, and provides context to the theoretical applications that we study.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Festival of Nations Recap


(From left to right: Jessica Murison, Michael Dabbs, and Xiaoyi Zhu)

This weekend, the IIC department participated in DU's annual Festival of Nations.  This free (and family friendly) event supports the diverse cultures and experiences of the DU community and supports cultural exchanges through music, art, dance, food, and informational displays.  The IIC department showed its support via an educational display about the IIC program and shared some of its students' travel experiences with a slideshow of photos.  DU students and community members were able to come to the table to learn about the program and ask any questions they had about IIC.  The table sat three volunteers who are all IIC students: Xiaoyi Zhu, Jessica Murison, and our newest IIC student, Michael Dabbs.  The volunteers represented the IIC department in a buoyant, amiable, and intelligent fashion.  

Thank you to Xiaoyi, Jessica, and Michael for all of your hard work.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Should we "Ban Bossy"?

Should we "Ban Bossy"?- Chelsi Hudson

The Title of this Huffington Post article, "When A Boy Asserts Himself, He's a Leader, When A Girl Does, She's Bossy," is much like the controversial Suave campaign that we watched in class. The difference being instead of featuring beautiful, impeccably dressed models posing as professional business women (the majority of whom are white), it is focused on young girls from varied ethnic and racial backgrounds. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/11/ban-bossy-video_n_4937367.html
This topic is always one of interest for me. Undoubtedly because I grew up being stereotyped in this way, and in some ways, continue to be so in my adult life. These amazing girls posit the very real effects, as well as possible future ones that will result from societies continued acceptance of the gender hierarchy that assigns specific personality traits as acceptable or unacceptable according to gender. One girl says, "Here is where I will not lead the defense of a groundbreaking case." Another says," Here is where I wont ask the questions that change the conversation," and another, "Here is where I will doubt myself," "Here is where I will stop raising my hand," "Here is where I will start being interrupted."  In First Impressions of Sarah Palin  (D. Harp, et al) reference the Gender schema theory as to why this is.
Gender schema theory emphasizes the dominant role of gender in not only grasping but also processing knowledge and beliefs and guiding behavior in a given culture (Steinke, 1998). Bem’s gender schema theory explains how girls and boys exposed to cultural definitions of maleness and femaleness—embedded in discourse and social practices—will identify with them. 
Because it is embedded in our knowledge that men have historically been the decision makers, the leaders, we have accepted that certain behaviors are associated and justified by this fact. And because women are not associated with this image in our minds, they experience an inverse reaction. While men are assertive, driven, hardworking, and motivated, women are pushy, aggressive, know-it-all, and bossy. So who cares about what people think of you, ladies? Who cares that they call you these names behind your back and attribute your drive or success to negative assumptions of who you are? After all, gossip and judgement are specifically female traits anyway, right? Wrong.
As these girls point out, this male/female, masculine/feminine associations guide their behavior, and determine social practices. Because girls listen to and are aware of the value of masculinity over femininity, but only when appropriated by men, it affects their behavior, their identity, their beliefs about the world.
This video calls for the banning of the word bossy, which is a bit impractical, but warranted all the same. You never hear a guy being referred to as bossy. It is a very gender specific word. Maybe if it was (banned), young girls would not stop raising their hands, asking the questions, and refuse interruptions. Maybe not using that word, and others like it, could have a drastic impact on female self esteem. Maybe, just maybe, it would begin to question the hierarchy that exists, and work to start leveling the playing field

Monday, March 3, 2014

Intercultural PR-Cultural Sensitivity in the Health Industry

Cultural Sensitivity in the Health Industry- Yessenia Cano

In class today we discussed the importance of cultural sensitivity and awareness in the health industry of a country, specifically the United States. M.D. Chen’s article talked about a Chinese family that suffered generations of liver cancer and how it was the children of the parents who started digging for information and trying to learn about different treatments for their liver cancer. The article went on to talk about the complications cultural insensitivity can cause with someone’s health because the doctor is unaware of how to interact with this person with a different background and they don’t realize something is wrong (Chen, 2009).
This reminded me of my personal experiences with doctors in the U.S. and how some were completely insensitive to my culture and made assumptions without trying to get to know me. For example, I was raised in a conservative religious Mexican family, and so I was extremely shy when getting a physical or talking about personal issues with the doctor. Because of this the doctor assumed there was something mentally wrong with me and I was required to go to counseling. Many of my family members don’t speak honestly with their health care providers because they either can’t speak English well or they don’t trust this person. It was an interesting debate in class, whether doctors and hospitals should learn to adapt to these different cultures or does the individual have to adapt and accept the western health practices? It should be a balance of both, but this is just another example of the importance of intercultural communication and learning how to be open and sensitive to those that are different from what we are used to.

M.D. Chen, W. Pauline. (16 July 2009). Bridging the Culture Gap. The New York Times. Retrieved on 24 February 2014 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/health/16chen.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all

Intercultural PR- Every Voice Makes a Difference

Every Voice Makes a Difference- Yessenia Cano
Requena’s article analyzed Transparencia, an independent organization seeking to report the truth in politics in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Peru. I felt that the article showed the importance of letting your voice be heard and not assuming that just because you are part of the minority you cannot make a difference. Politics were very corrupt in Peru, and the president at the time, Fujimori, was rejoicing in the moment and planning to run again for presidency. Through bribery, Fujimori influenced all major media sources in the country to always report him in a favorable light, and so Peru’s citizens were robbed of knowing the real situation. In 1996 Transparencia was created by ever day Peruvians with the mission to spread the truth of the situation to all regions of Peru and make sure that journalists received the hard facts and people could begin to see the corruption of Fujimori. They published a paper called Datos Electorales where they publicized accurate information regarding the elections and such, and with time Transparencia was able to establish itself as a neutral trusting organization that people relied on, and was a key player in Fujimori’s downfall (Requena, 2008). This was a good article in showing that anybody can make a difference in communications, you don’t have to be in a position of power to be heard or to change life for good. Granted it takes a great effort and work, but if a neutral organization was able to help in overthrowing a corrupt president, than anything can be possible!

Requena, Carlos Jose. (2008). Transparencia: The Importance of Neutrality Providing Objective Information in a Difficult Political Situation. The Institute for Public Relations. 163 – 180.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Intercultural PR- Do I Really Know What I Want To Do?

Do I Really Know What I Want to do?
Jen Murphy

I came to Denver shortly after spending a school year teaching English at a private school in Nablus, Palestine. I liked the idea of international education programs, but especially the idea of being the director of my own study abroad program. I studied abroad in Cork, Ireland, during my undergrad days and absolutely loved it. When I came to DU I was sure that this was what I wanted to focus on. And then, well, it got a little fuzzy.
My first month here I was working full-time as a graduate student assistant for the University of Denver Publishing Institute. Classes weren’t in session yet, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to work and explore Denver, as part of my job duties were running errands and serving as a chauffeur to guest lecturers from across the U.S.  I loved working with these graduate certificate students and I loved working with people from all different areas of the industry, including editors, independent publishers, literary agents, among many others. I started thinking, wait, is this what I want to do?
When the full time part of the job ended, I picked up another job at the DU library working in the Stacks department. When I wasn’t at the Publishing Institute office I was pulling books for patrons, re-shelving them, and completing other tasks involved in the upkeep of the library. Then I thought, well I loved volunteering at my local library before I joined the Peace Corps, am I better fit to be a librarian? I do love to read…
Once school started I had less time to ponder such questions, as I was working these two jobs on campus, as well as taking two classes per quarter. While two classes doesn’t sound like a lot to an undergrad, in grad school two classes is full-time and kept me busy. I was taking one of the required classes for the program, International Communication, and a course called Strategic Management of Communication Campaigns. Through this course in strategic communications I learned more about the public relations profession, as well as what it is like to work with a local NGO with international programs. Does this mean that I should get into nonprofit management?
This quarter I am taking two classes in communications: Foundations in International and Intercultural Communication and International and Intercultural Public Relations, as well as a class in International Project Analysis at the Korbel School of International Studies. I have realized this quarter that I could work in the publishing industry, or in a library, or in the PR or nonprofit sector. The most important thing for me is realizing which parts of these different career options I like and don’t like, and hopefully I will find something that combines most of them. Who knows, I could end up working as a library consultant for a nonprofit organization in the Middle East or West Africa. I do know I want to work abroad, my time in the Peace Corps and teaching in Nablus taught me that. Now I have two more quarters to fine tune my future plans.

Intercultural PR- Sports in Intercultural Communication

The Importance of Sports in Intercultural Communication
Jen Murphy

Any person who has ever spoken with me, even for a few minutes, knows one thing: I have a mild obsession with sports. The use of the word mild is to make myself feel better. I am obsessed. Talk to me after a loss of my favorite baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, especially in the fifth game of the playoffs to the Detroit Tigers AGAIN, and you will begin to understand why my roommate avoids talking to me after such losses. Now, why would I bring this conversation into a discussion about intercultural communication or intercultural PR? Because a major avenue for discussion among and between groups who often don’t speak the same language is sports.
I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I used this event to bond with members of my community by going to the recreation center and other sports cafes around town to watch these games with them. Even if we weren’t rooting for the same teams, as I was rooting for the U.S against Ghana, we still could enjoy watching them together. Ultimately, the U.S. did lose to Ghana, but I continued to go to local establishments to watch with my community members. It was a way to show them that we had this one thing in common, our love for football, and it also helped build my credibility with the youth in my town who saw me watching the games.
The World Cup and the Olympic Games are both international sporting events that are about sports, yes, but often include a high level of public diplomacy. This quarter, in the Intercultural PR class, we have discussed the Sochi Olympics nearly every day. We have discussed the national branding that has gone into promoting the games, how Vladimir Putin has presented himself and responded to the storm of public and media attention when he passed anti-gay laws prior to the Olympics, as well as looked at what different media outlets have focused on. The U.S. media has mainly focused on the problems in Sochi, including human rights issues and infrastructure issues, and has used it as more of a way to show how Russia still isn’t in the same league as the U.S.
I haven’t been watching these games consistently, and actually have only watched a few of the hundreds of hours of coverage for various reasons. One reason I haven’t watched as much of the coverage as in previous years, is that these games seem to be much more about the political and social issues in Russia and less about the actual events. Sports should be an avenue to spark friendly competition and a place to talk about something that brings people together, not tear them apart. Don’t get me wrong, I was just as upset as the next person when the U.S. women’s hockey team lost in overtime, after leading 2-0 with less than four minutes left. However, that game will not likely be what remains in the public consciousness. Instead the face of these games is Vladimir Putin, and not the events or athletes themselves.