Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cultural Intelligence

Having spent 17 years outside my home country, I well remember what it was like when groups from the US would come on short term missions or service projects. I also still wince to this day as I remember that it is actually possible for these teams do more harm than good. That is, if they have not been properly trained and oriented to the host culture which they are supposedly coming to serve.
This is why I'm glad to see the new book by David A. Livermore, Serving With Eyes Wide Open. Written particularly with short-term missions teams in mind, I believe this book would benefit anyone seeking to be of service in a foreign culture -- frankly, it probably would not hurt tourists to read it! Let's face it -- we're all ethnocentric to some extent, which is normal to a degree. But cultural intelligence means identifying our areas of ethnocentricity, learning to appreciate the beauties and strengths of the host culture, and going, above all, as a learner.

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