Each time we convene a new JASSPr class in the city of Jahra, Kuwait, the girls sit at the back of the room while the boys take their place at the front of the room. The first time I saw this, I felt offended on behalf of the girls. I wondered who told them they must sit at the back of the class? Is it an explicit order or implicit habit? More important, what could I do about it? Should I do anything about it? Their culture is about protecting the girls. When is protection oppression? Continue reading A Middle East Angle on Diversity Part 1: When is protection oppression? – by Dana Winner→
In April 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report. The report was probably prompted by several year’s ago Canadian report on First Peoples boarding schools, and by the appointment of the first Native American Secretary of the Interior. The Canadian report was issues by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in 2015.
The U.S. report has much interesting information on cultural eradication. Native American children were forced from their families and into schools that were little better than prisons, beginning in the early years of the American Republic. Esteemed Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin expressed anti-Indian beliefs. Interestingly, these sentiments were sometimes expressed in confidential memos to Congress, as if it was known even then that the actions were morally reprehensible.
(originally published in 2019 – more relevant than ever!)
I periodically become a target of all-around questioning just because originally—more than 25 years ago—I came to the US from Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar. Of course, this gives me the leverage to deeper understand what’s going on there, and why. But I do not hold a magic ball that predicts what the future holds in a largely unpredictable country – and even more unpredictable America under the current government. So, let me just answer some of these questions and clarify my positioning.Continue reading Ukraine Makes the Headlines, Again – by Dr. Fiona Citkin→
In my leisure wellness book (and workshop) Serious Play I shared my observation that too many people forget how to play. And to drive the point home I shared my personal motto Play Now or Pay Later. Toys enrich our experience across a lifetime. I also believe that if you want to measure a person, look at the “toys” they collect. One toy I dearly treasure is the Magic 8-Ball and now I see its relevance expanded to 17 digits.
The notion that everyone has a unique magic 17-digit number associated with their being came from last night’s early-autumn dream. Perhaps this was in anticipation of the toy-giving season looming just ahead. The dream did not explain how the 17-digit number was generated. It does appear, though, to have been based on the original 8-Ball fortune-telling toy, originally designed by Albert C. Carter and Abe Bookman in 1946 for the Mattel toy company. Back then, the popular 8-Ball toy supposedly possessed clairvoyant powers. Owners used it like a personal crystal ball. In that long ago holiday season it became a fad, a must-have toy for children 7 to 70.
The Arts have existed since folks drew on cave walls and I suspect that there was some humming and harmony back in the day before song writing was a thing. Communal dancing around fires at night was an aboriginal celebration in humanity’s history. Artistic expression by individuals and groups seems to be embedded in our DNA. And one of the things that saved me when I first came to America as a kid, was this country’s passion for Arts and Culture.
The words “diversity” and “inclusion” are big buzz words in today’s society, and they should be as they are very relevant and important in today’s times. But although these words are often thrown around, it is important for us to think critically about what they mean. And to assess their impact on business and society as a whole.
Many large companies are hiring for diversity in race and gender, amongst several other categories. But why, so often, is culture left out of the equation? Should it be? Definitely not. And here’s why.
Music moves, heals, and inspires us.
Enjoy this beautiful New Year’s song by a wonderfully creative group of artists.
Many thanks to the writer/producer of this song, Michael A. Levine, who also composed for: science fiction series Siren on Freeform, for George Lucas-produced Star Wars Detours animated parody, and for Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS dramas Cold Case and Close To Home for which he received 8 ASCAP awards. He scored films: Landfill Harmonic & The Makeover, and wrote the theme song for Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and closing credits song, Running, sung by Roberta Flack for the documentary feature 3100: Run and Become.
Levine produced, with Michael Wolff, the songs for the Nickelodeon TV preteen comedy series, The Naked Brothers Band. Levine also wrote “Gimme a Break”, the Kit Kat jingle, named one of the 12 greatest jingles by MSN in 2013.
Levine was also a Governor of the music branch of the Television Academy (Emmys).
Do you recall the first time you stepped into an international business reception at a major hotel and found yourself amidst a sea of Asian faces? If so, you may also have noticed a diversity of Asian cultures and conversations in some incomprehensible languages: Cantonese Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and perhaps others. If you have been put off when people in your presence have spoken a language other than English, you are not alone.
Our world is burning up from within. We need action – now – to lower the earth’s temperature, to stop mass incarceration , child abuse, and human trafficking. And what about self-harm and self-hate? Why does our own spirit twist against us so violently?
Searching for more answers – or at least some deeper insights – I turned to the lives of three people burned by hate, and burning with love. The first is Vietnamese monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh.
Editor’s Note: February commemorates and celebrates American history and culture.Here are two aspects of this month in the words of one of the best speakers and communication coaches in the country, Vincent Ivan Phipps.
Why is Black History Month in February?
Thank the ASNLH, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History!In 1916 an American historian, Carter G. Woodson, began editing this organization’s primary scholarly publication called the Journal of Negro History. In 1924, as a member of the historically Black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Woodson used the platform of his fraternity to introduce Negro History and Literature Week.In 1926, Woodson and the ASNLH inaugurated Negro history week in February 1926 which eventually parlayed into National Negro Month or to what it is called today, Black History Month.