The Power of Words in Intercultural Encounters
International Workshop, Iași, April 27-28
Last year’s workshop approached the role of intercultural encounters in the contemporary world and in rediscovering what it means to be human by discussing the complex role played by artefacts in producing or facilitating such encounters. The workshop this year aims to explore the role of words in the dynamics of intercultural encounters.
Intercultural encounters are complex events involving what it means to be human in its entirety, including our perceptions, interpretations and representations, as shaped by and expressed in our languages. It is within and through language that we formulate the encounter with the cultural other, and on such occasions language can function as a bridge or a barrier. Words, as projections of a culture within its own horizon, are powerful instruments with multiple facets and the extent to which the meaning(s) of certain words can reach beyond that horizon determines the dimensions of intercultural encounters. Words can commnicate more or less, increase or eliminate distance, enhance or reduce difference. Cultures usually seek to translate themselves for the other to understand and tend to identify with certain words that remain untranslatable. Hence the power of words in intercultural encounters derives from their their potential to express and create shared meaning.
This workshop proposes an investigation from different, intercultural and interdisciplinary, perspectives of scenarios where words reveal their power in facilitating or hindering intercultural encounters. It aims to evaluate how encounters in and through words can contribute to our re-learning to be human for global times and possibly for a global language.
The workshop will consist of a series of discussions and case studies, to be announced. Please send in your expression of interest by April 20.
This is our activity report for 2017, thank you all for your great contributions!
We look forward to consolidating and enhancing our project in 2018.
A fundamental part of the RVP Iasi project is to investigate the dynamics and significance of intercultural encounters and their role in our re-learning to be human.
Considering the global scope of the project members, we are planning a special volume to emphasize and provide a perspective on the diversity of opinions and experiences.
The investigation will start from a series of questions on the preparation, development and results of intercultural encounters, which the project members are invited to answer.
The questions and answers will make up a volume intended to provide a dialogic overview of our intercultural experiences, to be published in 2018.
First series of questions:
1. What does it mean to be prepared for an intercultural encounter?
2. How would you define a cultural border? What intercultural barriers have you encountered?
3. Which are the space and time coordinates of intercultural encounters? How does the place (one’s own, neutral or virtual) and the time (moment, length) influence the development of such encounters?
4. What can an intercultural encounter produce? What are its effects, from your experience?
5. How do intercultural encounters change the understanding of one’s own culture? Did they affect your view of what it means to be human?
6. What do you expect from intercultural encounters? What did you learn?
The map below illustrates the global network of RVP Iasi Center, built in the development of the project Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times: The Role of Intercultural Encounters.
The intercultural encounters engendered by the project this year, both in the online environment and in several offline meetings and events, are part of a rewarding process of mutual discovery. By bringing diverse people together in free dialogue, the project is reshaping the world(s) we live in through reflection and action.
May we learn further!
Today’s Saint Andrew celebration brings forth a meditation on the unifying message of religion and spirituality. The founder and first bishop of the church of Byzantium, Andrew is the patron of several cities and countries, including Romania.
In Romania, the Christian holiday of St. Andrew overlaps a traditional celebration associated with wolves and winter, when it is believed that animals can speak and the sky opens at midnight.
This is one example of syncretism leading to a popular contemporary holiday that blends in ancient beliefs and practices. More such examples and comments are invited.
The International Conference of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy is brought to Iasi by RVP Iasi Center on October 27-28.
Under the topic Re-Learning to be Human for Global Times, this CRVP conference will discuss How Intercultural Encounters (Re)Shape the Contemporary World.