Tag Archives | cultural awareness

Diary of a Syrian Refugee

When my wife Becky and I were in Europe last summer, we followed the story of a number of the refugees we met in Greece, to Germany, where many of them had loved ones waiting for them. One of these was a young Syrian woman, who is engaged to a young man we befriended in […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

The Happiest Nation on Earth

The country of Denmark has topped the World Happiness Report every year except one since 2012. While we could debate about what kinds of definitions and metrics are used to measure something as intangible as happiness, it is nonetheless a noteworthy distinction. So what makes Danes so happy? This is one of several questions we put […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

A Lesson Learned on Bias

Many years ago in Switzerland I had a voice student named Catherine. Catherine taught me something I’ve never forgotten, although it will take me a lifetime to fully put it into practice. A little background: as you may know, Switzerland is composed of three main regions. By far the largest is the German-speaking area in […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }

The New Kurdistan: One Family’s Role

What would make a successful Iraqi geologist and his physicist wife pull up roots from the city they’ve grown up in, learn a new language, and become humanitarians and educators in a foreign culture — within their own country? Today we’re speaking with Youssif Matti, an Aramaic Iraqi, who has been living and working in […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

What You Can’t Know About Your Country Until You Leave It

My wife and I took a brief road trip last weekend. I like road trips except for one thing: I get so sleepy behind the wheel. Enter the audio book. This time we chose a book that had been mentioned by a good friend. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight takes place in Southern Rhodesia […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Stereotypical Stereotypes

I was at a symposium last night on Russian-American relations moving from the Obama years into the Trump era. While most of Dr. Mark Katz‘s remarks and the questions asked of him centered on Trump and Putin’s relationship and speculation about what that might look like moving forward, one question was asked that got me thinking […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

How to Turn a Vacation into a Pilgrimage

What comes to mind when you hear the word “pilgrimage”? Trekking your way over rugged terrain to reach a shrine? Traveling thousands of miles to meet up with thousands of other pilgrims at a particular time of year? Perhaps. But what if any time you stepped out of your zone of familiarity could become a spiritual experience? […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }

Announcing the 2017 World to the Wise Cultural Tour

My wife, Becky, and I started a company around 2010 called World to the Wise. The mission statement of the organization is to promote and foster cultural curiosity by exposing people to other cultures and perspectives. This includes not only telling compelling stories, but taking people to other places! Summer of 2010 saw our first World […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Cultivating Curiosity

We are all born curious. Show me a baby who isn’t drawn to shiny objects or who doesn’t believe everything is intended to be put in the mouth. Then the baby becomes a toddler and all of a sudden the entire house has to be childproofed. Everything at eye level is fair game to be […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

In my last post, I mentioned being impacted by J. D. Vance’s powerful and tragic book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. My wife and I actually read it together — sort of. I read aloud to her while she crocheted — a favorite pastime of ours. Although Vance calls the […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }