Dr. Tanya Maus from the Peace Resource Center spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club which meets at noon.
Dr. Maus offered some background on the founding of the Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College by Barbara Reynolds and then spoke on the current displays.
She commended Rotary’s involvement in Peace going back to the founding of the United Nations.
Maus presented the Five Principles of Inter-Cultural Understanding. These were created by visiting and living in different places:
• Don’t resort to cultural essential-ism (don’t try to distill any culture down to a single essence/philosophy/ principle)
• Don’t assume the part are equal to the sum, or that the sum is equal to the parts (meeting one person of a particular culture is not how all people of a culture will be; and the government Public Relations image of a culture/country does not speak for all the individuals)
• Seek out the logic that is governing the practice or action (just because people do this and it is not the way “we” would do it, work to understand why they may act/react differently; Dr. Maus gave an example that when she bumped into people at the train station in Japan, she initially worked to apologize to each one, as we might do here; but there are so many people, and it is so crowded, it’s not “rude” that the Japanese do not apologize when jostling people at the train station – it is just an impossible task and part of the experience.)
• Be curious but not incredulous (when something is or seems different, do your research quietly – on your own – to better understand why that might be so instead of asking too many questions of an individual)
• Be aware of where the power lies: especially when it lies with you (her example was that on a visit to another, very poor country, the people there offered a feast to the visitors; when many in the party opted to not eat the food and threw it away, it perhaps is on our power, as leaders, to help those visiting other culture to help other visitors understand the sacrifice those people endured to procure that “treat” for the visitors and that they food they threw away could have fed many of them for a long time.).
Answering questions, Dr. Maus also addressed the current state of Hiroshima — a large, modern city, but with plaques and monuments/reminders everywhere to the ones that were lost.
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