Cultures don’t meet, people do: Ethnocentrism and essentialism

By Arjan Verdooren

There is a goal that virtually all methods and models of intercultural communication have in common – explicitly or implicitly. This goal is countering ‘ethnocentrism’: the tendency to assume one’s own worldview as normal and natural, and judge others on the basis of this worldview. Ethnocentrism is associated with closed-mindedness, inflexibility and feelings of superiority: things that can safely be considered bad for intercultural interactions. My argument is however that an emphasis on avoiding ethnocentrism is not always enough to improve intercultural communication in today’s world.

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Intercultural methods, models and approaches aim to make trainees aware of their own cultural socialization and of other cultural views and habits.

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CABI helps Pakistan Museum of Natural History showcase scourge of noxious parthenium weed

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CABI in Pakistan is helping the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) showcase the scourge of the noxious parthenium weed, otherwise known locally at ‘Gajar Booti’, to members of the public visiting its Bio Gallery exhibit.

Parthenium is regarded as one of the major threats to native species, environment and ecosystems in more than 48 countries around the world – including Pakistan where it is also considered as a risk to human health, biodiversity, agriculture, livestock, and food security.

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TEFL Tourism: Author Interview

There is evident lineage between the concepts of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) and tourism, represented through evocative marketing material, the commoditisation of the TEFL product, teacher motivations and experiences. Yet, to date there has been no recognition of these links within industry or academia. With this in mind, Dr Hayley Stainton has introduced a new concept of ‘TEFL Tourism’ – the experience of teaching English overseas, whilst partaking in a substantial amount of tourism-based activities.

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Tourism and animal welfare: a 21st century dilemma

There is a strong link between tourism and animals, whether in zoos, marine parks, or on safari. Tourists encounter animals in many different situations: photo opportunities, street performances, animal rides and specialised ‘sanctuaries’ such as elephant homes and tiger temples. Tourism may benefit wildlife, by funding wildlife animal conservation, as well as providing vital income for local communities, but the exploitation of animals in animal entertainment can be a cruel and degrading experience for intelligent sentient creatures.

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Tourists encounter animals in many different situations

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On International Mountain Day, let’s look at mountain tourism

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Today, 11 December, is International Mountain Day Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. And mountains are also important for tourism, attracting visitors for their scenery, wildlife, healthy air, winter sports and summer activities such as hiking, climbing and mountain biking. The UNWTO has issued a new report on mountain tourism, presenting a summary of the information generated at UNWTO’s mountain tourism events, including a systematic definition of mountain tourism. In addition, it gives an overview of the development of mountain tourism in different parts of the world over time, and the recent structural changes affecting this segment as a result of new market patterns. It includes a number of “learning cases”, all of which have been presented at UNWTO’s World Congresses on Snow and Mountain Tourism, organized on a bi-annual basis in cooperation with the Government of the Principality of Andorra since 1998, and at the First Euro-Asian Ski Resort Conference of UNWTO, which took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October 2013. Continue reading