CROSS CULTURAL MENTORING

 
Reflections
 
Reflecting on the challenge of cross cultural mentoring begins with the very perception of the task.
 
The term "cross cultural" implies interaction with persons of different cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious, age, class backgrounds. "Cross cultural communication" is a process of exchanging, negotiating, and mediating one's cultural differences through language, non-verbal gestures, and space relationships. It is also the process by which people express their openness to an intercultural experience.
 
Mentoring is perceived differently in different cultures. Even a definition of mentoring will vary cross cuturally. One can look at empowerment as one approach to mentoring. Empowerment is helping people grow through the transfer of knowledge, skills, and resources that will enable them to participate in the structures and processes of their environment to effect the solution of challenges which affect their lives.
 
Rationale
 
All people have more in common than we realize or accept. It is not a question of choosing one culture or another; it is not that one culture is better than another; it is a question of mutual understanding and inclusion of differentness.
 
Occasionally, there are individuals who cannot abide openness to diversity and differentness. Engagement with resistance to diversity and differentness involves attempting to ease fears that an individual's personal convictions, resources, and/or services will be diminished by accepting the validity of any differentness.
 
Diversity can be a source of harmony rather than a source of conflict. Canada is a work-in-progress and the continuing efforts of each and all of us are needed to move the project forward.
 
Requisites
 
The challenge of cross cultural mentoring goes beyond language differences to the way the mentor and mentee see the world. Culture offers a set of  eye glasses by which to see and understand life. These differences need to be openly acknowledged and discussed in the mentoring relationship.
 
Effective cross cultural mentoring demands that the mentor has come to a significant degree of self-awareness regarding his or her cultural setting. What values guide the mentor? What assumptions about the world are taken for granted?
 
Effective mentoring demands that a mentor seeks information about the culture of the mentee - and the mentee seeks information about the culture of the mentor. What are the key cultural accomplishments? The religious systems? The family structure? The social mores?
 
Cross cultural mentoring demands a serious commitment to active listening - that is, a commitment to test out what is 'heard' so that the mentor and mentee are truly 'listening' to each other.
 
References
 
Past President: 411 Seniors Centre Society
Mission: Directed by the 411 Seniors Centre Society, the 411 Seniors Centre is a multicultural and proactive resource agency in downtown Vancouver where members, volunteers and staff address; seniors' issues and concerns; the social, recreational, nutritional and counseling needs of members, clients and other seniors.
 
Past President: The Vancouver Cross Cultural Seniors Network Society
Mission: The Vancouver Cross Cultural Seniors Network Society is committed to the principle of cultural diversity; and as such, will show leadership in actively promoting inclusiveness, repect and participation through activities involving inquiry and advocacy.
 
Recognition
 
Cultural Harmony Award 2001 City of Vancouver
 
News Release (see Vancouver Sun Monday, June 25, 2001)
 
".....Clive Mallory a dedicated community volunteer and champion of ethno-cultural seniors' issues, is the winner of the 2001 City of Vancouver Cultural Harmony Award.
 
"This year's recipient is the chair of the 411 Senior Centre's Multicultural Committee, and a member of its board. Through Mallory's efforts, the 411 Seniors Centre has developed new policies and approaches in welcoming culturally diverse seniors, including translating the centre's brochures into a variety of languages and hosting events that celebrate the cultural diversity of clients, volunteers and members.
 
"Mallory is also president of The Vancouver Cross Cultural Seniors Network Society, and helps organize leadership training for more than 200 seniors in the Chinese community, a contribution that's been highly regarded and appreciated by that community. Through all his work, Mallory has found ways to communicate effectively even when he doesn't speak the same language as those he's helping."
 
Resources
 
Augsberger, David W.: Conflict Mediation Across Cultures
 
Casse, Pierre: Training for the Cross Cultural Mind
 
Cohen, Raymond: Negotiating Across Cultures
 
Darling, Lu Ann W.: Discover Your Mentoring Mosaic
 
Huang, Al Chung-liang and Lynch Jerry: Tao Mentoring
 
Montville, Joseph V.  editor: Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies
 
Ng, Raymond: Customers from Afar (a SUCCESS Publication)
 
Thomas, David C. and Inkson, Kerr: Cultural Intelligence
 
Clive R. Mallory
Cross Cultural Mentor
 
http://clivemallory.blogspot.com