Global Perceptions Celebrates Multicultural Communication Month

April is here and that means it’s time for Multicultural Communication Month. What is multicultural communication? Why should we celebrate it? In our instant access world, we are constantly in contact with people from other cultures. Taking time to celebrate that interconnectedness is worthwhile because it reminds us how far we have come, but also points to how far we still have to go. This month’s posts by Global Perceptions relate to this unique, yet timely topic.

To begin, let’s take a step back in time. If we look way back to the Ancient Greeks, we discover the first formal studies of oratory and persuasion, which have become the foundation of today’s communication courses. As time goes on, communication grows to include written formats due to increased literacy rates. This is largely a result of the growth of religion during the Medieval times and the interest in transferring religious knowledge to non-literate groups.

Speeding ahead to the 1900s, politicians implement communication not only to win elections, but to garner support for war efforts. By the middle of the 1950s, the Foreign Service Institute begins working with the U.S. military and Peace Corps volunteers to look for ways to make U.S. ambassadors, military personnel, and community service workers more effective within their host countries. It is here that intercultural communication or multicultural communication is born.

Today, multicultural communication includes the study of verbal and nonverbal actions, the impact of religion on culture, how to conduct business across cultures, ethnic influences on our identity, prejudices, perception, context, challenges within education for multicultural people, health care, technology, ethics, listening, and so much more. This field of study has grown steadily with support from business, government, educational institutions, and non-profit groups alike. Now intercultural researchers and individuals have the ability to talk and write about their experiences and have those experiences listened to by others.

As we look forward, we will continue to see the importance of multicultural communication and its influence on our everyday lives. The ability to instantaneously impact hundreds of thousands of people with a single tweet, for instance, has already begun to change the way we live. We can now support causes thousands of miles away from the privacy of our own homes and affect change more permanently than we could if we stood in the middle of the town square crying out for change. This is just one of the reasons why celebrating Multicultural Communication Month is crucial for all of us.

Throughout April, Global Perceptions staff will post about intercultural communication topics to celebrate Multicultural Communication Month. We encourage comments about your experiences with these themes. To join the conversation, simply post your comments here or join us on Facebook or Twitter!

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