Greetings Brother Knights,
First, I want to welcome our new State Deputy-elect Joe Riffel. Congratulations and thank you for trusting me to handle this committee for another year.
This will be the 4th year of promoting Cultural Diversity here in our jurisdiction and in the past 3 years I can say it started gradually in the beginning and now it already made an impact in our province especially in the growth of our membership.
According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. This is why we need to take cultural diversity so seriously; apart from the fact that it leads to a more fulfilling intellectual, moral and spiritual life, cultural understanding is essential in general, to world peace and stability.
What we need to do now?
We are knights and we are the leaders. We need to develop more of our own understanding of cultural diversity and to all councils here in Saskatchewan.
The following are some ways on how we can adapt easily to cultural diversity.
- Rent a movie or read a book from another country or religion than your own.
- Explore the music of a different culture.
- Invite people from a different culture to share their customs.
- Go to a restaurant serving a type of cuisine you’ve never tasted before.
- Visit an art exhibit or a museum dedicated to other cultures.
- Invite a family or people in your neighbourhood from another culture to share a meal with you and exchange views on life.
- Read about the great thinkers of other cultures than yours (e.g. Confucius, Socrates, Avicenna, Ibn Khaldun, Aristotle, Ganesh, Rumi).
- Visit or attend the mass different from yours and participate in the celebration.
- Book a city break to explore foreign culture and customs.
- Play the “stereotypes game”. Stick a post-it on your forehead with the name of a country. Ask people to tell you stereotypes associated with people from that country. You win if you find out where you are from.
- Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures; learn more about amazing celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s Eve in their tradition. A council can throw a party to celebrate a holiday for a foreign member.
- Learn to express a joke, assuming you speak some of the language. See what people laugh at. Talk to them – laughter is a great leveller.
- Attend a cultural sporting event and support the local team.
Cultural differences have a huge impact on how efficient and successful our Jurisdiction will be. Now let’s turn diversity into a competitive advantage for every council here in Saskatchewan.
What is next after we learn to adapt to cultural diversity?
Now it’s about time to develop cultural intelligence that will benefit every council. Here are some steps we can use in dealing with our diverse members.
- Gain an awareness of your own working behaviours and build an understanding of how to differ from the cultures you regularly work with. Gain insights and advice on how to overcome differences and adapt for success.
- Find a common ground that allows you to connect across cultures which leads to a better understanding of an individual. It is a great tactic for creating a mutual bond and helps to develop trust and respect and eliminates barriers in communication.
- Stereotyping is a common practice and helps to give you a profile of another person, but it can be dangerous as it can lead to making negative and unfounded assumptions. What we need to remember is that people from different cultures have their own practices and beliefs that may be different from your own. Try to understand and judge a person on his own worth instead of assessing him from a cultural point of view.
- Maintain an open mind about culture and get curious. You can always do this by searching the web or talking to other immigrants you know already.
- Awareness and acceptance are important factors to consider when deciding to develop cultural intelligence.. Being aware allows you to become more mindful of the practices and habits of people from another culture. Acceptance of their cultural practices shows your sense of empathy as to who they really are and how you see them. The way you treat another person will also reflect on how that person sees you. Accepting other cultures will enhance your level of empathy, which will help you become a true culturally intelligent individual.
- Trying different foods unique to another culture is also a great way to understand other people. Aside from satisfying your taste buds, the way they prepare their special delicacies may give you an idea about their traditions. This is also a great way to meet new people and establish great relationships.
Cultural intelligence is a crucial skill in today’s world. As we are working and living in a multicultural community, acquiring a different set of perspectives, knowledge and skills are important in order to succeed. We need to be prepared to communicate and work with people from different backgrounds, races and cultures. Gaining knowledge about other cultures is no longer optional. It is necessary in order to learn, understand and deal with different situations competently.
Good Luck to all of us and let us all support our new State Deputy-elect Joe Riffel this 2020 -2021 Fraternal Year.
God Bless Us All. VIVAT JESUS !
Bro. Marte Clemente Nogot, State Treasurer
State Cultural Diversity Chairman – Saskatchewan