The Theory and Practice of Code-Shifting: Fostering Equitable Intercultural Communities

Dec 19, 2019

Presenters: Emily Clawson, Peace Corps  |  D’Lynn Jacobs, Peace Corps Vanuatu

his webinar will detail the United States Peace Corps’ journey and approach to fostering working environments abroad in which both host country and U.S. staff can bring their full cultural selves to work.

The following questions will be explored:

  • How does a U.S.-based organization adapt to host-country cultural norms and office practices?
  • How much does the U.S. leadership shift to be effective and appropriate in their interactions and engagement with local staff and communities?
  • How much and in what ways are host-country national staff expected to shift to work according to U.S. cultural norms?

Participants will be prompted to think critically about how these dynamics can be made explicit and negotiated in inclusive ways. Methods such as ensuring space for continual conversation, establishing shared vocabulary, and engaging culturally appropriate feedback loops will be explored.

Peace Corps is focusing unprecedented attention on intercultural competence, diversity, and inclusion (ICD&I), with a dedicated ICD&I team focused on fostering ICD&I principles and practices among its staff in the United States and in 65 other countries around world. Part of this effort includes conducting 5-day ICD&I trainings to Peace Corps staff (host country nationals and U.S. direct hires), engaging ICD&I themes in both a U.S American and country-specific context. Peace Corps has also developed a set of ICD&I competencies that are utilized to develop intercultural competence and inclusive and equitable practices of individuals, groups and systems in the organization. In this workshop, Peace Corps’ ICD&I team will share some its best training practices in integrating IC and D&I and share how it utilizes the competencies to foster ICD&I among its constituents globally. We will engage topic such as intercultural thinking and assessment tools, IC development models, systemic racism, facilitating difficult dialogues, power and privilege, and other topics, addressing how they all fit together in regard to fostering equitable intercultural working environments.

Learning Outcomes
  • Explore the unique office dynamics that impact inclusion in international field offices
  • Learn and explore strategies to negotiate a shared and inclusive vision of working norms and practices
  • Practice the skill of pro-actively acknowledging code-shifting in order to increase your own capacity

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
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Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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