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World Mag > World Magazine Spring 2021 Edition - Courage > The Courage to be Culturally Intelligent

The Courage to be Culturally Intelligent

Director Message
Peter Welch
Peter Welch

I wonder what skills and personal habits that you learned at AISB you have most valued in the world of further education and employment? I have heard many IB Diploma graduates tell me how valuable habits of critical thinking and self-direction have been at university. I have also heard many graduates remark that they wish they had acquired more practical life skills at school - how to cook, financial literacy, or basic mechanics, for example.


The generations now going through our schools are growing up in a global village in which they will communicate, travel, work and share more across borders. They are more likely to have friends, colleagues, and partners from a wider range of cultures than previous generations. They inherit from us a significant set of global problems, such as climate change, that will necessitate cross-cultural agreements and cooperation. Therefore, I believe, understanding how to work well with others from different cultures – what has been termed cultural intelligence or ‘CQ’ – is going to be a vital life skill.


I venture that in the knowledge and innovation economies of the future, ‘CQ’ may rise to the top of employers’ list of desirable skills. 


High-profile CEOs are increasingly saying, don’t give me your Ivy League or Oxbridge degrees if you’re no good at dealing with people. They say it more eloquently than that, of course, but they understand that their business success depends on human relationships.


Research shows that the highest performing international teams leverage their cultural diversity. They are more successful because they draw creative ideas from a wider range of perspectives and better understand the global marketplace. The worst international teams suffer by not understanding their diversity. Each team member works with different core assumptions and values. Their norms for communication and organization don’t match, so they fail to develop shared understandings and common purpose.


At AISB, we are going to place increasing emphasis in our curriculum on developing practical CQ skills and working for anti-racism. We have a large team of professionals engaged in this work this year, a positive energy that has been galvanized by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ in America.


I hope that as graduates of this international school, you have grown up with cultural diversity as a norm and that you have friendships across cultures that you really value. This open-mindedness to the world is surely as valuable as anything else we can learn at school.


Peter Welch



Read here the whole edition of World Magazine Spring 2021 

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