News archive

This is the archive of older news, the more recent ones can be found here.

Would you like to receive these news automatically by e-mail? Nothing easier than that! We have set up a mailing list for this purpose by which we will inform you whenever there's something new to tell.


Overview

2011/07/26 Seminar for North-American students within the UROP International Program at RWTH Aachen University
2011/02/09 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (summer semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University
2011/02/04 Interview for the magazine "The Slovenia Times"
2011/02/03 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
2011/02/02 Seminar on intercultural communication in sales management at the Institute of Marketing, University of St. Gallen.
2011/01/31 Interview with Alexia Petersen for the magazine "Wirtschaftliche Nachrichten"
2010/09/06 Workshops on intercultural communication for Engineers without Borders - Germany
2010/08/14 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Interdisciplinary Program Molecular Medicine at the University of Cologne
2010/08/13 From Aachen to the Ivies
2010/08/12 Workshop on intercultural communication for MAINZ
2010/08/03 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (winter semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University
2010/03/10 Short video on our RWTH workshops on intercultural communication
2010/03/09 Workshop on intercultural communication for the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin
2010/01/28 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (summer semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University
2010/01/27 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Research Academy Leipzig
2009/12/20 Help us support "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen"
2009/12/12 New "press" area on our web site
2009/12/11 Workshop on intercultural communication for alumni of RWTH Aachen University
2009/12/10 Interview for the daily newspaper "Aachener Zeitung"
2009/12/09 Interview for the magazine "working@office"
2009/11/05 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology
2009/11/02 Talk on intercultural communication within the framework of the "Social Business Administration School"
2009/10/31 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Masterís Programme in Energy Economics
2009/09/07 Presentation at "1. Aachener Interkulturelles Kompetenzforum - Unbekannter Nachbar Frankreich"
2009/08/20 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students
2009/08/19 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (winter semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University
2009/08/18 Workshop on intercultural communication for doctoral students at Dahlem Research School (Freie Universität Berlin)
2009/07/12 Workshop on intercultural communication for participants of Deutsche Telekom Foundation's scholarship program
2009/06/23 Short seminar on intercultural communication for "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V."
2009/06/16 Article on intercultural communication in Chinese
2009/05/20 Presentations at "Going Diverse: Innovative Answers to Future Challenges - International Conference on Gender and Diversity in Science, Technology and Business"
2009/05/19 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs
2009/05/16 Links to interesting online articles (May 2009)
2009/04/09 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the International Max Planck Research School "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth"
2009/02/26 Seminar for students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech)
2009/01/28 "When the rules of science collide with the rules of culture: Cultural influence on science"
2009/01/27 Links to interesting online articles (January 2009)
2009/01/25 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Graduate School for Biological Sciences at the University of Cologne
2009/01/23 Workshop for the "International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences" at Ringberg Castle
2009/01/21 Career-training for female students at Aachen universities
2009/01/20 Seminar on intercultural communication for the "IDEA League Summer School on Transferable Skills"
2008/11/06 A new corporate customer: SONY Deutschland GmbH - Stuttgart Technology Center
2008/11/05 Teaching assignment at the University of Cooperative Education Mannheim
2008/10/31 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Masterís Programme in Energy Economics
2008/09/30 Seminar for students of Keio University, Tokyo
2008/09/19 Talk on intercultural communication for the GPM Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement
2008/09/18 Workshop on Intercultural Communication offered by RWTH Aachen University's Center for Doctoral Studies
2008/09/12 "Direkt zum Problem": An article on the German Discussion Style
2008/08/18 Three-part seminar for North-American students within the UROP International Program at RWTH Aachen University
2008/08/12 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students
2008/08/11 Workshop "Intercultural Competence and Management for Professors" at RWTH Aachen University
2008/07/06 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs
2008/06/25 "Doing Business in Sweden"
2008/06/24 Seminar for the first TANDEMplusIDEA networking event
2008/05/07 Talk at the "Welcome Meeting" for new doctoral students at RWTH Aachen University
2008/04/30 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA for Technology Managers"
2008/02/03 Seminar on intercultural communication for Aesculap Implant Systems
2008/01/27 Career-training for female students at Aachen universities
2007/12/22 Talk at the first "Welcome Meeting" for new doctoral students at RWTH Aachen University
2007/12/20 "When East Meets West - Business Communication with the Japanese"
2007/12/13 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Ruhr-University Research School
2007/11/07 New feature in our newsletter: links to interesting online articles
2007/11/06 First Advanced Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs
2007/11/05 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Research Training Group "BioNoCo" at RWTH Aachen University
2007/10/31 Workshop on intercultural communication for Haniel's Student Development Program
2007/09/12 A new corporate customer: Cognis
2007/08/10 "Germany - Where Doing Business is all Business" (Part II)
2007/08/09 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs
2007/08/08 Seminar at the "Ostwestfalen" Chamber of Commerce in Bielefeld
2007/07/29 Interview for British Airways' inflight magazine "Business Life"
2007/07/02 Workshop on intercultural communication for the "VDI Wissensforum"
2007/06/17 Talk at the "Ländertag China", RWTH Aachen University
2007/06/14 Speech at the Master Graduation Ceremony, Maastricht University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
2007/06/13 Workshop at the Faculty of Tourism, Munich University of Applied Sciences
2007/05/21 Short presentation on intercultural communication at the "Meuse-Rhine Triangle Investment Award 2007" ceremony
2007/05/20 "Germany - Where Doing Business is all Business"
2007/04/20 Teaching assignment at the University of Cooperative Education Mannheim
2007/04/19 RWTH Aachen Alumni Homecoming 2007
2007/03/13 Second part of the article for the magazine "BusinessForum China" published
2007/03/12 Learning Session at Shell Chemicals, Rotterdam
2006/01/07 Two-part article for the magazine "BusinessForum China"
2007/01/03 Workshop for administrative staff at RWTH Aachen University
2007/01/01 Workshop within the framework of the Ph.D programme "Cognitive Science" at the University of Osnabrück
2006/12/20 "Doing Business and Working with Canadians", seminar dates 2007
2006/12/19 Seminar for the "Research Project Maastricht"
2006/12/17 "Mexico - Where Taking it Personally is Good for Business"
2006/12/16 Career-training for female students at RWTH Aachen University
2006/11/22 Guest lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2006/11/21 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA in Logistikmanagement" at Universität St. Gallen
2006/11/14 Article on intercultural communication in Chinese
2006/09/28 Workshop for the "International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences"
2006/09/17 Introductory seminar on intercultural communication for students at Aachen University of Applied Sciences
2006/09/04 "Talking to Italians"
2006/08/27 Seminar at the Oetker Group's buyers meeting
2006/07/20 "Communicating with Canadians - Comfortably Familiar, Surprisingly Challenging"
2006/07/17 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs
2006/07/09 New mailing list for the announcement of the "RWTH Workshops on Intercultural Communication"
2006/05/12 Lecture at the Universiteit Maastricht's Alumni Day
2006/05/11 A new corporate customer: Dr. Oetker
2006/05/10 Invited talk at the international conference "Petfood Update 2006"
2006/05/09 Workshop on intercultural communication for Asian students at the University of Hannover, Germany
2006/05/01 "Your Passage to India"
2006/04/06 Presentation at the "Wirtschaftsforum China", Duisburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce
2006/04/05 Lecture on Intercultural Communication and Leadership for students at Maastricht University
2006/04/04 "Intercultural Communication: An essential skill in a globalised world"
2006/03/08 Introductory seminar in intercultural communication within the RWTH Orientation Week of events for new foreign students
2006/03/05 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA for Technology Managers"
2006/03/04 Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce: Intercultural Communication for IT Professionals
2006/02/28 "The Many Hierarchies of International Business: Are You Prepared?"
2006/01/31 Suggested Reading and Bibliography on Intercultural Communication updated
2006/01/30 "Do you just speak a language well, or communicate effectively with a culture?"
2006/01/11 Wharton Women Business Conference 2006
2006/01/10 Seminar for Indian DAAD Scholarship Students
2006/01/04 New article online: "The Language of Drama: When 'enough' is not enough"
2005/12/21 Seminar on Cross-cultural Business Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto: February 7, 2006
2005/12/15 Workshop on intercultural communication at the University Duisburg-Essen
2005/12/14 Career-training for female students at RWTH Aachen University
2005/11/07 Short talk at job fair ChinaCareer 2005
2005/11/03 Wrap-up of our fall seminars in Canada
2005/11/02 Interview for an article in the German magazine "ManagerSeminare"
2005/11/01 "Making Appointments"
2005/10/31 Introductory seminar for foreign students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at RWTH Aachen University
2005/09/15 A new seminar: "Doing Business and Working with Canadians"
2005/09/01 Seminars on Cross-cultural Business Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal
2005/08/16 Second part of article for "partners - Italy & Canada" published
2005/08/14 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students
2005/07/05 Seminar on intercultural communication with a special focus on China
2005/06/21 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs
2005/06/19 "When 'Thinks on His Feet' meets 'Plays by the Book': Encountering Idiomatic English in Business"
2005/05/31 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA for Technology Managers"
2005/05/30 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Duisburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce
2005/05/16 Two-part article for "partners - Italy & Canada"
2005/04/29 Workshop on intercultural communication at the University Duisburg-Essen
2005/04/28 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce
2005/04/26 Seminar for Chinese students within the framework of the RWTH-Tsinghua project
2005/04/03 Career-training for female students at RWTH Aachen University
2005/03/28 Wrap-up of our seminars in Canada
2005/03/14 "The Language of Inflation"
2005/03/05 Seminars in Vancouver
2005/03/04 "A Canadian's guide to doing business with Germans: 10 points for a good start"
2005/03/03 Seminar on intercultural communication for the 'Internationale Schule am Rhein'
2005/02/01 Seminar on Cross-cultural Business Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto
2005/01/31 Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce: Intercultural Communication for IT Professionals
2005/01/30 "Getting acquainted with false friends"
2004/12/17 Workshop on intercultural communication for Haniel's Student Development Program
2004/12/16 Presentation on intercultural communication for the Cologne branch of BPW Germany
2004/12/08 A new corporate customer: Kühne + Nagel
2004/12/07 Seminar at the University of Cooperative Education, Lörrach
2004/11/13 RWTHinsight: "Against Culture Shock"
2004/11/12 Workshop on intercultural communication at the Institute of International Management at Aachen University
2004/10/26 Our tips on "Doing Business in Germany" quoted in a new book
2004/10/25 "Communicating about problems"
2004/09/23 Chamber of Industry and Commerce Lübeck, Germany, publishes directory of intercultural trainers
2004/09/16 "Breakfast Seminar" on Intercultural Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto
2004/09/08 Intercultural Communication: What You Need to Live and Study in Germany - An Introduction for Erasmus Exchange Students at the University of Cologne
2004/08/31 "Must you read this article, or Should you read this article? How to give instructions instead of commands"
2004/07/29 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce
2004/07/28 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students
2004/06/21 RWTH Workshop Reunion: "Intercultural Barbecue"!
2004/06/20 Federal Foreign Minister's Award for providing excellent support to foreign visiting students goes to the Universities of Cologne and Göttingen.
2004/05/14 "No Big Talk Without Small Talk"
2004/05/12 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Graduate College 460 at the University Ulm
2004/04/19 Article: "Intercultural Communication Skills: Essential For Today's Global Marketplace"
2004/04/16 Recommended reading: three new books
2004/04/04 Workshop within the Business Conference North America, Central America, and Cuba
2004/04/03 Suggested Reading and Bibliography on Intercultural Communication
2004/02/17 Workshop on intercultural communication at the University Duisburg-Essen
2004/02/16 Presentation on intercultural communication at the Chamber of Commerce Duisburg, Germany
2004/02/02 Business English for Human Resource Managers
2004/01/05 Article on our "Breakfast Seminar" in Toronto
2004/01/04 English for human resource managers: new articles in our series
2003/12/23 Seminar for Indian DAAD Scholarship Students
2003/11/10 Presentation at the Entrepreneur's Meeting "Doing Business in the USA"; Aachen, November 28th, 2003
2003/09/24 "Breakfast Seminar" on Intercultural Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto
2003/09/17 Lectures on intercultural communication at the Institute of International Management at Aachen University
2003/09/05 Seminars on intercultural communication for the administrative staff of universities
2003/09/04 Intercultural Communication: A Student's Perspective
2003/08/20 Our new seminars: Business English for Human Resource Managers
2003/08/08 Recommended reading: three new books
2003/07/10 Intercultural Communication Workshops at the RWTH Aachen, November 2003 and January 2004
2003/06/12 Recommended reading: our selection
2003/06/03 "I'm not too happy": Hitting the Right Tone in English
2003/05/13 Meet ExecutivePlanet.com's new "Business Culture Guides" for Germany
2003/04/28 The 'Interculturally Literate' Language Teacher - Beyond Grammar and Vocabulary
2003/04/08 Latin America article
2003/04/04 Intercultural Communication Workshops at the RWTH Aachen, April 25th/26th, 2003
2003/02/28 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce
2003/01/08 English for human resource managers: our new article series
2002/11/27 Intercultural Communication Workshops at the RWTH Aachen
2002/11/21 AIESEC's Open Minds 2002
2002/10/01 Canada: Big Land, Small Talk
2002/09/03 Communicating Between Cultures: A Seminar for the Annual One World Partnership Meeting in the Diocese of Osnabrück
2002/08/01 Country-specific articles on intercultural communication
2002/06/12 IAESTE seminar wrap-up
2002/05/31 Aachen Chamber of Commerce workshop flyer online
2002/04/12 Seminars, workshops, and what our customers say
2002/02/27 Additions to our website
2001/12/07 Seminar Wrap-up
2001/08/31 Talks and seminars, fall 2001: Aachen (Germany) and Toronto (Canada)
2001/06/18 A new area on our website: Resources & Texts
2000/10/20 Seminar Wrap-up
2000/09/21 Introductory lecture on Successful Intercultural Communication in Baesweiler
2000/08/30 Introductory talk on Intercultural Communication in Aachen
2000/08/12 English version of our web site online



List of news

2011/07/26 Seminar for North-American students within the UROP International Program at RWTH Aachen University

UROP , the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, offers students the possibility to conduct their own research project while still being engaged in their studies. UROP is being offered at RWTH Aachen University since the beginning of 2008 and is funded as a part of the Excellence Initiative.

UROP International  provides access to research projects at RWTH Aachen University for US-American and Canadian students in their second and third academic years. This summer 32 young students from the USA and Canada spent eight weeks working under academic supervision of RWTH Aachen University researchers on research projects within the framework of the UROP program.

For this group of North-American UROP students, the International Office at RWTH Aachen University invited Dr. Stephan Petersen to give a seminar on intercultural communication, which was given at the end of June 2011.

The seminar prepared the students for differences between the German and the North-American communication culture, both with respect to the general social as well as the academic environment. It also introduced how both communication styles fit into the global spectrum, and which risks and potentials might result in communicating with other cultures.

2011/02/09 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (summer semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University

Both dates for our "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (summer semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University have been set:

  • May 27-28, 2011 (Friday-Saturday)
  • July 22-23, 2011 (Friday-Saturday)
Registration, which is handled by RWTH Aachen's Alumni Team, is now open for students of all faculties.

Details on the workshops are, as always, available on our workshop pages.

2011/02/04 Interview for the magazine "The Slovenia Times"

Alexia and Stephan Petersen were interviewed for a short article on international business etiquette, which appeared in the July 2010 issue of The Slovenia Times . The article "A village with variations" describes different business etiquette around the world.

We are often told we live in the age of the global village. The recent ascendance of the internet has, in particular, reinforced the notion that we are all neighbours, united regardless of the geographic distance between us. But as any travelling businessman quickly learns, this is a village with as many differences as e-mail addresses.

2011/02/03 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Alexia Petersen was invited in February 2010 by the the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ  in Leipzig, Germany, to conduct a workshop for participants of its international graduate school HIGRADE . Due to the positive feedback to the workshop, it will be repeated in February 2011.

About HIGRADE:

The "Helmholtz Interdisciplinary GRADuate School for Environmental Research" (HIGRADE) provides a coherent framework at UFZ and the participating universities for qualifying a new generation of internationally competitive doctoral candidates in the field of environmental research. The intention of HIGRADE ist to prepare the doctoral candidates for careers in a range of environmental fields, i.e. for taking over leading positions in research, management and policy, technology development, or consulting and education. Graduate education in HIGRADE is structured, systematic and adapted to the individual needs of the doctoral candidates.

About the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ:

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ was established in 1991 and has about 900 employees in Leipzig, Halle/S. and Magdeburg. They study the complex interactions between humans and the environment in cultivated and damaged landscapes. The scientists develop concepts and processes to help secure the natural foundations of human life for future generations.

2011/02/02 Seminar on intercultural communication in sales management at the Institute of Marketing, University of St. Gallen.

At the beginning of December 2010 Dr. Stephan Petersen was invited by the University of St. Gallen to give a seminar on intercultural communication in sales management. The seminar is part of the "Executive Diploma HSG in Sales Management" program. In the course of 10 months and 9 modules, each 5 days long, managers and young high potentials from the areas of sales and customer management learn to manage sales and distribution by applying the latest insights and implementing factors of success. Current concepts, methods, and tools are taught interactively in a practice-oriented fashion, while case studies and workshops help to transfer them to oneís own work. Upon successful completion the participants obtain the accredited degree "Diplom Vertriebsmanager HSG".

The next course program kicks off on September 13, 2011. More information (in German) is available at www.vertriebsdiplom.com .

2011/01/31 Interview with Alexia Petersen for the magazine "Wirtschaftliche Nachrichten"

Alexia Petersen was interviewed for the May 2010 issue of "Wirtschaftliche Nachrichten" on the subject of intercultural communication and its impact on international management. Drawing on her over ten years of experience as a trainer, the interview, conducted in German, focused in particular on the achievable and sustainable potentials companies can attain through training intercultural communication as a key set of leadership skills.

Die Workshops, die Alexia Petersen für Firmen durchführt, dauern gewöhnlich zwei bis drei Tage. Sie sind sehr praxisorientiert und beschäftigen sich stark mit der Auswirkung der Kultur auf die internationale Verhandlung. Interkulturelles Management ist ein inzwischen häufig zitierter Begriff. Die Wirtschaftlichen Nachrichten (WN) fragten die Trainerin Petersen: Was verstehen Sie darunter und wovon grenzen Sie ihn ab?

"Wirtschaftliche Nachrichten" is the monthly official publication of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) Aachen 

2010/09/06 Workshops on intercultural communication for Engineers without Borders - Germany

In addition to his profession as an engineer and his freelance teaching activities in the area of intercultural communication, Dr. Stephan Petersen is an active member of Ingenieure ohne Grenzen  (Engineers without Borders - Germany) and its coordinator for international relations, as well as the representative of the Aachen local chapter. Upon the initial introduction of the topic of intercultural communication at last year's annual meeting in Marburg, interest in further exploring the topic was immediately expressed.

Due to the highly positive feedback to this introduction, a first full-length workshop on intercultural communication was held for members at the end of February 2010 in Hamburg. The primary target group were student and professional members of all German local chapters who would spend time abroad within the framework of their development aid projects.

The technical nature of many humanitarian aid projects often misleadingly suggests that engineering and logistics issues are the predominant issues with which projects teams are faced during the planning and implementing stages. Reality shows that many projects are at risk or fail not for technical reasons, but due to the underestimation of the impact of cultural differences.

In contrast to many international commercial and academic projects, development aid projects almost always involve the crossing of an enormous cultural gap. Project staff from Northern Europe and North America, for instance, are required to cross the largest possible cultural divide, when dealing with countries from regions such as Africa, South America, or South East Asia.

The two-day practise- and applications-oriented workshop on intercultural communication aims to develop the necessary skills to handle typical culture-related problems - such as in leadership, team coordination and motivation, planning and implementation and problem-solving - and to help understand why such problems occurs in the first place.

The next two-day workshop on intercultural communication for Ingenieure ohne Grenzen is scheduled to take place in November in Munich.

Due to the significance of this and related non-technical key skills for the target group, Stephan Petersen recently co-founded an expert group on intercultural communication and ethnography ( Kompetenzgruppe Interkulturelle Kommunikation und Ethnographie ) under the auspices of the Hamburg local chapter, which will be responsible for training and consulting on intercultural and ethnological topics within Ingenieure ohne Grenzen.

Ingenieure ohne Grenzen is a humanitarian organisation run almost exclusively by volunteers. It receives funding for its projects in developing countries primarily through donations, membership fees, as well as commercial sponsors. If you're interested in helping us carry out our projects, please contact us.

2010/08/14 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Interdisciplinary Program Molecular Medicine at the University of Cologne

In their biomedical projects the scientists of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Cologne (CMMC) investigate at the molecular level the pathogenetic mechanisms of cardiovascular disorders, inflammatory and infectious diseases, cancer and neurological disorders.

Coordinaed by the CMMC is the Interdisciplinary MD-PhD Program in Molecular Medicine  (IPMM), open to graduates from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

The organisers of the IPMM invited Alexia Petersen to contribute a workshop on intercultural communication for the participants of the program, which took place end of February 2010.

About the Interdisciplinary Program in Molecular Medicine:

The University of Cologne has a long-standing academic tradition and a world-wide reputation for top-level biomedical research. Since 2003, the Faculties of Medicine and of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Cologne offer an Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Molecular Medicine (IPMM). This IPMM is coordinated by the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC). The IPMM is member of the Organization for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System.

Based on Anglo-American models, the IPMM is aimed at outstanding research-oriented medical and life science graduates. The three-year PhD program reflects the increasing importance of interdisciplinarity and provides comprehensive research training in an atmosphere of scientific excellence.

IPMM participants are enrolled in a 3-year experimental research project in the field of biomedicine. This research project is supplemented with an individually tailored study program of obligatory lectures and courses, guest seminars, progress reports, advanced method courses and workshops as well as scientific soft skills training.

2010/08/13 From Aachen to the Ivies

In 2005-06 Spencer Szczesny spent a year at RWTH Aachen University as a Charlemagne Scholarship recipient and joined our workshop on intercultural communication. He has maintained a deep interest in the topic and stayed in contact ever since.

Over the years, we have been meeting up with him in various places. For instance, in Cambridge, Massachusetts he introduced us to the MIT Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Alexia Petersen was invited to give a guest lecture on intercultural communication as part of the course "Working in the Global Economy". On his invitation, Dr. Stephan Petersen also gave an introductory talk on intercultural communication at Aesculap Implant Systems in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

In October last year we met him again, this time at the University of Pennsylvania  in Philadelphia, where he is currently doing his PhD. In addition to his studies he has been active in the Intercultural Leadership Program at Penn and founded InterComm, a student group supporting intercultural communication competency and training. It was for this group that he invited Stephan Petersen to give a talk on intercultural communication and leadership.

2010/08/12 Workshop on intercultural communication for MAINZ

Alexia Petersen was invited in November 2009 by the Graduate School "MAterials Science IN MainZ" (MAINZ) at the University of Mainz to conduct a one-day introductory workshop for participants in this international PhD programme.

Like many internationally oriented research school programmes, MAINZ  seeks to provide doctoral students with a wide range of professional skills training courses throughout the year. MAINZ has been selected as one of the few PhD programmes in the interdisciplinary area of Chemistry, Physics and Biology as part of the German Excellence Initiative.

About MAINZ Graduate School:

The Graduate School of Excellence "MAterials Science IN MainZ" (MAINZ) is an international PhD programme which focuses on graduate training through excellence in research in the combined fields of polymer science, colloids, supramolecular assemblies, magnetoelectronics and strongly correlated quantum systems, including ultracold quantum gases.

Scientists from the University of Mainz, the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) and the University of Kaiserslautern (TUKL) have joined to form MAINZ. MAINZ has been selected as one of the few PhD programmes in the interdisciplinary area of Chemistry, Physics and Biology as part of the Excellence Initiative.

2010/08/03 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (winter semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University

Both dates for our "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (winter semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University have been set:

  • October 22-23, 2010 (Friday-Saturday)
  • January 14-15, 2011 (Friday-Saturday)
Registration, which is handled by RWTH Aachen's Alumni Team, is now open for students of all faculties.

Details on the workshops are, as always, available on our workshop pages.

2010/03/10 Short video on our RWTH workshops on intercultural communication

In 2009, the RWTH Aachen University Alumni Team produced a short introductory video on our RWTH workshops on intercultural communication and published it on YouTube.

You can find the video, with commentary in German, on the RWTH workshop info web site.

2010/03/09 Workshop on intercultural communication for the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin

After having contributed a talk to a seminar series organized by the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin  in December 2008, Alexia and Stephan Petersen were invited by the organizers of the graduate program to conduct a 2-day workshop on intercultural communication for its PhD students.

ZIBI Graduate School Berlin is the roof of two graduate programs, and is closely linked to the Interdisciplinary Center for Infection Biology and Immunity  of the Humboldt University and non-universitary research institutes in the field of infection biology and immunity in Berlin.

About the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin:

The ZIBI Graduate School Berlin is a joint doctoral program of the International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunology (IMPRS-IDI) funded by the Max Planck Society starting 2006 and the GRK1121 "Genetic and Immunologic Determinants of Pathogen-Host-Interactions" funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) starting 2005. The ZIBI Graduate School Berlin is closely linked to the Interdisciplinary Center for Infection Biology and Immunity of Humboldt University (ZIBI) which is a collaboration network between scientists at the Humboldt University to Berlin, the Free University of Berlin, the Charité - University Medicine Berlin and at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, the German Rheumatism Research Center, the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, and the Robert Koch Institute. Currently about 30 research groups are involved in the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin hosting about 70 doctoral students. The research projects aim to elucidate the genetic, biochemical and organismal basis of infections and immune reactions. They are in the areas of pathogenity mechanisms, pathogen-host interactions, pathogen-host coevolution, chronic inflammations, autoimmune diseases, neuroimmunology, development and differentiation of immune cells.

The ZIBI Graduate School Berlin is an international program. Currently almost half of the doctoral students come from abroad. English is the official language of the school. The Mission of the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin is to develop students into creative, responsible and self-confident young researchers. In a "tailor-made" course program students are introduced to modern science practice and to advanced methodology. Particular emphasis is put on an active participation of the students. Thus, students meet regularly to present and discuss their projects. They visit international conferences and spend time at other labs abroad. For their individual research projects students are supervised constantly by a thesis committee. As a result of these efforts, many papers have been published with faculty and students as co-authors.

The ZIBI Graduate School Berlin has an active and lively student community. The collegial atmosphere assures that everybody has a productive and memorable time in Berlin.

2010/01/28 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (summer semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University

Both dates for our "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (summer semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University have been set:

  • June 10-11, 2010 (Thursday-Friday)
  • July 16-17, 2010 (Friday-Saturday)
Registration, which is handled by RWTH Aachen's Alumni Team, is now open for students of all faculties.

Details on the workshops are, as always, available on our workshop pages.

2010/01/27 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Research Academy Leipzig

End of November 2009 Alexia Petersen was invited for the first time to teach a workshop on intercultural communication at the Research Academy Leipzig .

The very international group of participants - from countries including Russia, Italy, Brazil, and Tanzania - , consisted of doctoral students from an equally wide area of subjects such as cultural studies, natural sciences, engineering, liberal arts, and journalism. A second work shop has already been scheduled for later this year.

About the Research Academy Leipzig:

The Universität Leipzig, an internationally renowned research university, has a rich experience in postgraduate research training across all disciplines. The Research Academy Leipzig bundles efforts to foster the capacity of doctoral students for cutting-edge research at the frontiers of established fields of knowledge and for interdisciplinary exchange. Three Graduate Centres organise research training programmes in the following fields:

  • Mathematics/Computer Science and Natural Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
These sections offer currently 20 PhD programmes, which are organised in classes. Doctoral students from more than 40 countries bring a wealth of varied experience to the Research Academy. Between 30 and 40 per cent of all students enrolled at the Academy have the opportunity for co-supervision with professors from universities abroad. Postgraduates at the Research Academy Leipzig profit both from excellent research facilities including rich libraries, best equipped laboratories and from an extraordinarily diverse student population.

The Research Academy serves as a platform for a research community of established worldwide leading scholars and the best qualified doctoral students enrolled at research training programmes. In this respect the Research Academy Leipzig represents the classical ideas of academic education.

At the same time, the Research Academy develops into a meeting point between those researchers working at extra-university centres like Max Planck Institutes or Institutes of the Leibniz Society and faculty from the University's departments sharing the common objective of excellent postgraduates training.

2009/12/20 Help us support "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen"

From an earlier newsletter edition you might already know that we support Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V. , (Engineers without Borders - Germany).

The current issue of "keep in touch", the alumni magazine of RWTH Aachen University, also carries an article about the activities of the young Aachen chapter of the non-profit association.

Dr. Stephan Petersen is also providing seminars on intercultural communication for active members of the association. The primary target group are members from all German regional chapters who are preparing for project assignments abroad. Apart from that, he is also an active member of the Aachen regional chapter.

To help us with our first project that the Aachen regional chapter just started, the constructions of sanitary facilities at a school in Kenya, we are still looking for donors, sponsors and supporters. In addition to that, everybody who is interested in the project is invited to join the Aachen regional chapter as an active member.

More information is available on the web site of Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V. , or can be obtained directly from us.

2009/12/12 New "press" area on our web site

Over the last years we were interviewed for a number of articles in newspapers, magazines, as well as for television programs. We have recently started to collect some of them in the new press area on our web site.

We will include copies of the original articles for download where possible. The press section is still under construction, more entries will follow.

2009/12/11 Workshop on intercultural communication for alumni of RWTH Aachen University

RWTH Aachen University's Alumni-Team  has invited Alexia Petersen to host a 2-day workshop on intercultural communication for alumni of RWTH Aachen University.

Invited to this weekend workshop, which takes place on February 27 and 28, 2010, are all alumni of RWTH Aachen University, especially internationally-active managers, project leaders of international teams, engineers, and scientists.

For further information, please check our section events and dates.

2009/12/10 Interview for the daily newspaper "Aachener Zeitung"

In the run-up to the "1. Aachener Interkulturelles Kompetenzforum" in October 2009, Aachener Zeitung  interviewed us about our work as trainers in the area of intercultural communication. The interview appeared in the issue of October 10, 2009.

A PDF version of the interview is available in the press section of our web site.

2009/12/09 Interview for the magazine "working@office"

Alexia Petersen was interviewed for an article on Canada, which appeared in the October 2009 issue of working@office . The article "Multikulturelles Mosaik und milde Töne" (in German) describes the business etiquette and the communication culture in the Canadian professional environment.

Das Einwanderungsland Kanada beherbergt viele Nationen - doch alle fühlen sich einfach als Kanadier. Business-Partnern begegnen sie mit britischer Höflichkeit. Im geschäftlichen Miteinander setzen sie auf kurze Informationen - und sind im Entscheiden oft sehr schnell.

working@office is Germany's largest professional journal for secretaries, assistants, and office managers.

2009/11/05 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology

Alexia Petersen has been giving seminars and workshops for a number of international graduate programs all over Germany. In July 2009, the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology  joined this list of graduate schools. The 2-day workshop introduced the key leadership skills of applied intercultural communication to Ph.D students of the research school, in preparation for their future professional life in the global workplace. Below, a few voices from the participants:

"Not abstract learning about facts about other countries but learning a structural model that helps to make up own plan of understanding situations. Great course, great benefit" (Ricarda M.)

"I liked in particular: materials, way of providing information, very useful exercises, task was taken from life situations" (Magda S.)

The increasingly multicultural demographics in the academic and scientific workplace mean that graduate students are faced with having to be more interculturally skilled and proactive when interacting in teams with other students, or with supervisors and professors, who can approach work and supervision in unexpectedly very different ways. As in many other graduate programs in Germany, the group of Ph.D students represents a very multicultural team that benefits from practical intercultural communication skills both with respect to their daily work, as well as with a future international career in mind. Furthermore, especially as they are positioned at a key communication interface between professors and younger students, Ph.d students find themselves already in situations of having at times to function as intermediaries or facilitators for other students who may encounter cross-cultural difficulties. Whether students are presently in leadership positions or simply often called upon to exercise leadership abilities, sensitivity and skill in handling the cultural context of teamwork is a key component to harnessing and synergising the multicultural work potential.

About the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology:

Complex networks of molecular interactions regulate physiological processes at the cellular and systemic level. To understand them is of one of the greatest challenges of today's basic and applied research. Progress in this field depends on the refinement and development of cutting-edge interdisciplinary approaches. This is the mission of Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology. It provides a unique academic environment within the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Computer & Information Science that fosters top level interdisciplinary education and research. Hence, Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology is supported by the German Excellence Initiative.

The research portfolio of the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology is built on strong research priorities at the University of Konstanz in Synthetic Chemistry, Cellular Biochemistry, Biomedicine, Biophysics, and Computational Biology. The research element unifying all groups participating in the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology is the desire to elucidate and to understand complex biological processes at the molecular level. The implementation of such an ambitious task requires both the expertise in a broad range of state-of-the-art methodologies and techniques and the availability of biologically relevant model systems.

Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology provides its doctoral students with an interdisciplinary state-of-the-art training in chemical and biological concepts. The methods taught will prepare them for competitive research careers in both academia and industry. To account for the different academic backgrounds of the doctoral candidates, individual training programs are designed. The curriculum of the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology consists of well conceived scientific courses as well as courses for the improvement of transferable and management skills. The training program is supported by several top-class research institutions and industrial partners known world-wide.

2009/11/02 Talk on intercultural communication within the framework of the "Social Business Administration School"

Dr. Stephan Petersen has been invited by AixSPACE  (Aachen Student Platform for Social Awareness and Leadership Competence) to give a talk at the "Social Business Administration School", which was established by AixSPACE.

He will give his talk "Intercultural Communication: Key Skills for Global Collaboration and Leadership" as part of the 5th venue "Social Entrepreneurship" on Saturday, November 7, 2009 in the "Ford Saal" at RWTH's SuperC.

Fur further details and a flyer, please see the section events and dates.

About AixSPACE:

AixSPACE - is a new social platform started by RWTH Students with technical support from Professors of the Executive MBA Master of Business Administration Program from the RWTH Aachen University, international social Experts, and Governmental as well as Non-Governmental Organizations.

AixSPACE realizes RWTH students of today as the elite of leaders and decision-makers from tomorrow. Therefore, our core activities focus on enabling the promotion of sustainable social development, looking forward to support the mastering of research challenges with high social and global relevance, as stated in the Excellence Initiative RWTH 2020 - "Meeting Global Challenges". As a new social-oriented organization inside the RWTH Aachen University, AixSPACE pursues three major goals:

  1. Enabling social engagement: towards the encouragement of social awareness in the student communities through leadership activities promoting their more proactive participation in social issues around sustainable development.
  2. Handling as intermediaries: to bring sustainability promoters and socially disadvantage people together, in order to take advantage of available human and technical resources in developing world, through feasible solutions made in RWTH Aachen.
  3. Contributing to sustainable development: even as students, through the design and development of business strategies leading to the successful implementation of international social projects, tailor-made for developing world needs.
About the Social Business Administration School:

Based on the establishment of a Social Business Administration (SBA) School and the implementation of an International Social Project, AixSPACE looks forward to encourage social awareness and leadership competence inside the student community, towards a more proactive engagement of the RWTH Aachen University in the social issues challenging the achievement of Millennium Development Goals nowadays.

Venues of the Social Business Administration School will take place at the "Ford-Saal" at RWTH's SuperC, in 5 sessions on Saturdays from August until November.



2009/10/31 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Masterís Programme in Energy Economics

Since 2007, Haus der Technik  in Essen, Germany, which is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, has offered a new Masterís Programme in Energy Economics. This part-time program is a co-operation between Haus der Technik, University of Münster, and RWTH Aachen University, and is supported by a number of relevant professional organizations.

After the positive feedback to the two-day workshop on intercultural communication that Alexia Petersen and Dr. Stephan Petersen gave last year for this program, they were invited back this year to teach the workshop for the current group of participants. The workshop took place end of July / beginning of August 2009 at "Haus der Technik" in Essen.

The Masterís Programme in Energy Economics provides participants with the necessary management qualifications from the areas of power generation, distribution, and consumption. Technology, economics, and law modules are blended into a practice-oriented program. At the same time, it aims to provide the students with substantial knowledge on general management.

The main target groups are engineers and natural scientists from fields related to the energy industry. Due to its multi-disciplinary approach this program is also suited for business administration and law professionals, as well as economists.

2009/09/07 Presentation at "1. Aachener Interkulturelles Kompetenzforum - Unbekannter Nachbar Frankreich"

Alexia and Stephan Petersen have been invited to present a talk at 1. Aachener Interkulturelles Kompetenzforum - Unbekannter Nachbar Frankreich , which will take place at RWTH Aachen University on October 14, 2009, in Aachen, Germany.

Their presentation "Die Erfahrungen und Empfehlungen zweier Trainer für angewandte interkulturelle Kommunikation" (please note that the conference language is German) will highlight the experiences and recommendation of 10 years of intercultural teaching and training.

A flyer with the event's program can be found in the section events and dates.

We would be happy to meet you during the event!

About "Aachener Interkulturelle Kompetenzforen":

In dieser neuartigen Veranstaltungsreihe der RWTH Aachen werden mit hochkarätigen Partnern aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Beratung Fragenkomplexe, Problemkreise und nachhaltige Lösungsmöglichkeiten rund um das Thema Interkulturelle Kompetenz in Wirtschaft, Technik und Wissenschaft diskutiert.

Wir wollen mit den Aachener interkulturellen Kompetenzforen, die jährlich zu einem jeweils anderen internationalen Schwerpunkt stattfinden, ein bislang in Aachen so noch nicht dagewesenes Kommunikationsdreieck aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Beratung schaffen.

Wir wollen allen Vertretern aus Industrie/Technik und Wirtschaft die RWTH als zuverlässigen und kompetenten Partner und Vermittler in allen Fragen interkultureller Kompetenz präsentieren und sie unkompliziert mit kompetenten Lösungsanbietern aus Wissenschaft und Beratung zusammenbringen.

Wir wollen alle Hochschulmitglieder und Studierenden der RWTH Aachen für die Entwicklung interkultureller Kompetenz im Rahmen ihrer Leitziele "Internationalität und Interdisziplinarität" sensibilisieren, um nachhaltige Strukturen für eine permanente internationale Austauschplattform zwischen RWTH, Industrie/Technik, Wirtschaft und Beratung zu Fragen des interkulturellen Know-How-Transfers aus den Kulturwissenschaften in Industrie/Technik und Wirtschaft zu schaffen.

Zum Schwerpunkt-Thema "Unbekannter Nachbar Frankreich? Interkulturelle Kompetenz im bilateralen Austausch" werden Vertreter aus Technik/Industrie, Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Beratung relevante Fragestellungen, Problemkreise und Lösungsansätze im Hinblick auf "Interkulturelle Kompetenz im deutsch-französischen Kontext" erschließen und diskutieren. Die Präsentation der Ergebnisse einer groß angelegten Umfrage verdeutlicht, welche Reibungsverluste infolge mangelnder interkultureller Kompetenz in deutsch-französischen (Geschäfts-) Beziehungen entstehen und wir werden aufzeigen, welche Strategien zur Vermeidung und Lösung solcher Probleme existieren.

2009/08/20 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students

In co-operation with the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) , the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  awards scholarships to both Korean graduate and under-graduate students of higher semesters in support of a short research exchange in Germany within the "Summer Institute Programme". A week-long orientation programme that took place this year July 6-10, 2009, at RWTH Aachen University  kicked off the two-month long KOSEF exchange. The Korean students, all from various engineering and natural science fields, were able to enjoy a packed programme that not only introduced to them the city of Aachen and its environs and the university itself, but also a crash course in "survival German".

Part of the agenda was also a half-day introductory seminar on intercultural communication given by Dr. Stephan Petersen by invitation of the DAAD and RWTH Aachen, just as in previous years. The main purpose of this seminar was to prepare the participants for the differences they will encounter within the social and academic environment during their stay in Germany.

Following the orientation week in Aachen most of the students travelled on to their various universities and research institutes in different cities throughout Germany.

2009/08/19 Dates for the "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (winter semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University

Both dates for our "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" (winter semester) for students at RWTH Aachen University have been set:

  • October 16-17, 2009
  • January 22-23, 2010
Registration, which is handled by RWTH Aachen's Alumni Team, is now open for students of all faculties.

Details on the workshops are, as always, available on our workshop pages.

2009/08/18 Workshop on intercultural communication for doctoral students at Dahlem Research School (Freie Universität Berlin)

The Center for Graduate Studies ( Dahlem Research School , DRS) at the Freie Universität Berlin invited Alexia Petersen to conduct a workshop on intercultural communication within the framework of the DRS Training Program. The workshop for doctoral students of the DRS took place in Berlin in early July 2009.

About Dahlem Research School:

Dahlem Research School (DRS) promotes the development of innovative doctoral programs and supports existing initiatives. It formulates and implements consistent quality standards and structures on a university-wide basis. DRS offers training for young researchers in fields considered essential for the further professional development either in academia or on the non-academic labor market. Furthermore, DRS provides additional funding for specific purposes, e.g. international mobility and it supports the integration of international candidates.

The DRS Training Program aims at developing the potential of young researchers by supporting their personal, professional, and career development in the research environment By collaborating with other professional education institutions at Freie Universität, the Program provides a wide range of courses covering five major areas: academic, management, career, IT, and language skills. The courses are evaluated continuously and the training program further developed.

2009/07/12 Workshop on intercultural communication for participants of Deutsche Telekom Foundation's scholarship program

Alexia Petersen has been invited by Deutsche Telekom Foundation  in Bonn to teach a workshop on intercultural communication for participants of the foundation's scholarship program.

Through its scholarship program, Deutsche Telekom Foundation supports young talented academics in mathematics as well as the natural and engineering sciences. The participants of the workshop were particularly gifted and committed PhD students in mathematics, physics, chemistry, as well as computer and engineering sciences, which are supported in the framework of this scholarship program. Universities which are strong in the above-mentioned research areas according to the relevant rankings, are invited to put forward their best young scientists for the scholarship program.

The two-day workshop, which took place end of May in Bad Honnef, introduced the PhD students to the basic issues of applied intercultural communication, and was met with very positive feedback.

About Deutsche Telekom Foundation:

Die gemeinnützige Deutsche Telekom Stiftung engagiert sich für eine Verbesserung der Bildung in den MINT-Fächern (Mathematik, Informatik, Naturwissenschaften und Technik). Sie arbeitet dabei entlang der Bildungskette und setzt sich gleichermaßen für die Basis- wie die Spitzenförderung ein. Unter dem Motto "Früh übt sich..." kümmert sich die Stiftung um die Bildung und Erziehung in Kindertageseinrichtungen und Grundschulen. "Begeisterung macht Schule" ist die Überschrift für die Projekte an weiterführenden Schulen und gemeinsam mit den Hochschulen will die Telekom-Stiftung "Bildung auf die Spitze treiben". Zu einer umfassenden Allgemeinbildung in einer vernetzten Wissens- und Informationsgesellschaft gehört aber auch ein besseres Verständnis der Menschen für Forschung, Technologie und Innovation. Wie spannend Wissenschaft sein kann oder wie wichtig Innovationen für die Zukunft sind, zeigt der vierte Programmbereich "Innovation".

2009/06/23 Short seminar on intercultural communication for "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V."

Being an active member of the Aachen regional chapter of Ingenieure ohne Grenzen  (Engineers without Borders - Germany), Dr. Stephan Petersen has given a short seminar on intercultural communication within the framework of the course "Grundlagen der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit" ("basics of development cooperation") as part of his involvement. The course was part of the annual national meeting and took place beginning of June 2009 in Marburg, Germany.

The group of participants consisted of 50 active members of the association, some of which already had experience in performing relief projects abroad, while others are currently planning to do so.

Practice-oriented skills in the area of intercultural communication are a key qualification for people active in development cooperation projects. The teaching of practice-oriented knowledge and training of effective skills in this area as part of the preparation for a mission abroad are especially relevant for students, who constitute the largest part of the teams providing engineering-related services and technical assistance in the target countries.

The short seminar was met with very positive feedback, with full-length workshops for Ingenieure ohne Grenzen now currently in the planning stage.

About "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V.":

Ingenieure ohne Grenzen  (Engineers without Borders - Germany), a charitable relief organization, was founded in 2003 by nine engineers and one economist. According to its statutes, its activities are focused on providing engineering services and technical assistance, as well as training and research in the area of developmental aid and cooperation.

The impulse to found "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen Deutschland" came from Jojakim Sames, an engineer who was confronted with problems in other countries through his work for the Technische Hilfswerk and the United Nations. Especially water supply and infrastructure problems continued to demand solutions involving engineering know-how.

Examples for projects, which are executed by the various regional chapters, are the design and implementation of solar heat and photovoltaic installations, cisterns, bridges, ground water dams, and biogas plants. Present and previous target countries include Ethiopia, Chile, Kenya, Panama, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

The group of active members consists of both undergraduate and graduate students of all branches of study, as well as professionally experienced engineers with diverse backgrounds.

We are always happy about new members joining us. The active involvement in the association is the basis to achieve our goals; organizational work "at home" is the prerequisite for effective help abroad. A major part of the project work is done within the regional chapters. Joining "Ingenieure ohne Grenzen" provides the opportunity to expand one's engineering skills, make valuable contributions to a globally relevant topic, and establish contacts to like-minded people.

Memberships are available to students, professionals, families, as well as legal entities. To carry out its projects, Ingenieure ohne Grenzen also relies on donations from individuals, institutions, and companies.

In order to enhance one's know-how in the area of applied development cooperation, as well as to prepare for a possible mission abroad, courses and workshops are given on an annual basis.

"Ingenieure ohne Grenzen Deutschland" is a member of the network "Engineers Without Borders - International" (EWB-international.org).

2009/06/16 Article on intercultural communication in Chinese

After the success of the InfoGuide Germany 2006/2007 and the popularity of our contributed article on intercultural communication, the publishers at the Delegation of German Industry & Commerce Shanghai  have invited us to update our article for inclusion in the latest edition.

The InfoGuide Germany 2009/2010 has meanwhile been published. The 226-page booklet is available for download from the publisher's web site and can also be ordered in printed form. Details can be found in our publication section.

The article, just as the entire guide book, is written for the target group of Chinese visitors to Germany as well as those doing business with Germans in China. Since the InfoGuide Germany is published entirely in the Chinese language, our article, though originally written in English, was translated by the publishers into Chinese.

Given that the Chinese and German communication styles are so different, the article introduces the basics of intercultural communication and highlights those issues particularly relevant for the Chinese-German business relationship, looking at how to make the most out of new contacts, providing practical tips for how to adjust to the German business communication style and to avoid unnecessary miscommunication and pitfalls.

2009/05/20 Presentations at "Going Diverse: Innovative Answers to Future Challenges - International Conference on Gender and Diversity in Science, Technology and Business"

Alexia and Stephan Petersen have both submitted proposals for presentations for Going Diverse: Innovative Answers to Future Challenges - International Conference on Gender and Diversity in Science, Technology and Business , which will take place on October 29 - 30, 2009, in Aachen, Germany.

Both proposals have been accepted, and will be delivered as oral presentations during the conference:

Alexia Petersen: Developing intercultural communication skills at internationally oriented academic institutions: Moving from skills training to fundamental paradigm shift in human resource and talent development as well as university policy

Stephan Petersen: Preparing students of science, technology, and business for a culturally diverse workplace - The experiences of teaching intercultural communication at RWTH Aachen University

We would be happy to meet you during the conference!

About the conference:

"Going Diverse: Innovative Answers to Future Challenges - International Conference on Gender and Diversity in Science, Technology and Business"

RWTH Aachen University in cooperation with Imperial College London, ETH Zürich and TU Delft

Today's world is rapidly changing regarding economical, legal, social and cultural conditions. Internationalisation and globalisation, modern and individual lifestyles, demographic changes, migration and labour shortage, as well as urgent issues like climate change, shortage of resources and the collapse of the international finance markets are only a few aspects of the changes we experience. These challenges are framed by progressive political and legal decisions that have shaped the world in the last decades, including matters on equal opportunities and equal rights.

Globalisation is a challenge for working life. Today's labour markets require flexibility and mobility, yet at the same time employers, universities and companies alike, compete for skilled staff and sales markets. To be successful, they need to acknowledge the diversity of their potential students, employees and customers, and foster a creative, fruitful and respectful working environment. Both in science and business diverse teams produce more innovative solutions and perform better. Hence, it is essential to make equality, gender and diversity important elements of organisational and human resources development. The conference will focus on all aspects of gender and diversity in science, technology and business.

2009/05/19 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs

Following the success of the workshop the last five years, the organisers of three international graduate programs invited Alexia & Stephan Petersen back again for a 6th workshop on intercultural communication.

This year the weekend workshop was organised by the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  Programs / International Max Planck Research Schools, Göttingen and Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB), in co-operation with the MD/PhD Molecular Medicine Program  at Hannover Medical School.

The workshop was hosted from May 8-10, 2009 in Germerode, Germany. The 19 participants were sciences graduates and advanced students of medicine from 10 countries, making this once more a very international event. Stephan Petersen opened the event on Friday evening with his introductory lecture Intercultural communication for scientists - Facts, data, methods: Debunking the Myth of Neutrality. In this talk he highlighted why communications skills often don't come easy to scientists, and, as every year, picks an example from the academic environment that illustrates how culture can considerably influence the way scientific work and research is done.

After using SARS, the "Piltdown Man", the Neanderthals, and the reception of atomic physics and modern evolutionary synthesis in Soviet Russia as examples in his talks in previous years, this time he chose the influences of culture on Darwin's life and work as a topic.

The two-day workshop on intercultural communication given by Alexia Petersen followed Saturday and Sunday.

2009/05/16 Links to interesting online articles (May 2009)

As always we're constantly on the lookout for interesting books and articles on intercultural communication or topics in which the transnational experience is either a point of focus or simply plays an ancillary role.

Recently we've again put together several links to articles that introduce very interesting aspects of intercultural communication that broaden yet again our perspective of the whole playing field of the topic.

You'll find the commented links for May 2009 in the section "links to interesting online articles".

Enjoy the read!

2009/04/09 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the International Max Planck Research School "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth"

Alexia Petersen has been giving seminars and workshops for a number of international graduate programs and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). In March 2009, the IMPRS "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth"  in Potsdam-Golm near Berlin joined the list. The 2-day workshop introduced the issues of applied intercultural communication to Ph.D students as well as postdocs and co-ordinators of the research school and resulted in very positive feedback.

As in many other graduate programs in Germany, the group of Ph.D students represents a very multicultural team that benefits from practical intercultural communication skills both with respect to their daily work, as well as with a future international career in mind.

About the International Max Planck Research School "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth":

Multicellular organisms adjust their growth and development in response to a multitude of endogenous and exogenous cues. In order to thrive, they must optimize the use of available resources,balancing their needs for energy, biosynthetic building blocks, and reserves. Whereas animals satisfy their demand of organic nutrients by feeding on plants or other animals, green plants produce all of their own organic compounds. A plant's ability to grow thus depends entirely on its own photosynthetic and metabolic capacity.

The rate of growth and development has to be adjusted to the metabolic status of a plant. To achieve this, the metabolic status needs to be translated into an appropriate response. Thus, growth and primary metabolism are highly interconnected via multiple cross-acting regulatory mechanisms and controls.

The study of the relationship between primary metabolism and growth is the focus of the IMPRS "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth" (IMPRS-PMPG), a joint initiative of the University of Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. We are following a systems-oriented approach, primarily using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model organism. Our research combines cutting-edge analytical techniques, molecular phenotyping (-omics) technologies and physiology with bioinformatics and modelling approaches.

IMPRS-PMPG collaborates closely with the GoFORSYS doctoral programme. To learn more about doctoral training within both programmes, please check here .

2009/02/26 Seminar for students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech)

Ten students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech)  arrived in Aachen in August 2008 for a two-week study trip - from August 17 to August 31 - that encompassed a full academic and cultural program. Selected by the university and funded by the DAAD , the students were teamed up with 10 local German student "buddies" who would help to guide them and contribute to what would be for many their first trip to Germany.

The goal of such an exchange is to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of Germany and GUtech's partner university, RWTH Aachen University. During their visit to Aachen students attended German language courses in the mornings and other culture-oriented courses in the afternoons, including cooking lessons, sightseeing programs, a day excursion to Maastricht and other cities in the three-country region, and of course, a ride on an ICE train.

One of the courses organized for the students was a 2-part introduction to Intercultural Communication with a specific emphasis given to highlighting the challenges often faced by Arab students and German professors from both sides of the Omani-German academic relationship. These took place on August 18th and 29th and were taught by Alexia Petersen. While the topic itself was very new to the students, it was acknowledged by the students and their Omani program coordinator alike as very essential to a successful international academic and professional career, and was received with enthusiasm and curiosity by the students who recognized misunderstandings and different cultural expectations described in the examples used in the seminar.

2009/01/28 "When the rules of science collide with the rules of culture: Cultural influence on science"

The ZIBI Graduate School Berlin , associated with the Interdisciplinary Center for Infection Biology and Immunity  of the Humboldt-University, Berlin, has recently established a seminar series on topics at the interface between science, ethics and politics. The organizers believe that in our changing world science is moving into a "public space", and that young scientists have to be prepared for their place in society.

The first session titled "Responsible Conduct of Research - What does it mean?" took place in Berlin on December 11th, 2008. Dr. Susann Beetz of the organizing committee invited Dr. Stephan Petersen to contribute a talk on the influence of culture on science. "When the rules of science collide with the rules of culture: Cultural influence on science" highlighted several cases where cultural factors had a significant influence on the "way science was done", producing an outcome that one would normally not call "good scientific practice".

Other than Dr. Stephan Petersen's talk, the seminar provided the audience, which largely consisted of Ph.D. students from several international graduate programs in the life sciences, with the following contributions: "The rules of good scientific practice" (Prof. G.W. Kreutzberg, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany), "Scientific communication and the responsible conduct of research" (Dr. Marie-Claude Roland, Réflexives, INRA, Paris, France), and "The editor's work" (Dr. Laurie Dempsey, Senior Editor, Nature Immunology, New York, USA).The event was moderated by Dr. Katrin Grüber, Head of the Institute "Institut Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft", Berlin.

2009/01/27 Links to interesting online articles (January 2009)

As always we're constantly on the lookout for interesting books and articles on intercultural communication or topics in which the transnational experience is either a point of focus or simply plays an ancillary role.

Recently we've again put together several links to articles that introduce very interesting aspects of intercultural communication that broaden yet again our perspective of the whole playing field of the topic.

You'll find the commented links for January 2009 in the section "links to interesting online articles".

Enjoy the read!

2009/01/25 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Graduate School for Biological Sciences at the University of Cologne

After having worked with and for a number of international graduate schools in Germany, several of them from the area of life sciences, Alexia Petersen was invited last year by the Graduate School for Biological Sciences  at the University of Cologne to hold a workshop on intercultural communication.

The 2-day workshop, which took place beginning of July 2008, introduced the issues of applied intercultural communication to Ph.D students as well as supervisors and organizers of the school and resulted in very positive feedback.

As in many other graduate programs in Germany, the group of Ph.D students represents a very multicultural team that benefits from practical intercultural communication skills both with respect to their daily work, as well as with a future international career in mind.

About the Graduate School for Biological Sciences:

In May 2006, the University of Cologne established an international, broadly based graduate school in the biological sciences. Centred on the molecular analysis of biological processes, the scientific base of the programme is broad, providing students with opportunities for training in fields ranging from ecology and evolution to medicine, and including all of the major microbial, plant and animal model organisms.

Based on a phase of systematic experimentation in previous, small-scale graduate programmes in which methods for an improved graduate training have been developed and tested, a structured programme, building on the extensive experience and infrastructure from the existing programmes was developed. These are partially unified and a core programme is available for graduate students in all areas of biology.

The School is supported by a selective, international English language Fast Track Masters/Doctoral Programme, which is in place since winter semester 2006/07. It fosters the excellent scientific connections between research groups in the medical and basic science research institutes in the University and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIZ) and exploits them for the benefit of the graduates.



2009/01/23 Workshop for the "International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences" at Ringberg Castle

Since 2006 Alexia Petersen has frequently taught seminars on intercultural communications to doctoral students at the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences  (IMPRS-LS) in Martinsried near Munich.

In October 2008, for the first time a special retreat was held at Ringberg Castle  overlooking the Tegernsee lake in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. The event brought together a large number of Ph.D students to participate in a program that offered intensive extracurricular career workshops and training in complementary skills such as scientific writing, speed reading and Alexia Petersen's intercultural communication for the global workplace. The pristine and somewhat isolated natural surroundings of the castle enabled students not only to get away from their labs and to dedicate their full energies and concentrations on intense learning outside their direct scientific subjects, but enhanced group bonding through social activities and many outstanding meals together in the impressive medieval-style dining hall.

Feedback from students, program co-ordinators and trainers alike was very enthusiastic for this kind of retreat, so that a similar event is anticipated for the fall of 2010.

About the IMPRS-LS:

The International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences (IMPRS-LS) offers an international PhD program in life sciences covering areas of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular medicine, neurobiology and structural biology. The 3 to 4 year program, entirely taught in English, provides comprehensive scientific training in a superb and vibrant research environment with state of the art facilities and cutting edge research projects. The interdisciplinary setting of the program exposes students to a wide variety of different topics and technologies thereby promoting the ability of cross-frontier thinking. Laboratory work will be supplemented by seminars, summer schools, elective courses, training in soft skills and participation in international conferences.

Doctoral students usually have their doctoral degree awarded by one of the two Munich universities both of which are amongst the highest ranking universities in Germany. International doctoral students may also choose to have their doctoral degree awarded by a university of their home country.

More than 250 doctoral students from all over the world are currently working at the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and Neurobiology and, together with numerous doctoral students from university laboratories, are creating a young and dynamic international atmosphere at the institutes.

2009/01/21 Career-training for female students at Aachen universities

Women are still underrepresented in the German economy, particularly in executive positions, despite the fact that female student outnumber their male counterparts at the universities.

To prepare female students for executive positions, RWTH Aachen University , in cooperation with the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, the Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine Westphalia (Aachen Campus), and the Sparkasse Aachen  has been offering career-training for female students since the winter semester 2001/2002. This pilot project is one of the cornerstones of the university's promotion of female graduates.

The seminar series offers personality-oriented training elements as well as subject-specific information. For the winter semester 2004/2005 the formerly seven-part series was extended for the first time by an eighth event. Alexia Petersen had been invited by the Sparkasse Aachen and RWTH Aachen University's bureau of equality to offer a workshop on intercultural communication for the participants of the seminar series, who, just as in the previous years, have been selected from a large number of applicants.

After the very positive echo to the first workshop, as well as to the repeat seminars in the last years, the organisers invited us back again to give the workshop this winter semester, which took place on two dates in December 2008.



2009/01/20 Seminar on intercultural communication for the "IDEA League Summer School on Transferable Skills"

On September 8th, 2008, Alexia Petersen's introductory seminar on intercultural communication kicked off the "IDEA League Summer School on Transferable Skills", hosted by RWTH Aachen University from September 8th - 13th. Held at RWTH's university hospital, the IDEA League Summer School programme was targeted at early-stage doctoral students in health science and medical engineering, especially those of the professors who form the IDEA League  excellence cluster "Health".

In addition to intercultural communication, a week of presentations, excursions, interactive mini-workshops covered topics that included entrepreneurship, innovation in health science and medical engineering, as well as international collaboration. Such a broad-based and practice-oriented program aims to both provide students with an opportunity to develop skills for succeeding in business and research, as well as to benefit from the IDEA League network, and to get in touch with executives from the industry.

The IDEA League is a network of excellence formed by four of Europe's finest technical universities. Created in 1999, it includes the Imperial College London (Great Britain), Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland), and RWTH Aachen University (Germany). This group was joined later by ParisTech (France) in 2006.

The IDEA League universities comprise 74,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students in total and aim at developing joint activities in research and education through the exchange of students, professors, ideas and expertise through establishing common standards, fostering student mobility, and promoting a coherent international practice in educational quality measurement and management, and in accreditation.

2008/11/06 A new corporate customer: SONY Deutschland GmbH - Stuttgart Technology Center

This summer Alexia Petersen conducted the first workshop on "Intercultural Business Communication" for SONY Deutschland in Stuttgart, targeted at managers, scientists and engineers of the Stuttgart Technology Center .

As an internationally established market leader and innovator across the widest sectors, SONY's managers and technical specialists encounter the challenges, risks and potentials of intercultural communication on a daily basis. The participants of the pilot workshop not only represented the immense cultural diversity at home at SONY Deutschland headquarters, but also the wealth of international experience each brings to their work and was able to contribute to the workshop.

Future workshop are planned in view of the positive feedback following the workshop.

About Sony Deutschland GmbH - Stuttgart Technology Center:

A 100 meter long rectangle with an area of 25000 m2. The contents: sophisticated technological know-how leading to scientific firsts that are extensively applied to Sony products. Everything in our company has that certain thing which allows us to say without hesitation: this is Sony. "like.no.other".

Sony R&D activities in Stuttgart (Stuttgart Technology Center, STC) are ranging from research topics like Nano technology over wireless and wired communication technology to device specific technology for audio and video applications.

STC is the home of the departments European Technology Center (EuTEC), Sensing Systems Laboratory (SSL), Material Science Lab (MSL) and Flat TV Europe (FTVE). Our Intellectual Property Department (IPD) contributes to strengthen Sonyís global patent portfolio for protecting Sonyís products and services whilst also enabling wider commercial utilization.

2008/11/05 Teaching assignment at the University of Cooperative Education Mannheim

Dr. Stephan Petersen was invited by the University of Cooperative Education Mannheim (Berufsakademie Mannheim) to teach a course on "Intercultural Communication and Management" to students of the program International Business Information Technology .

This bilingual program, directed by Prof. Dr. Rainer Hoch, provides its students not only with courses in the key areas business administration and information technology, but adds intercultural communication and management as a third focus. Not only due to the intercultural topics taught is this program unique in Germany.

The three-day practise-oriented workshop was taught end of September 2008 in Mannheim.

2008/10/31 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Masterís Programme in Energy Economics

Since 2007, Haus der Technik  in Essen, Germany, which is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, has offered a new Masterís Programme in Energy Economics. This part-time program is a co-operation between Haus der Technik, University of Münster, and RWTH Aachen University, and is supported by a number of relevant professional organizations.

Based on their experience with similar programs and target groups, Alexia Petersen and Dr. Stephan Petersen were invited to contribute a two-day workshop on intercultural communication for the first group of participants of this new program, which took place end of July 2008.

The Masterís Programme in Energy Economics provides participants with the necessary management qualifications from the areas of power generation, distribution, and consumption. Technology, economics, and law modules are blended into a practice-oriented program. At the same time, it aims to provide the students with substantial knowledge on general management.

The main target groups are engineers and natural scientists from fields related to the energy industry. Due to its multi-disciplinary approach this program is also suited for business administration and law professionals, as well as economists.

2008/09/30 Seminar for students of Keio University, Tokyo

In August 2008, RWTH Aachen University  has for the second time offered a "summer school" program for students of natural and engineering sciences of Keio University, Japan

The students not only attended lectures in English on production systems, production engineering, process engineering, biological process engineering, physics, and chemistry, the Chair for Applied Language Sciences also provided them with an intensive course in German to improve their German language skills. To compliment this, a number of cultural and social events as well as short trips enabled the participants to get to know the region of Aachen and provide ample opportunities to get in contact with German students.

This was also facilitated by a 2-part seminar on intercultural communication that Alexia Petersen gave for the Japanese students as well as a number of their German student counsellors.

2008/09/19 Talk on intercultural communication for the GPM Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement

The Aachen chapter of GPM Deutsche Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement e.V. , the leading professional organization for project management in Germany, has invited Dr. Stephan Petersen to give a talk on intercultural communication.

The talk Interkulturelle Kommunikation - Brücken und Barrieren im internationalen Projektmanagement (in German) will be given on December 9, 2008, details can be found in our section events and dates.

From the invitation:

Internationale Projekte stellen sowohl das Management als auch die beteiligten Teams vor besondere Herausforderungen. Sprachunterschiede, die zum Teil erhebliche räumliche Trennung, sowie Unterschiede in den rechtlichen Grundlagen sind nur einige der Punkte, die es zu berücksichtigen gilt.

Oft sind es jedoch kulturelle Unterschiede, die selbst Großprojekte ins Wanken bringen. Im Vergleich zu technischen, finanziellen, und rechtlichen Details wird den interkulturellen Chancen und Risiken im internationalen Projektmanagement oft zu wenig Bedeutung beigemessen. Gerade Ingenieure und Betriebswirtschaftler, bei denen dieses Thema nicht Teil der Ausbildung war, stoßen oft auf besondere Probleme, da "Learning by Doing" in der Zusammenarbeit mit Kollegen aus einer Vielzahl von Kulturen weitaus mehr Risiken als Chancen bietet.

Warum erhalte ich von meinen ausländischen Projektpartnern keine klare Antwort auf meine einfache Frage? Wieso bekomme ich auf meine letzten Vorschläge keine Rückmeldung mehr? Wie soll ich mit den intransparenten Entscheidungsprozessen umgehen, die im Team des ausländischen Partners ablaufen? Warum halten sie sich nicht einfach an die gemeinsam erarbeiteten Pläne? Wer diese und viele weitere typische Fragen zuverlässig beantworten möchte, für den gehören Kenntnisse in der interkulturellen Kommunikation zu den entscheidenden Soft Skills für Projektmanager.

Dr. Stephan Petersen gibt eine Einführung in die Thematik und stellt vor, was er und seine Frau Alexia Petersen in vielen Firmen und Hochschulen im Rahmen von Seminaren und Workshops unterrichten.

2008/09/18 Workshop on Intercultural Communication offered by RWTH Aachen University's Center for Doctoral Studies

In the last few years we have worked with various faculties, programs and offices within RWTH Aachen University to offer seminars and workshops on intercultural communication to a wide spectrum of target groups that have included programme co-ordinators, administrative staff, students, and professors. One of the most popular events which has reached the widest audience at the RWTH has been the 2-day workshop aimed at undergraduate students from all faculties. Though graduate students have always been welcomed to these student seminars, they have not yet constituted a separate and distinct user group for whom intercultural communication is recognised as a key and relevant cross-disciplinary skill.

Starting in October 2008 a workshop on intercultural communication, taught in English by Alexia Petersen, will become a new addition to the RWTH's Center for Doctoral Studies  (CDS) programme. Established at the end of 2006, the CDS co-ordinates a wide range of courses offered by individual faculties as well as the CDS itself, therefore providing an integrated programme of key competences designed to already benefit doctoral students' research work during their studies, as well as in preparation for their later professional careers. For example, in addition to intercultural communication, courses offered range from language training (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch) to scientific writing and presenting, just to name a few.

The first 2-day workshop will take place on October 6-7, 2008. Detailed information is available on the CDS  web site.

2008/09/12 "Direkt zum Problem": An article on the German Discussion Style

The German discussion style takes some getting used to. Our experience as trainers of intercultural communication frequently show us that people from almost all cultures, regardless of what part of the world they are originally from, have more or less difficulties with the German kind of directness, open communication and discussion style.

Yet, as with all communication patterns in all cultures, the German discussion style developed its particular characteristics out of, and reflects its specific values context. Therefore, in order to use the language both effectively and correctly, it is important for learners of German language to also understand those features and rules that enable professional debate in German to be direct and polite at the same time.

The magazine, Deutsch perfekt , targeted at learners of German, features in their current issue 9/2008 (September) an article on this topic , which interviews both German language learners and teachers, as well as Stephan Petersen as intercultural communication trainer.

In addition to the article itself, the issue offers many important practical rules and guidelines one should be aware of for professional discussions, a list of commonly used vocabulary and idiomatic phrases in discussions, as well as other helpful information to guide learners in debating effectively in German with Germans.

2008/08/18 Three-part seminar for North-American students within the UROP International Program at RWTH Aachen University

UROP , the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, offers students the possibility to conduct their own research project while still being engaged in their studies. UROP is being offered at RWTH Aachen University since the beginning of 2008 and is funded as a part of the Excellence Initiative.

UROP International  provides access to research projects at RWTH Aachen University for US-American and Canadian students in their second and third academic years. This summer for the very first time 23 young students from the USA and Canada spent eight weeks working under academic supervision of RWTH Aachen University researchers on research projects within the framework of the UROP program.

For this first group of North-American UROP students, the International Office at RWTH Aachen University invited Dr. Stephan Petersen to give a three-part seminar on intercultural communication, which was given at the beginning, at mid-term, and close to the end of the students' stay.

The first two parts of the seminar prepared the students for differences between the German and the North-American communication culture, both with respect to the general social as well as the academic environment. The last part introduced how both communication styles fit into the global spectrum, and which risks and potentials might result in communicating with other cultures.

2008/08/12 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students

In co-operation with the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) , the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  awards scholarships to both Korean graduate and under-graduate students of higher semesters in support of a short research exchange in Germany within the "Summer Institute Programme". A week-long orientation programme that took place this year July 1-7, 2008, at RWTH Aachen University  kicked off the two-month long KOSEF exchange. The Korean students, all from various engineering and natural science fields, were able to enjoy a packed programme that not only introduced to them the city of Aachen and its environs and the university itself, but also a crash course in "survival German".

Part of the agenda was also a half-day introductory seminar on intercultural communication given by Dr. Stephan Petersen by invitation of the DAAD and RWTH Aachen. The main purpose of this seminar was to prepare the participants for the differences they will encounter within the social and academic environment during their stay in Germany.

Following the orientation week in Aachen most of the students travelled on to their various universities and research institutes in different cities throughout Germany.

2008/08/11 Workshop "Intercultural Competence and Management for Professors" at RWTH Aachen University

Since 2002 our seminars, workshops and presentations on intercultural communication have found enthusiastic audiences with a wide spectrum of user groups at RWTH Aachen University . A mini-workshop, "Interkulturelle Kompetenz und Interkulturelles Management für Hochschullehrende" ("Intercultural Competence and Management for Professors"), has now been offered to one of the last remaining target groups within the academic institution.

The workshop, organized by the human resources department in co-operation with the International Office of RWTH, is part of the measure "Mobilising People" within the Excellence Initiative, which is designed to provide a comprehensive human resources and organizational development concept for various target groups.

The inclusion of this workshop reflects the increasingly international focus of the RWTH Aachen in recent years, that now sees multicultural research groups to be the norm and almost one in five students to either come from abroad or have a cross-cultural migrational background. This presents inevitable and predictable challenges to professors in terms of supervision and teaching style, synergising multicultural teamwork, and the day to day interaction with foreign students. As much as foreign students often struggle with the unfamiliar German social and academic communication behavior, professors also often come up against their students' different cultural understanding of the "rules of play" which govern academic success. This has now led many professors themselves to express the need for intercultural communication training.

The first such workshop was taught by Dr. Stephan Petersen on July 8, 2008 at the Guest House of the university. Professors of RWTH Aachen who are interested in participating in a repeat of this seminar are directed to contact Ms. Eva Klein-Heßling at Dezernat 8, Personalentwicklung .

2008/07/06 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs

Following the success of the workshop the last four years, the organisers of three international graduate programs invited us back again for a 5th workshop on intercultural communication.

This year the weekend workshop was organised by the MD/PhD Molecular Medicine Program  at Hannover Medical School, in co-operation with the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  Programs at the University of Göttingen - International Max Planck Research School.

The workshop was hosted from June 13-15, 2008 in Frille, Germany. The 20 participants were sciences graduates and advanced students of medicine from 10 countries, making this once more a very international event.

Stephan Petersen opened the event on Friday evening with his introductory lecture Intercultural communication for scientists - Facts, data, methods: Debunking the Myth of Neutrality. In this talk he highlighted why communications skills often don't come easy to scientists, and, as every year, picks an example from the academic environment that illustrates how culture can considerably influence the way scientific work and research is done. The two-day workshop on intercultural communication given by Alexia Petersen followed Saturday and Sunday.

2008/06/25 "Doing Business in Sweden"

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The eighth article in the series, titled Doing Business in Sweden, has been published in the Spring 2008 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2008/06/24 Seminar for the first TANDEMplusIDEA networking event

The IDEA League  is a strategic alliance of five European university partners (Imperial College London, TU Delft, ETH Zurich, RWTH Aachen and ParisTech), each of which is a leading institution for engineering and technology within its respective country.

One of the innovative projects set up by the IDEA League is the international mentoring program TANDEMplusIDEA  for female scientists. Alexia Petersen was recently invited to give a half-day seminar on intercultural communication at the program's first networking event.

TANDEMplusIDEA contains the conception and implementation of a modular mentoring and personal development scheme for female scientists, as well as its scientific evaluation and the development of a best practice model for an international mentoring program.

The project aims to achieve a better balance of sexes in academic fields, in order to ensure gender equality and to take the gender dimension into scientific research. It brings together a network of high qualified postdocs from natural science and engineering, and contributes to the scientific discourse of mentoring as an element of gender-equal human resources development. TANDEMplusIDEA is the first EU project of the IDEA League and the first international mentoring program.

Once a year the mentees meet for a networking event at one of the five universities. The first event took place on June 5 and 6, 2008, at the Imperial College London. While the programme for the first day included presentations by professors from various universities and disciplines and ended with a networking dinner, Alexia Petersen gave her seminar "An Introduction to Intercultural Communication for Scientists: How Culture Impacts Academic Leadership Style" on the second day.

Based on the feedback already generated, a follow-up session for the next networking meeting is planned, enabling, for example, more interactive case study work, and a closer focus on cross-cultural gender-related issues.

2008/05/07 Talk at the "Welcome Meeting" for new doctoral students at RWTH Aachen University

On April 24, 2008, the International Office at RWTH Aachen University , in cooperation with the Center for Doctoral Studies (CDS) , again invited all new doctoral students to a "Welcome Meeting", which took place at the university's Alexander-von-Humboldt-Haus.

Due to the positive response to Dr. Stephan Petersen's talk at the first "Welcome Meeting" end of last year, he was invited back again to give a talk on the intercultural issues and challenges which are faced by all scientists against the backdrop of the international mobility in general, and by the foreign doctoral students in the local context in particular.

His talk "Intercultural Communication for International Doctoral Students: Succeeding in Germany's Academic Environment" complemented the event, which, apart from providing the doctoral students with useful information about RWTH Aachen and the CDS, also introduced them to DoC.NET , the informal network for doctoral students.

The next "Welcome Meeting" will take place on October 23, 2008 (winter semester 2008/2009), to which Stephan Petersen will again contribute a talk.

2008/04/30 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA for Technology Managers"

For several years now RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and University of St. Gallen (HSG, Switzerland) have jointly offered an exceptional postgraduate course. The Executive MBA for Technology Managers  program is primarily targeted at engineers who already possess professional and leadership experience and would like to acquire the necessary skills to qualify for top management positions.

For both the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 courses we were invited to contribute a two-day "Workshop on Intercultural Business Communication" to this unique program. Due to the consistently highly positive feedback to this workshop Alexia Petersen was once again invited back this year to contribute her expertise in a seminar within the module "Internationales Management & Unternehmenskulturen", lead by Prof. Dr. Lutz Hornke, head of the Institute of Psychology at RWTH Aachen University.

The goal of the organizers, representing an "alliance of the best", was the creation of a program aimed at preparing engineers faster and better for high-level executive positions. The 2-year program hosted jointly by both universities, which count among the most distinguished in the field of engineering as well as management, is tailored to the methods of thinking, learning, and training of engineers and natural scientists. It enables this target group to acquire the knowledge and skills required for executive positions in an especially effective manner. The program has meanwhile, since the third program cycle, added Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Munich, to this alliance of the best, with the Executive MBA for Technology Managers constituting the core of its newly founded Fraunhofer Technology Academy .

This program is unique in Germany: The "Executive MBA for Technology Managers" is the postgraduate course for engineers of excellence on their way to top management positions. The participants acquire economic and leadership skills, together with technology and management know-how to head entire enterprises or larger company units in an integrated and confident manner. The program consists of 20 modules and courses and includes technology trend sessions, informal chats with top managers, business simulations, a study trip abroad (e.g. Asia), optional external modules, and a Master's thesis. The EQUIS and AACSB accredited program ranks among the ten best German-language Executive MBA programs.

2008/02/03 Seminar on intercultural communication for Aesculap Implant Systems

Aesculap Implant Systems  in Center Valley, PA, USA, recently invited Dr. Stephan Petersen to give a seminar on intercultural communication.

Spencer Szczesny, a Design Engineer with the Spine Division at Aesculap Implant Systems was a participant of one of our Workshops on Intercultural Communication at RWTH Aachen University, when he stayed at RWTH Aachen as an MIT graduate student recipient of the Charlemagne Scholarship in Materials Science. He subsequently invited Stephan Petersen to give an introductory seminar on intercultural communication for him and his colleagues at the company's site in Pennsylvania.

Given the strong ties between Aesculap Implant Systems and its mother company in Germany, and the need to communicate often and on various levels with German management and staff, Stephan Petersen's seminar focussed primarily on juxtaposing American and German communication patterns.

About Aesculap Implant Systems:

Aesculap Implant Systems combines years of research and development along with modern technology to offer a complete line of high-tech implant systems and instrumentation for both the Spine and Orthopaedic markets.

Aesculap was founded in 1867 in Tuttlingen, Germany and has grown into the largest and one of the most respected manufacturers of surgical instruments in the world. Over the years, Aesculap has continued to evolve into a diversified healthcare corporation by focusing its expertise in the areas of orthopaedics, spinal implants, neurosurgery and vascular systems and sutures.

B. Braun acquired Aesculap in 1996. B. Braun is a private company which was founded in 1839 in Melsungen, Germany. It is one of the world's top ten diversified medical companies with revenues in excess of $4 Billion. Aesculap is the surgical division within the B. Braun family of companies.

Aesculap entered the total joint replacement market in Europe in 1972. Since then, Aesculap has grown to become the 6th largest orthopaedic implant company in the world and it continues to expand its presence. In 1980, Aesculap was one of the first companies to enter the spine market with the introduction of a revolutionary product for anterior cervical fusions, the Caspar retractor and plating system. This retractor system remains the industry's gold standard.

In order to be more responsive to its growing customer base in spine and orthopaedics, Aesculap, Inc. formed a new company, Aesculap Implant Systems, Inc. This new company will focus on these unique markets allowing for greater innovation and customer service. Aesculap Implant Systems maintains a surgeon/patient focus with the goal of improved operative procedures and patient outcomes leading to an improved quality of life.

2008/01/27 Career-training for female students at Aachen universities

Women are still underrepresented in the German economy, particularly in executive positions, despite the fact that female student outnumber their male counterparts at the universities.

To prepare female students for executive positions, RWTH Aachen University , in cooperation with the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, the Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine Westphalia (Aachen Campus), and the Sparkasse Aachen  has been offering career-training for female students since the winter semester 2001/2002. This pilot project is one of the cornerstones of the university's promotion of female graduates.

The seminar series offers personality-oriented training elements as well as subject-specific information. For the winter semester 2004/2005 the formerly seven-part series was extended for the first time by an eighth event. Alexia Petersen had been invited by the Sparkasse Aachen and RWTH Aachen University's bureau of equality to offer a workshop on intercultural communication for the participants of the seminar series, who, just as in the previous years, have been selected from a large number of applicants.

After the very positive echo to the first workshop, as well as to the repeat seminars in the last years, the organisers invited us back again to give the workshop this winter semester, which took place beginning of January 2008.

The workshop on intercultural communication is based on the version we have given numerous times for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen, with particular emphasis on topics relevant for female executives.

2007/12/22 Talk at the first "Welcome Meeting" for new doctoral students at RWTH Aachen University

On December 3rd, 2007, the International Office at RWTH Aachen University , in cooperation with the Center for Doctoral Studies, invited all new doctoral students to the first "Welcome Meeting", which took place at the university's Couven-Halle.

Dr. Stephan Petersen was invited to give a talk on the intercultural issues and challenges which are faced by all scientists against the backdrop of the international mobility in general, and by the foreign doctoral students in the local context in particular.

His talk "Intercultural Communication for International Doctoral Students: Succeeding in Germany's Academic Environment" complemented the event, which, apart from providing the doctoral students with useful information about RWTH Aachen, also introduced them to the DoC.NET, the new informal network for doctoral students.

2007/12/20 "When East Meets West - Business Communication with the Japanese"

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The seventh article in the series, titled When East Meets West - Business Communication with the Japanese, has been published in the Summer 2007 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2007/12/13 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Ruhr-University Research School

As part of their activities as trainers, Alexia and Stephan Petersen cooperate with graduate schools and doctoral programs at a number of universities in Germany. The newest institution on this list is the Ruhr-University Research School , which is funded within the framework of Germany's Excellence Initiative.

The Research School invited Dr. Stephan Petersen to give a 2-day workshop on intercultural communication, which took place on November 30 and December 1, 2007, in Bochum. The participants of the very international group of doctoral students came not only from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, but also from the International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials (IMPRS-SurMat, Düsseldorf) as well as the International Max Planck Research School in Chemical Biology (IMPRS-CB, Dortmund).

As in many other graduate schools and doctoral programs in Germany, the group of Ph.D students represents a very multicultural team that benefits from practical intercultural communication skills both with respect to their daily work, as well as with a future international career in mind.

About the Ruhr-University Research School:

The Ruhr-University Research School promotes top-level postgraduate education throughout Ruhr-University, offering interdisciplinary research opportunities within twelve thematic priorities - from natural sciences and engineering to the life sciences and the humanities and social sciences. All of them are interdisciplinary and involve and will further stimulate co-operative projects from scientists coming from 19 faculties.

The prominent aim of the Research School is the successful academic qualification of doctoral candidates. In order to broaden their individual qualification profiles by interdisciplinary and transferable skills, the Research School offers a structured research training programme with disciplinary and interdisciplinary training elements and courses in generic skills. In addition, support services for international doctoral fellows are provided. These offers as well as the implementation of the Research School are organised by the Central Coordination Office (CCO).

Main goal is the establishment of a doctoral training with an added value and a new academic culture. Doctoral fellows are acknowledged as young researchers and responsible leaders-to-be and are prepared to take over responsibility beyond disciplinary boundaries.

2007/11/07 New feature in our newsletter: links to interesting online articles

As always we're constantly on the lookout for interesting books and articles on intercultural communication or topics in which the transnational experience is either a point of focus or simply plays an ancillary role.

Starting with the upcoming issue of our email newsletter we'll present you with links to online articles that introduce very interesting aspects of intercultural communication that broaden yet again our perspective of the whole playing field of the topic.

Since many of these links point to articles in online publications that frequently change their material and thus might be short-lived, we only include these reading tips in our newsletter, not on our web site. So subscribe to our free newsletter today if you don't want to miss the next set of reading tips.

2007/11/06 First Advanced Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs

On October 10-12, 2007, Alexia Petersen was invited to teach the first Advanced Intercultural Communication Workshop for Graduate Students of the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  programs of the International Max Planck Research Schools at the University of Göttingen.

Based on the very positive feedback and interest following the Introductory Workshop over the past 4 years, which have also included students from the MD/PhD Program Molecular Medicine  at Hannover Medical School and the Graduate College "Diagnostic and Therapeutic Concepts in Molecular Medicine" at the University of Ulm, Alexia Petersen has been working over the past year to create a follow-up workshop that builds on the foundations and skills already taught, and applies them to specific intercultural communication tasks, such as developing leadership skills for multicultural teams, conflict resolution, and optimising multicultural teams.

The 2-day workshop, which began with a kick-off review session that took place at the Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences, subsequently took place at the "Altes Forsthaus Germerode" not far outside of Göttingen.

Partly adapted from advanced workshop materials originally developed for executive managers, engineers and other professionals in the commercial sector, and partly including original materials created specifically for leadership and teamwork scenarios in an academic environment, the workshop continued to address a single pedagogical problem: although students are graduating with technical and scientific skills, especially those moving into leadership positions must be able to anticipate and pre-empt how non-scientific issues such as cultural disposition can significantly impact how scientific work is performed or negotiated.

2007/11/05 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for the Research Training Group "BioNoCo" at RWTH Aachen University

In addition to her regular work with graduate schools in other universities around Germany, it was a particular pleasure for Alexia Petersen to hold a workshop on intercultural communication for a research training group here at RWTH Aachen University.

The 2-day workshop, which took place on September 24 - 25, 2007, introduced the issues of applied intercultural communication to Ph.D students of the Research Training Group BioNoCo  ("biocatalysis using non-conventional media") and was received with great interest and engagement.

As in many other graduate programs in Germany, the group of Ph.D students represents a very multicultural team that benefits from practical intercultural communication skills both with respect to their daily work, as well as with a future international career in mind.

About BioNoCo:

Biocatalysis in non-conventional media (BioNoCo) -
An interdisciplinary research area training network at RWTH Aachen University

Understanding, developing and exploiting biocatalysis in non-conventional media is a key issue for the utilisation of white biotechnology for sustainable processes in chemical industry. This emerging research area is the focus of the new research area training network BioNoCo, which started in October 2005 for an initial funding period of four years. RWTH Aachen University (Germany) is the host of this network conducted jointly with the University of Düsseldorf and the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Embracing aspects of molecular biology, chemistry, and (bio-)chemical engineering, BioNoCo promotes interdisciplinary research and education. The focus on organic solvents, supercritical fluids, ionic liquids and gases as reaction media mirrors the core expertise of the partners. The rational extension of biocatalysis to non-conventional media will be approached by integrating optimization and adaptation of existing enzymatic catalysts, with the search for new enzyme activities and the design of new reaction engineering concepts for their implementation. This will overcome the limitations imposed by solely aqueous environments in terms of solubility, stability and down-stream processing.

The education programme provides a broad basis for chemists, molecular biologists, and chemical engineers to develop their technical and soft skills for successful careers in a highly topical area. It is embedded into national and international networks and includes interdisciplinary lectures and seminars, student exchange programmes and dedicated workshops on scientific and methodological matters.

The research area training network BioNoCo is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. At present, 20 PhD students and 2 Postdocs learn and work in interdisciplinary projects under tandem supervision by two group leaders with complementary expertise.

2007/10/31 Workshop on intercultural communication for Haniel's Student Development Program

Haniel , headquartered in Duisburg, Germany, is an internationally operating group with 55,000 employees on 5 continents in 40 countries. The group's autonomously run divisions generate annual sales of more than 27 billion Euros.

Haniel's Student Development Program  offers selected students from economics-related degree programs ("Wirtschaftswissenschaften" and "Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen") the participation in an exclusive development and support program, which also comprises a number of workshops.

Earlier this year we were invited again to give a 2-day workshop on intercultural communication for the participants of the Student Development Program. In offering this workshop to the students, Haniel would like to improve the competence of the participants with respect to a future position in the international environment of the company.

The Student Development Program aims to provide its participants with practice-oriented knowledge and experience, and includes management training as well as personal coaching by mentors. Haniel provides the students with internships in Germany and abroad that are tailored to their specific interests, and offers frequent seminars at Haniel's own corporate academy in Duisburg. Within the framework of these business seminars, which constitute a key part of the program, the participants are trained in management skills such as communication and presentation techniques.

2007/09/12 A new corporate customer: Cognis

Since early 2007, Alexia Petersen has already been invited several times to give seminars on Intercultural Business Communication for Cognis , a specialty chemicals company headquartered in Monheim near Düsseldorf.

As a globally active enterprise with an international workforce, Cognis places particular importance on the development of intercultural skills among its executives and technical specialists.

Due to the positive feedback to the orientation seminars already given, Cognis decided to add our 2.5-day workshops on intercultural communication to their "Cognis College" program.

About Cognis:

Cognis is a globally active specialty chemicals company with leading positions in many of its markets. The company has around 8,000 employees at production and service sites in 30 countries. Cognis is active in over 100 countries worldwide. In 2006, the company achieved a turnover totaling 3.372 billion euros. Cognis is represented in Germany at three sites, Düsseldorf-Holthausen, Loxstedt and Illertissen. Its headquarters are in Monheim.

Cognis evolved in 1999 from the chemicals division of Henkel, one of the leading German manufacturers of branded articles and consumer products.

Cognis is divided into four strategic company units: Care Chemicals, Nutrition & Health, Functional Products and Process Chemicals. Key customers are the cosmetics industry, detergent and cleaner industry and the nutrition and health industry. Further key products for industrial markets are paints and varnishes, textiles, lubricants, agriculture and mining. The company has a 50 percent interest in the joint venture with Cognis Oleochemicals (M) Sdn. Bhd., one of the leading suppliers of oleochemicals derived from sustainable raw materials.

2007/08/10 "Germany - Where Doing Business is all Business" (Part II)

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The sixth article in the series, titled Germany - Where Doing Business is all Business (Part II), has been published in the Spring 2007 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2007/08/09 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs

Following the success of the workshop the last three years, the organisers of three international graduate programs invited us back again for a 4th workshop on intercultural communication.

This year the weekend workshop was organised by the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  Programs at the University of Göttingen, in co-operation with the MD/PhD Molecular Medicine Program  at Hannover Medical School.

The workshop was hosted from July 20-22, 2007 in Hofgeismar, Germany. The 20 participants were sciences graduates and advanced students of medicine from 10 countries, making this once more a very international event.

Stephan Petersen opened the event on Friday evening with an introductory lecture titled Intercultural communication for scientists - Facts, data, methods: Debunking the Myth of Neutrality. The two-day workshop on intercultural communication given by Alexia Petersen followed Saturday and Sunday.

2007/08/08 Seminar at the "Ostwestfalen" Chamber of Commerce in Bielefeld

The "Ostwestfalen" Chamber of Commerce in Bielefeld  and Dr. August Oetker Nahrungsmittel KG  invited Alexia Petersen to give a seminar on intercultural business communication at the quarterly meeting of the Chamber's special interest group "purchasing and materials logistics".

The 2.5 hr seminar provided a eye-opener introduction to the main concepts of cross-cultural communication and how they impact information flow in business dialog. Using typical examples that business professionals from all walks of life inevitably encounter, the seminar first looked at those tools used by German business professionals to conduct meetings, discuss problems, make decisions, make and respond to price offers, and examining their underlying system of cultural values assumptions. From this starting point and following this cultural values-based approach, participants experienced various "light bulb moments" as they re-assess other typically familiar but "problematic" cultural behavior.

With international contacts around the world, purchasers are responsible for making and maintaining new business contacts. Typical challenges the seminar addressed, which require them to bring to the task an entirely different business "vocabulary" are, for example, how to interpret initial silence from the manufacturer following an initial request for a price quote; how to react to what appears to be an "unreasonable" offer; why many cultures talk in "circles" and say "yes" when they mean "no", how a set of communication and problem-solving tools used in Germany could be highly effective but prove entirely ineffective or even counterproductive elsewhere in the world.

The seminar took place on April 30, 2007 at "Dr. Oetker Welt" and was attended by around 40 participants.

2007/07/29 Interview for British Airways' inflight magazine "Business Life"

Dr. Stephan Petersen was interviewed for the article "Making the Most of the Multinational Office", which appeared in the May 2007 issue of Business Life .

The author of the article, Matt Farquharson, called on several intercultural communication specialists to contribute to a brief "survivor's guide to the modern multinational workplace".

"Business Life" is British Airways' inflight consumer magazine targeted at business passengers, providing entertainment for executives and covering lifestyle issues from a business perspective, and is carried on all of the airline's European routes.

Launched 20 years ago, the magazine is published monthly and has an estimated readership of almost 600,000. In 2006 it was voted "Most Effective Travel & Leisure Title" by the Association of Publishing Agencies.

2007/07/02 Workshop on intercultural communication for the "VDI Wissensforum"

The VDI Wissensforum , which is backed by the VDI (Association of German Engineers) with its 132000 members, offers approx. 650 events per year on about 300 topics for engineers, scientists, and practitioners from widely diverse branches of the economy.

We have recently been invited by the VDI Wissensforum to contribute a 2-day workshop on intercultural communication to their program. The workshop "Being Successful in International Business - Working across Borders, Communicating across Cultures", which is taught in English, is primarily targeted at engineers, managers, and executives who are active in international companies or projects, or head intercultural teams.

The first workshop will take place on October 23-24, 2007, in Offenbach near Frankfurt. Details on the event, including a flyer, can be found in our section events and dates.

2007/06/17 Talk at the "Ländertag China", RWTH Aachen University

Dr. Stephan Petersen has been invited to give a talk on intercultural communication as part of the Ländertag China, a one-day event with informational talks related to opportunities for students of RWTH Aachen University of studying in China, hosted by the university's International Office  on June 27, 2007.

His talk, titled Interkulturelle Kommunikation: Brücken und Barrieren im deutsch-chinesischen Dialog, will focus on those German-Chinese intercultural aspects which have a significant influence on academic life, for instance within the framework of a student exchange program.

From the invitation:

Heutzutage soll ein Studium die Studierenden auch effektiv auf die Anforderungen in einer globalisierten Welt vorbereiten. Daher zählen internationale Erfahrungen neben den fachlichen Qualifikationen zu den wichtigsten Ausbildungszielen.

Teilweise fehlt allerdings das "Gewusst wie" oder das letzte ausschlaggebende Fünkchen Mut. Dem kann abgeholfen werden: Der Ländertag China bietet ein abwechslungsreiches Programm zu allen relevanten Themen und informiert umfangreich darüber, warum gerade China ein interessantes und spannendes Zielland ist und wie solch ein Auslandsaufenthalt gestaltet und ins Studium integriert werden kann.

Informieren Sie sich am Ländertag China durch Vorträge und Informationsstände über Land und Leute, Studien- und Praktikamöglichkeiten in China und über die spannenden Unterschiede zur deutschen bzw. europäischen Kultur. Natürlich gibt es auch Informationen zu den Kooperationen und Austauschprogrammen der RWTH Aachen mit chinesischen Hochschulen, zu Stipendien und anderen Förderungsmöglichkeiten sowie zu Planung und Ablauf eines solchen Auslandsaufenthalts.

Nutzen Sie den Ländertag China auch zum Austausch persönlicher Erfahrungen bzw. lassen Sie sich durch Berichte über persönliche Erlebnisse informieren und für China begeistern. Für Fragen stehen unter anderem chinesische und deutsche Studierende bereit, die selber bereits entsprechende Auslandserfahrungen gemacht haben.

Auch die kulinarischen Aspekte Chinas sollen nicht zu kurz kommen. Daher gibt es kleine chinesische Snacks und auch einen Chinesisch-Kochkurs.



2007/06/14 Speech at the Master Graduation Ceremony, Maastricht University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration  at Maastricht University is one of the prominent European schools in the fields of Economics and International Business Administration. For the second year in a row the faculty ranked 1st in Economics, Econometrics and International Business in the Netherlands, and is among the few business schools worldwide who have been awarded all three relevant accreditations (AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA).

After having been invited on a number of occasions to give seminars on intercultural business communication, we recently had the honour to be invited to address the Master students from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration with a short speech during their Master Graduation Ceremony.

In his speech, Dr. Stephan Petersen highlighted the eminently positive role these young, bright graduates can play in international business, adding to the human face of globalization by utilizing their skills to bridge the gap between people from a large variety of cultures.

The festive ceremony was emceed by the program director Dr. Ursula Glunk and included speeches by Prof. Dr. Jos Lemmink, the faculty's dean, Leann Poeth-Chervenic, in her role as the faculty's alumni co-ordinator, and took place on March 7 in St. John's Church in Maastricht.

2007/06/13 Workshop at the Faculty of Tourism, Munich University of Applied Sciences

Munich University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule München) is the largest university of its kind in Bavaria and one of the largest in Germany. Its Faculty of Tourism  belongs to the largest institutions of learning in the area of tourism and hospitality management in Europe. With over 1000 students, 19 full-time professors, and approximately 60 lecturers, it's also the fastest growing faculty at the university.

Prof. Dr. Antonie Bauer of the Faculty of Tourism invited Alexia Petersen to give a 2-day workshop for students of various levels, which took place on May 23 - 24, 2007. The applications-focused workshop provided an important complement to the students' course of studies, which includes lectures on intercultural communication. The workshop was also attended by several professors of the faculty.

2007/05/21 Short presentation on intercultural communication at the "Meuse-Rhine Triangle Investment Award 2007" ceremony

In the tri-national border region of Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, four regional development agencies have joined forces across national frontiers with the initiative Meuse Rhine Triangle - Heartbeat of Business in Europe  to provide international businesses with the best advice possible.

In April, the MRT initative presented the "Meuse Rhine Triangle Investment Awards 2007" to those foreign companies who have distinguished themselves as investors in this region during the past 3 years. The award ceremony was held on April 24, 2007, at Schloss Rahe in Aachen.

In addition to speeches by Mart Dijk, Project Manager at "Heartbeat of Business", and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Minister-President of Belgiumís German-speaking region, as well as addresses from representatives of the 4 regional development agencies involved who introduced their nominees, Dr. Stephan Petersen was invited to give a short presentation on the topic of intercultural communication, illustrating how and why it affects international business.

During the event, Quanta Computer (Aachen, Germany), Hanssen Transmissions (Lommel, Province Limburg, Belgium), Lyreco (Vottem, Province Liege, Belgium), and Solland Solar (Heerlen, The Netherlands) received the awards for their respective regions, while the Ford Motor Company with its production plant in Genk (Province Limburg, Belgium) was awarded a special overall prize.

2007/05/20 "Germany - Where Doing Business is all Business"

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The fifth article in the series, titled Germany - Where Doing Business is all Business (Part I), has been published in the Winter 2007 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2007/04/20 Teaching assignment at the University of Cooperative Education Mannheim

Dr. Stephan Petersen was invited by the University of Cooperative Education Mannheim (Berufsakademie Mannheim) to teach a course on "Intercultural Communication and Management" to students of the program International Business Information Technology .

This bilingual program, directed by Prof. Dr. Rainer Hoch, provides its students not only with courses in the key areas business administration and information technology, but adds intercultural communication and management as a third focus. Not only due to the intercultural topics taught is this program unique in Germany.

The two-day practise-oriented workshop was taught to 2nd year students in April 2007.

2007/04/19 RWTH Aachen Alumni Homecoming 2007

The RWTH Aachen Alumni Team  invites all alumni of RWTH Aachen University to this year's Homecoming, which will take place from June 25 to July 1, 2007.

The week-long program features a series of events, such as educational seminars and workshops, informational talks on topics relating to the Excellence Initiative at RWTH, and also many opportunities for social and intercultural exchange.

The organizers have invited Alexia & Stephan Petersen to contribute a seminar on intercultural communication in the global workplace. The event "Kommunikation über die Grenzen hinaus - Interkulturelle Verständigung in einer globalisierten Arbeitswelt" (in German) will offer all interested participants an introduction into a fascinating and relevant topic. The trainers will also provide insights into their teaching and training activities, which brought them not only to RWTH Aachen, but also to numerous other universities and internationally-active companies.

The half-day seminar in German will take place on June 28, 2007. Registration for this event, as for all events of the Homecoming program, is handled by the Alumni-Team.

2007/03/13 Second part of the article for the magazine "BusinessForum China" published

Last year, the Delegation of German Industry & Commerce Shanghai  invited Alexia & Stephan Petersen to write an article on practical guidelines for German-Chinese cross-cultural communication for one of its publication, the InfoGuide Germany 2006/07, targeted at a general readership of Chinese business professionals with an interest in establishing business contacts with Germans.

Following this, Alexia Petersen was again invited to contribute a two-part feature article on the larger issues of intercultural communication in the global workplace for its magazine BusinessForum China. The second part of the article, Trading Across Borders, Communicating Across Cultures, has now been published in issue 1/07 of the magazine. Details on the article can be found in our publication section.

2007/03/12 Learning Session at Shell Chemicals, Rotterdam

Shell Chemicals  in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, has recently invited Alexia Petersen to give a seminar on intercultural communication.

Shell Chemicals, a multinational company with a multicultural workforce, regularly organizes teaching and training activities for its managers and employees. A part of this program consists of quarterly Lunch & Learn sessions, to which the company invites internal and external speakers who introduce topics relevant to the participants.

Mirjam Martin, who is with the European Customer Service Center at Shell Chemicals in Rotterdam, and who as a student was a participant of one of our Workshops on Intercultural Communication at RWTH Aachen University, invited Alexia to give an introductory seminar on intercultural communication for a recent Lunch & Learn session.

Given the emphasis Shell Chemical places on diversity and inclusiveness training for its employees, Alexia's presentation specifically addressed how culture impacts synergistic team-building, effective leadership of multicultural teams, and how these skills can be trained, thereby placing Shell's diversity & inclusiveness approach into perspective of larger intercultural communication issues.

Due to the large number of participants who signed up for the seminar, Alexia presented two sessions in one day. As a result of the very positive feedback, future sessions, as well as a follow-up full-length workshop are discussed.

2006/01/07 Two-part article for the magazine "BusinessForum China"

Last year, the Delegation of German Industry & Commerce Shanghai  invited Alexia & Stephan Petersen to write an article on practical guidelines for German-Chinese cross-cultural communication for one of its publication, the InfoGuide Germany 2006/07, targeted at a general readership of Chinese business professionals with an interest in establishing business contacts with Germans.

Following this, Alexia Petersen was again invited to contribute a two-part feature article on the larger issues of intercultural communication in the global workplace for its magazine BusinessForum China. The first part of the article, Trading Across Borders, Communicating Across Cultures, has now been published in issue 6/06 of the magazine. Details on the article can be found in our publication section.

2007/01/03 Workshop for administrative staff at RWTH Aachen University

Having taught seminars and workshops on intercultural communication for administrative staff at several universities, we have now been invited by RWTH Aachen University to conduct a similar event within the framework of its continuing education program.

The aim of this two-day workshop, which will be conducted in English, is to provide a foundation of knowledge in the area of intercultural communication and facilitate the transfer of knowledge into functional skills in dealing effectively with foreign students and guests.

The workshop provides a highly practice-relevant conceptual framework by which to identify and understand the fundamentally different communication styles encountered along the global spectrum. Working with key examples and case studies, learners come to identify when, and above all why tensions, conflicts and misunderstandings regularly arise out of prototypical day-to-day activities in university life. Further work in group activities and simulations provide participants of the workshop the opportunity to utilise their tools in translating their acquired knowledge into problem-solving skills.

This workshop is primarily targeted at the administrative staff of the university, who, in their daily work, regularly interact with foreign students and guest scientists (e.g. personnel in the International Office, Registrar's Office, Central Examination Office, and Human Resource Department).

The two-day workshop (course number WB 13/2007) will take place for the first time on March 12 - 13, 2007. More information can be obtained from the RWTH web site ( Weiterbildung für das nichtwissenschaftliche Personal ).

2007/01/01 Workshop within the framework of the Ph.D programme "Cognitive Science" at the University of Osnabrück

The Institute of Cognitive Sciences at the University of Osnabrück  invited Alexia Petersen to teach a workshop on intercultural communication within the framework of the international Ph.D programme "Cognitive Science". The two-day event, which took place in Osnabrück in December 2006, was attended by an international group of Ph.D students.

About the Cognitive Science Programmes at the University of Osnabrück:

The Bachelor, Master's & Ph.D programmes in Osnabrück are the first substantial Cognitive Science programmes offered in Germany. Within the largely method-oriented six-semester Bachelor programme, students will be able to obtain a "Bachelor of Science" in Cognitive Science. The four-semester Master's programme treats phenomenological areas of cognition theoretically, empirically and by way of implementation. At the end of the Master's programme, the students can obtain a "Master of Science" degree in Cognitive Science. The Ph.D Programme is a curricular programme enabling students to achieve a "Ph.D in Cognitive Science" within three years. Doctorate students will carry out independent research in promising and highly active areas of Cognitive Science.

Being an international course of study advertised and supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and supported by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology (BMBF), the programme aims at attracting an equal number of German and foreign students, employs the Bachelor and Master's degrees, and the ECTS credit system which make the programme internationally comparable. The language of instruction is English. Foreign students who wish to study in Germany are given an opportunity to do so, while at the same time the course of study covers an obvious need in Germany.

2006/12/20 "Doing Business and Working with Canadians", seminar dates 2007

We have recently set the dates for our seminars Doing Business and Working with Canadians for 2007 festgelegt, which are hosted by the Global Competence Forum :

  • Stuttgart, July 3 - 4, 2007
  • Munich, December 13 - 14, 2007
Details on the seminars can be found in our section events and dates. We would be happy to welcome you to one of these events.

2006/12/19 Seminar for the "Research Project Maastricht"

After having been invited to give seminars at Maastricht University on several occasions, we were contacted by members of the Research Project Maastricht  (RPM) about providing them with a seminar on intercultural communication focussing on Southeast Asia.

The Research Project Maastricht is a student initiative which has been conducted annually since 1989. The goal of this project, which is supported by Maastricht University, a consulting company, multinationals, and Dutch government agencies, is to carry out company specific market research abroad on a non-profit basis which is best suited for companies with international ambitions. In previous years, research has been completed in emerging economies like Chile, Mexico, Brazil, India, and China. For the current project, a multi-disciplinary team of fourteen carefully selected students, all in the final stage of their studies, will investigate the opportunities for companies in Vietnam and Malaysia between January and April 2007.

In addition to a stay of four months in Vietnam and Malaysia, ten months of extensive preparation in The Netherlands ensures that the members possess unique country specific knowledge and experience. Moreover, training sessions and coaching in the field of project management are provided by Dutch government agencies and multinationals.

Our seminar, which we conducted in November 2006 for the fourteen students, was part of the preparation process before the group travels to Southeast Asia in January 2007.

2006/12/17 "Mexico - Where Taking it Personally is Good for Business"

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The forth article in the series, titled Mexico - Where Taking it Personally is Good for Business, has been published in the Fall 2006 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2006/12/16 Career-training for female students at RWTH Aachen University

Women are still underrepresented in the German economy, particularly in executive positions, despite the fact that female student outnumber their male counterparts at the universities.

To prepare female students of the RWTH Aachen University  for executive positions, the university's bureau of equality has been offering career-training for female students since the winter semester 2001/2002. This pilot project is one of the cornerstones of the university's promotion of female graduates.

The seminar series consists of eight parts and offers personality-oriented training elements as well as subject-specific information. It is organised by the RWTH's bureau of equality in co-operation with the Sparkasse Aachen .

For the winter semester 2004/2005 the formerly seven-part series was extended for the first time by an eighth event. Alexia Petersen had been invited by the Sparkasse Aachen and the university's bureau of equality to offer a workshop on intercultural communication for the participants of the seminar series, who, just as in the previous years, have been selected from a large number of applicants.

After the very positive echo to the first workshop, as well as to the repeat seminar last winter semester, the organisers invited us back again to give the workshop this winter semester, which took place beginning of December 2006.

The workshop on intercultural communication is based on the version we have given numerous times for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen, with particular emphasis on topics relevant for female executives.

2006/11/22 Guest lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

On October 20, Alexia Petersen was invited to give a guest lecture on intercultural communication at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dr. Sigrid Berka, Managing Director of Placements and Industrial Relations at the MIT-Germany program of MISTI  (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives), and Dr. Serenella Sferza, Co-Director of the MIT-Italy Program at MISTI, invited Alexia Petersen to contribute a guest lecture in Dr. Sferza's class "Working in the Global Economy", a core course in the Minor in Applied International Studies.

The lecture, attended both by Dr. Berka's and Dr. Sferza's students, provided an introduction to the basic cross-cultural communication principles issues that impact communication in the international workplace, drawing on examples of typical scenarios that continue to present challenges to professional in their daily work across cultures.

This lecture aimed to provide students with not only a glimpse of the realities of a globalised workplace, but also the tools that are available for facilitating the important transfer of foundational knowledge into usable skills for effective decision-making.

About MISTI:

Since 1994, MISTI has been providing MIT students and faculty with the skills and opportunities to create new knowledge through:

  • intensive professional internships for culturally aware MIT students in companies, research laboratories, and universities around the world
  • support of MIT faculty for cross-border research collaborations
  • facilitating research opportunities for international students and postdoctoral visitors at MIT
  • providing MIT students with study-abroad opportunities at selected universities abroad
  • working with corporations, government, and non-governmental organizations to internationalize industry, education, and research
  • organizing meetings, conferences, and training workshops with sponsor companies, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
Over the last ten years, MISTI has placed more than 1,700 MIT students as interns in labs and offices from Beijing to Berlin. Currently MISTI has country programs in China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Singapore. Before their departure interns are trained in the language and culture of the host country. MISTI participants emerge from their stays abroad with the capacity to build enduring professional relationships across national and cultural boundaries.

2006/11/21 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA in Logistikmanagement" at Universität St. Gallen

After the highly positive feedback of the participants in the "Executive MBA for Technology Managers" program to Alexia Petersen's workshop on intercultural communication at RWTH Aachen University, the organizers of the Executive MBA in Logistikmanagement  at the "Kühne-Institut für Logistik" (Universität St. Gallen) have invited us to contribute a similar workshop for this equally unique program.

The "Workshop on Intercultural Business Communication", was taught by Alexia Petersen as part of the module "Global Logistics Management" (Prof. Dr. Ricardo Ernst) and took place in October in Switzerland.

The 2-day workshop is designed to offer candidates the opportunity to develop their knowledge base and skills in the area of intercultural communication. In particular, the workshop is conceptualised to facilitate the transfer of knowledge into practical skills, delivering a "toolbox" of guidelines and strategies with which to deal with classic "set pieces" in cross-cultural communications, such as conducting meetings, negotiating contracts and deadlines, managing conflicts, optimising multicultural teams, and providing leadership.

The aim and approach taken in this workshop is not to provide simplified and formulaic country-specific checklists for logistics and supply chain managers on "how to do business with Turkey or China". Much more essential for business professionals who have to deal with an often unpredictably wide range of partners is to develop effective long-term skills that enable them to distinguish cultural issues in business, and to react effectively in tricky cross-cultural situations, regardless of where their partner may come from.

2006/11/14 Article on intercultural communication in Chinese

The Delegation of German Industry & Commerce Shanghai  has invited Alexia and Stephan Petersen to contribute an article on intercultural communication for the 2006/2007 edition of their publication InfoGuide Germany.

The article, just as the entire guide book, is written for the target group of Chinese visitors to Germany as well as those doing buisness with Germans in China. Since the InfoGuide Germany is published entirely in the Chinese language, are article, though originally written in English, was translated locally into Chinese.

Given that the Chinese and German communication styles are so different, the article introduces the basics of intercultural communication and highlights those issues particularly relevant for the Chinese-German business relationship, looking at how to make most out of new contacts, providing practical tips for how to adjust to the German business communication style and to avoid unnecessary miscommunication and pitfalls.

Details on the InfoGuide Germany 2006/07 can be found in our publication section.

2006/09/28 Workshop for the "International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences"

The International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences: From Biology to Medicine  in Martinsried near Munich has invited Alexia Petersen to give a two-day workshop on intercultural communication for the students of the PhD program.

The workshop took place end of September in Martinsried and received excellent feedback from both the international group of PhD students, as well as from the organisers.

About the IMPRS-LS:

The "International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences: From Biology to Medicine" (IMPRS-LS) is jointly conducted by the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in cooperation with the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and the Technical University Munich. The school offers an international PhD program in life sciences covering areas of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular medicine, neurobiology and structural biology. The 3 year program, entirely taught in English, provides comprehensive scientific training in a superb and vibrant research environment with state of the art facilities and cutting edge research projects. The doctoral degree will be awarded by one of the two Munich universities, both of which are amongst the highest ranking universities in Germany. Students can specialize in one of five major disciplines that form parallel but interlinked tracts thereby creating an interdisciplinary context to promote the ability of cross-frontier thinking. Laboratory work will be supplemented by seminars, summer schools, elective courses, training in soft skills and participation in international conferences.

2006/09/17 Introductory seminar on intercultural communication for students at Aachen University of Applied Sciences

The organisers of the AcUAS (Aachen University of Applied Sciences) - SUT (Sharif University of Technology) - Collaboration Program  have invited Alexia Petersen to give an introductory seminar for Iranian students currently studying at AcUAS.

This event, taking place on the Jülich campus on October 5, 2006, is open to all interested students at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences.

About the cooperation:

Since 2003 the FH Aachen (Aachen University of Applied Sciences, AcUAS) and the Sharif University of Technology (SUT), Teheran, have been cooperating on providing Iranian students with an opportunity to obtain a German degree qualification in various disciplines. The Iranian partners are interested in offering an engineering course with emphasis placed on practical training in the manner of the German Technical Universities. The language of instruction in Iran is English and at the end of the study during the stay in Germany German.

With over 8000 students and more than 220 professors as well as about 200 lecturers and another 450 staff members at its two locations, Aachen and Jülich, the AcUAS (FH Aachen) ranks among the largest universities of applied sciences in Germany. In addition to a broad spectrum of engineering sciences, the range of programs on offer also includes Design and Economics. While AcUAS was founded in 1971, some predecessor institutions can look back on a partly centennial tradition.

SUT is one of the largest engineering schools in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was established in 1966 under the name of Aryarmehr University of Technology, and renamed to Sharif University of Technology in 1980. SUT now has a total of 300 full-time faculty members, approximately 430 part-time faculty members and a student body of about 8,000.

2006/09/04 "Talking to Italians"

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The third article in the series, titled Talking to Italians, has been published in the Summer 2006 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2006/08/27 Seminar at the Oetker Group's buyers meeting

As it does every two years, the Handelsgesellschaft Sparrenberg mbH (HGS), which is part of the Oetker Group , has hosted a meeting of buyers from 18 companies belonging to the food and beverages divisions of the Oetker Group to exchange information and experience from their sector. HGS co-ordinates the common purchasing interests of all Oetker Group companies and provides them with up-to-date and structured information on the relevant markets.

This year's event took place in mid-May at the Oetker Group's international headquarters in Bielefeld, Germany, with 59 buyers from 11 countries in attendance.

The main topic of this year's meeting was "cross-cultural business communication", which company management considers to be an issue that is constantly gaining in importance. The challenges in this area are not only due to the increasingly internationalised presence of the Oetker Group in various countries, but are also caused by a progressing concentration of local supplier markets, making it necessary to look beyond borders when developing new and securing existing reliable supply channels.

While Alexia Petersen has trained smaller groups of managers and purchasers at Dr. Oetker  on several occasions, the aim of this more compacted half-day seminar was to introduce the topic of intercultural communication to a larger audience within the Oetker Group. Alexia Petersen illustrated in her seminar how the presence or absence of intercultural communication skills is a determining factor of how successful a company can be in the global marketplace.

Specifically, however, the seminar highlighted the potential risks and pitfalls for this target group and those immediate issues which impact the "buyer's business path" - from making initial contact, to negotiating price, to the building of a business relationship beyond the signing of a contract - by providing a structured approach to understanding the profound differences between cultures and how these play out in such business "set pieces".

The seminar was received with great enthusiasm by the event organisers and participants alike.

2006/07/20 "Communicating with Canadians - Comfortably Familiar, Surprisingly Challenging"

Between 2002 and 2005 Alexia Petersen contributed a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International. Though this series has now ended, her partnership with the magazine contines.

Such was the case when the editors invited her to contribute a feature article on intercultural communication focussing on Canada for the current issue. Titled Communicating with Canadians - Comfortably Familiar, Surprisingly Challenging, it has been published in issue 2/2006 (July 2006).

From the introduction: International business, especially where joint ventures or prolonged negotiations are involved, is fraught with difficulties. Even between such traditionally compatible business communication cultures as Germany and Canada, the presence or absence of intercultural communication skills can make or break a deal. In the least, incalculable benefits and potential can be wasted, and opportunities missed. Germans with a commitment to doing business with Canadians need to know not only what to expect but, more importantly, why it is that way in order to asses how they should react.

An up-to-date overview of Alexia Petersen's articles for "Personal.Manager - HR International" can be found here.

2006/07/17 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs

Following the success of the workshop the last two years, the organisers of three international graduate programs invited us back this year for a 3rd workshop on intercultural communication.

This year the weekend workshop was organised by the MD/PhD Molecular Medicine Program  at Hannover Medical School, in co-operation with the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  Programs at the University of Göttingen.

The workshop was hosted from June 16-18, 2006 in Springe, Germany. The 21 participants were sciences graduates and advanced students of medicine from 11 countries, making this once more a very international event.

Stephan Petersen opened the event on Friday evening with an introductory lecture titled Intercultural communication for scientists - Facts, data, methods: Debunking the Myth of Neutrality. The two-day workshop on intercultural communication given by Alexia Petersen followed Saturday and Sunday.

2006/07/09 New mailing list for the announcement of the "RWTH Workshops on Intercultural Communication"

The dates for our RWTH Workshops on Intercultural Communication, which take place twice every semester for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen University, are announced regularly through our newsletter mailing list.

Several institutes and student organisations at RWTH Aachen University have suggested that we create a new announcement mailing which exclusively informs its subscribers about new new dates and current information about these workshops.

We are of course happy to take up this suggestion; the new mailing list RWTH_WIC_ANNOUNCE is now open for everyone to sign up to using a small web form. Whenever new dates for the workshop have been finalized, all subscribers are informed immediately.

2006/05/12 Lecture at the Universiteit Maastricht's Alumni Day

In 2006, the Universiteit Maastricht  celebrates its 30th anniversary, with a variety of activities taking place during this anniversary year.

One of the major anniversary events, the Alumni Day , will take place on June 10, 2006. Before the central festive programme with non-stop theatre, music, and dance performed by artists from all over the world starts in the afternoon, all faculties will be offering an interesting programme with debates, lectures, and workshops.

After the highly positive response to Alexia Petersen's first seminar at the Universiteit Maastricht earlier this year, the organisers of the Alumni Day have invited her to contribute one of the lectures for the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration .

Her contribution, "Intercultural Communication: An essential skill in a globalised world", will complement the faculty's selection of lectures and talks under the theme "Challenges of the Future" on topics such as innovation, entrepreneurship, charity economy, and artificial intelligence.

From the announcement of Alexia Petersen's lecture:

The challenge of an increasingly internationalised business playing field is the ability to assess reasonably accurately the impact of cultural variables on the day-to-day planning and execution of business objectives. What is the global spectrum of differences and similarities in the "rules of engagement" of cross-cultural business communication? Why do many management tactics simply not travel well? How can the presence or absence of intercultural communication skills break or make a deal? How can one, despite "perfect" foreign language skills, still be an ineffective cross-cultural communicator? This interactive lecture will provide a framework for understanding and facilitating cross-cultural dialogue, as well as numerous eye-opening examples from the speaker's experience as a teacher and trainer of intercultural communication.

About the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration:

The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEBA) at the Universiteit Maastricht (UM) is a high-level European school or faculty in the fields of Economics and International Business Administration. FEBA provides high-quality education to students, conducts excellent research, and offers an international perspective in both education and research. The emphasis on skills development prepares students optimally for the needs of the European knowledge society. Rankings by the authoritative, national Choice Guide for Higher Education, and the leading Dutch business magazine (Elsevier) feature FEBA almost continuously in the number one position for its degree programmes. Particularly UMís learning environment is highly valued by students and collegiate peers. The international learning environment of students is composed of an overall student population (bachelor and masters) with 66 different nationalities.

2006/05/11 A new corporate customer: Dr. Oetker

Dr. Oetker  is Germany's most popular food brand, and is also continuously expanding internationally.

Since late 2005, Alexia Petersen has already been invited several times to give seminars on Intercultural Business Communication for the family-owned enterprise headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany.

About Dr. Oetker:

Almost all consumers - the figure in Germany is 96 per cent - know the Dr. Oetker brand. Independent, representative surveys have repeatedly shown that Dr. Oetker occupies top place among German food brands, and also ranks among the most trusted food brands in Europe.

As a major branded goods enterprise in the food industry, Dr. Oetker is represented in the retail food trade with some 350 different products, and is market leader in almost all its German product lines. The majority of its products belong in the dry-shelf goods category, which encompasses baking goods, baking mixes, dry ready meals, dessert products, preserving articles and muesli. Further assortments are chilled dairy products, frozen pizzas and snacks.

With its roots in its headquarters in Bielefeld, the Dr. Oetker family enterprise increasingly pursues its business activities internationally. Production and sales companies operate not only in all European countries, but also in Canada and Brazil. In Europe, Dr. Oetker takes a leading role in the pizza, dessert and baking sectors, and offers a total of some 3,500 different products. The internationalisation of the business will continue to be driven forward.

For both the German and international market, five plants in Germany manufacture the Dr. Oetker assortment. The production plants in Region West are located in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada and Brazil. In Region East, production is carried out at works in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Turkey.

Dr. Oetker directs very special attention to issues in the field of human resources, in order to lastingly safeguard employment and retain employees longterm whenever possible. Long periods of service underscore the high degree of identification of staff with the company, which provides not only career perspectives, but also a broad and diverse array of social benefits.

2006/05/10 Invited talk at the international conference "Petfood Update 2006"

Dr. Stephan Petersen has been invited to give a keynote talk on intercultural communication with a focus on China at the international conference "Petfood Update 2006".

The Central College of the German Confectionery Industry (ZDS)  enjoys worldwide renown as center for training and personnel development for all sectors of the confectionery industry. The ZDS trains and educates technical experts in the field of confectionery technology and provides skills in food technology. It also offers special courses to prepare for state examinations as industrial supervisor and certified food technician.

Apart from courses and conferences in the confectionery sector, it hosts events in related fields, such as "Petfood Update", an annual international practice-oriented conference on the latest developments of the manufacturing technology of pet food and all other related areas.

This year's conference, which takes place on June 19 - 20, 2006, at the ZDS in Solingen, Germany, includes a special focus on China. Dr. Stephan Petersen has been invited to give a short talk on intercultural communication, providing participants with initial insights into the risks and potentials when communicating with Chinese partners. His talk, "Trading across borders, communicating across cultures: Intercultural business communication in China", will open the conference on Monday, June 19.



2006/05/09 Workshop on intercultural communication for Asian students at the University of Hannover, Germany

In March 2006 Alexia Petersen conducted the first of several planned 2-day workshops in German on intercultural communication for the University of Hannover , Germany.

The university's International Office invited her to train students from Vietnam and China, who are in their first year of studies at the University of Hannover, to help them better adjust to the German academic communication culture.

Especially for students from Asia, it can be particularly difficult to even recognise and then adjust to the often quite different "unwritten rules" of German communication. These culture-based differences in behaviour involve values and expectations attached to the role of the teacher, which significantly affects the teacher-student dynamic; teaching methods and technique; ways in which respect is shown; the teacher's approach to assessing student performance; and the typical approach to problem-solving and discussion expected in German academic and scientific work. In order to succeed in the different German academic communication culture, the students need to be aware of what different communication behaviour to expect, why interpersonal communication can appear to be so different in Germany and how to deal with them effectively.

This seminar, which we give at various universities in a similar form, is designed to help students to adjust to German academic social life as early on in their stay as possible, enabling them to avoid typical cross-cultural communication problems with fellow students, professors, administrative staff, and daily social contact at large.

2006/05/01 "Your Passage to India"

Since beginning of 2006, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Each article of this column describes typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods, and provides tips on how to overcome communication barriers.

The second article in the series, titled Your Passage to India, has been published in the Spring 2006 issue of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2006/04/06 Presentation at the "Wirtschaftsforum China", Duisburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the Lower Rhine Region has invited us to give a short talk as part of their event "Wirtschaftsforum China".

The event, jointly hosted by all Chambers of Industry and Commerce of the Ruhr Area, takes places on May 15, 2006 in Duisburg and primarily addresses companies that have little or no experience with the Chinese market.

Our talk ("Die wichtigsten interkulturellen Kommunikationshürden im Umgang mit chinesischen Geschäftspartnern") is meant to provide participants with initial insights into the risks and potentials when communicating with Chinese partners.



2006/04/05 Lecture on Intercultural Communication and Leadership for students at Maastricht University

Alexia Petersen was invited by Professor Mariëlle Heijltjes of the Department of Organization & Strategy (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration) at Maastricht University to give a lecture on Intercultural Communication and Leadership on March 24th, 2006.

Professor Heijltjes' students are Master students of the "International Business Programme" at the University of Maastricht, and this lecture offered essential perspectives to one of the focuses on leadership in cultural diversity within the course "Communication and Leadership".

2006/04/04 "Intercultural Communication: An essential skill in a globalised world"

The Aachen Regional Chapter of B.F.B.M. (Bundesverband der Frau im freien Beruf und Management) has invited Alexia Petersen to give a talk on intercultural communication.

On September 13, 2006, Alexia Petersen will offer insights into the topic in her talk "Intercultural Communication: An essential skill in a globalised world".

More information on this event, which is also open to non-members, is available in the section events and dates.

2006/03/08 Introductory seminar in intercultural communication within the RWTH Orientation Week of events for new foreign students

In the past few years we have frequently been invited by different faculties and institutes of the RWTH Aachen University to give orientation seminars on intercultural communication to international students coming to German universities for long-term study or shorter exchange programs. This spring the RWTH Aachen will be including such a seminar in its official Orientation Week of events for incoming foreign students of all faculties.

In response to the very positive feedback to date of the participants to these seminars, the International Office of the RWTH Aachen has invited Alexia Petersen to present an introduction to intercultural communication, in German, to the group of new students for the Summer Semester during Orientation Week.

Especially for the many students coming to the RWTH from outside Northern Europe, it can be particularly difficult to even recognise and then adjust to the often quite different "unwritten rules" of communication. These culture-based differences in behaviour involve values and expectations attached to the role of the teacher, which significantly affects the teacher-student dynamic; teaching methods and technique; ways in which respect is shown; the teacher's approach to assessing student performance; and the typical approach to problem-solving and discussion expected in German academic and scientific work. In order to succeed in the different German academic communication culture, the students need to be aware of what different communication behaviour to expect, why interpersonal communication can appear to be so different in Germany and how to deal with them effectively. This seminar is designed to help students to adjust to German academic social life as early on in their stay as possible, enabling them to avoid typical cross-cultural communication problems with fellow students, professors, administrative staff, and daily social contact at large.

The seminar will take place on Thursday, March 30, 2006. Further information about the week of programs can be found at the web site of the International Office .

2006/03/05 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA for Technology Managers"

Since Spring 2004 RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) have offered an exceptional postgraduate course. The new Executive MBA for Technology Managers  program is primarily targeted at engineers who already possess professional and leadership experience and would like to acquire the necessary skills to qualify for top management positions.

For the 2004/2005 course we were invited to contribute a two-day "Workshop on Intercultural Business Communication" to this unique program. The workshop, taught by Alexia Petersen, is part of the module "International Management", which is organised by Prof. Michael Woywode, head of the Institute of International Management at RWTH Aachen University.

Due to the highly positive feedback to this workshop we have been invited back for the 2005/2006 course, which was taught by Alexia Petersen at the end of February/beginning of March 2006, to equally positive response from the participants.

The goal of RWTH and HSG, representing an "alliance of the best", was the creation of a program aimed at preparing engineers faster and better for high-level executive positions. The 2 year program hosted jointly by both universities, which count among the most distinguished in the field of engineering as well as management, is tailored to the methods of thinking, learning, and training of engineers and natural scientists. It enables this target group to acquire the knowledge and skills required for executive positions in an especially effective manner.

This program is unique in Germany: The "Executive MBA for Technology Managers" is the postgraduate course for engineers of excellence on their way to top management positions. The participants acquire economic and leadership skills, together with technology and management know-how to head entire enterprises or larger company units in an integrated and confident manner. The program consists of 20 modules and courses and includes technology trend sessions, informal chats with top managers, business simulations, a study trip abroad (e.g. Asia), optional external modules (e.g. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)), and a Master's thesis. The EQUIS and AACSB accredited program ranks among the ten best German-language Executive MBA programs.

2006/03/04 Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce: Intercultural Communication for IT Professionals

Since 2002 the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce have offered the new IT training courses according to the restructured IT continuing taining system. These courses are also offered at the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce , which includes courses for the specialist profiles "IT Business Manager" ("IT-Projektleiter/in") and "IT Business Consultant" ("IT-Berater/in"). In addition to a technical and methodological focus, the third track of the program for these two "operative professionals" aims to provide advanced social skills, to which we were invited by the Chamber of Commerce Aachen to contribute a course block on intercultural communication.

Recent studies of the typical problems which endanger the success of larger IT projects show that technical reasons are comparatively seldom the major factor. More often than not, the reasons lie in project management and different approaches to teamwork. Solving such problems is tricky enough between members of one culture, but when project members or customers are culturally diverse, intercultural communication skills are indispensable.

The first intercultural communication course block, which consists of 4 evenings and one Saturday session, took place in early 2005. Due to the very positive feedback from the participants, the organisers have invited us back in 2006 to repeat the workshop for the current class.

As the course language is English, and part of the course focussed on its use as a tool in intercultural communication, the participants also have the opportunity to test their English skills in various exercises and simulations.

2006/02/28 "The Many Hierarchies of International Business: Are You Prepared?"

Due to the positive feedback to the 2-part article on intercultural communication for the magazine partners, the publishers at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto  have invited Alexia Petersen to contribute a regular column on intercultural communication issues for the magazine.

The first article, The Many Hierarchies of International Business: Are You Prepared?, appeared in the Winter 2006 issue, which was published recently. Each article of this column will describe typical cross-cultural interactions, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2006/01/31 Suggested Reading and Bibliography on Intercultural Communication updated

We are happy to present you with an updated and expanded reading list on intercultural communication. Several titles have been added, all of the books listed are highly recommended for the learner who wishes to deepen his/her interest of intercultural communication, and to develop skills for professional applications.

Please take note that the titles listed in the sub-category "Applications: intercultural communication issues for international negotiation" provide excellent overviews of the range of cultural dimensions which impact any form of negotiation . Concepts such as face and differences in cultural self-image - two aspects that often plague cross-cultural negotiations - are central to deciphering the "cultural line of logic" of one's negotiating partner and acquiring a degree of transparency for his/her behaviour. Different approaches to conflict management, the role of ceremony, the construction of persuasive argumentation, styles of decision-making, and the role of language skills, to name a few, are explored in the framework of the low context communication style for clarity; and the high context communication style of face-giving and agreeableness. Effective negotiation is predicated on an accurate reading of the opponent's role behaviour and the the verbal and non-verbal signals that propel discussions forward. Misinterpreting the cultural behaviour for personal idiosyncrasies or, worse, tactical manoeuvring can be fatal at a crucial stage in the relationship-building between two parties.

Other important considerations in cross-cultural negotiations, big or small, formal or informal, are listening strategies, and using language to bridge the cultural gap. Each of these books also provide very helpful guidelines that help the reader to define effective strategies and tactics in preparation for cross-cultural negotiations. As with any framework in intercultural communication training, effective preparation begins with recognising which of the negotiation principles one has learned can cross cultural borders.

For guidelines referring to culture-specific attitudes and approaches to negotiations, see the titles listed under "culture-specific readings".

2006/01/30 "Do you just speak a language well, or communicate effectively with a culture?"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The twelveth and concluding article in the series, titled Do you just speak a language well, or communicate effectively with a culture?, has been published in issue 4/2005 (December 2005) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

We hope that our readers have enjoyed the series. Alexia Petersen looks forward to continuing her writings on cross-cultural business issues in her new column for partners, the official quarterly magazine of the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Toronto.

2006/01/11 Wharton Women Business Conference 2006

Alexia Petersen has been invited as a panellist to the Wharton Women Business Conference 2006, which takes place on February 3rd, 2006, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, U.S.A.

The Wharton School  at the University of Pennsylvania, the largest global business school, is also the oldest business school in the United States, and one of the world's most respected.

The Wharton Undergraduate Womens Association  ("Wharton Women"), in cooperation with Ernst & Young, hosts the annual Wharton Women Business Conference, with well-known keynote speakers and panellists from a variety of professional backgrounds.

Alexia Petersen has been invited to be one of the three panellists in the panel "International Etiquette: Minding Your Manners Worldwide".

Alexia Petersen will provide insights into the trickier and less familiar East Asian and European business etiquette for North American professionals and how these differences can present unnecessary but serious barriers to business relationships. She will also focus on how seemingly superficial conventions of behaviour are often clues to much more significant cultural differences. What cumulative effect can etiquette and social behaviour have, for example, in the symbolic face-giving dialogue typical of relationship-based cultures? What information is communicated with etiquette that is more important than politeness and courtesy in day-to day business interactions? And, if etiquette is infused with significant meaning that can reflect another culture's very different and unfamiliar core values, how does one communicate etiquette authentically?

About Wharton:

The Wharton School is recognized around the world for its innovative leadership and broad academic strengths across every major discipline and at every level of business education. Founded in 1881 as the nation's first collegiate business school, Wharton is dedicated to creating the highest value and impact on the practice of business and management worldwide through intellectual leadership and innovation in teaching, research, publishing, and service.

About Wharton Women:

Wharton Women is the largest paid-member undergraduate student organization at the University of Pennsylvania. It facilitates the personal and career development of females in business by building a network of exceptional undergraduates, professionals and faculty. It aims to provide direction, insight, and camaraderie to women from all four of Penn's undergraduate schools who are interested in business or intend to enter the business world upon graduation. By promoting interaction between women with the intent to foster long-term relationships and offering exceptional resources, Wharton Women seeks to help students maximize their university experience.

2006/01/10 Seminar for Indian DAAD Scholarship Students

After the excellent feedback Alexia Petersen received for a half-day seminar on intercultural communication for Indian DAAD scholarship students in 2003, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  recently invited her back to give the same seminar for the current group of exchange students.

75 Indian students are currently participants of the "IIT Master Sandwich Program", encompassing an exchange of students between the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati, Roorkee) and six German Technical Universities (Aachen, Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Munich). Established in 1950, Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) have become synonymous with excellence in technology and engineering education in India. Among the participants were also scholarship students from the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, and Lucknow.

This "Sandwich" program enables the students' stay in Germany to be integrated into the students' Masters program. The nine-month period in Germany comprises six months of project work for the Master's thesis carried out at the German university, plus four to eight weeks of practical training/internship in German industry. The program is financed with the support of Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Based on the experience we have gathered in teaching many foreign students at various universities, we presented a seminar that provides the Indian students with a framework to organise and interpret the experiences they've had so far in Germany. Those students who have only recently arrived in Germany will benefit from a number of issues that we raised which present typical barriers for integration and cross-cultural communication. This was confirmed by the excellent feedback from the participants.

The seminar was part of the orientation weekend for the scholarship holders, and took place at the beginning of November in Dresden. Other than Alexia Petersen's half-day seminar on intercultural communication, the program included speeches by representatives of the DAAD, the State Government, the Indian Embassy, the Technische Universität Dresden, as well as scientific presentations and a special weekend social program.

2006/01/04 New article online: "The Language of Drama: When 'enough' is not enough"

Alexia Petersen's latest article, "The Language of Drama: When 'enough' is not enough", which was sent out with our December newsletter, is now also available online on our web site.

The article examines the "cultural logic" behind the two prototypical communication paradigms: the "low context", predominantly verbal and explicit style typical of individualistic societies with flat social hierarchies; and the "high context" style associated with non-verbal and implicit communication that is more typical of traditionally interdependent societies. The dialogue between host and guest, in particular, highlights the inherently different nature of personal relationships in "low context" and "high context" cultures.

The example described in the article offers an opportunity to revisit an essential application of cross-cultural communication skills: recognising the "bigger cultural picture", and how to "paradigm shift" towards a middle ground between two fundamentally different communication styles.

We hope you enjoy the article!

2005/12/21 Seminar on Cross-cultural Business Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto: February 7, 2006

After the full-day seminar on cross-cultural business communication hosted by the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce  in Toronto in March of this year received excellent feedback and was very well attended, the Chamber invited us back to repeat the event in early 2006.

The seminar will take place on Tuesday, February 7, 2006 in Toronto. For further information on the event, please see our section events and dates.

Come join us for this intensive full-length, practice-oriented workshop on cross-cultural business communication!

2005/12/15 Workshop on intercultural communication at the University Duisburg-Essen

Following the very positive feedback generated by the workshops on intercultural communication we gave the last two years at the University Duisburg-Essen , the university has invited us back again this year for a repeat workshop.

The workshop will be hosted by the ABZ (Akademisches Beratungs-Zentrum Studium und Beruf) at the University Duisburg-Essen, Campus Duisburg, on April 28th and 29th, 2006.

Registration is open to students of all faculties at the University Duisburg-Essen and is handled by the ABZ.

2005/12/14 Career-training for female students at RWTH Aachen University

Women are still underrepresented in the German economy, particularly in executive positions, despite the fact that female student outnumber their male counterparts at the universities.

To prepare female students of the RWTH Aachen University  for executive positions, the university's bureau of equality has been offering career-training for female students since the winter semester 2001/2002. This pilot project is one of the cornerstones of the university's promotion of female graduates.

The seminar series consists of seven parts and offers personality-oriented training elements as well as subject-specific information. It is organised by the RWTH's bureau of equality in co-operation with the Sparkasse Aachen , as well as the AOK and the TrainerinnenNetzwerk Aachen.

Last winter semester an eighth seminar was added for the first time. Alexia Petersen had been invited by the Sparkasse Aachen and the university's bureau of equality to offer a 2-day seminar on intercultural communication for the participants of the seminar series, who, just as in the previous years, have been selected from a large number of applicants.

After the very positive echo to the workshop last winter semester, the organisers invited us back again to repeat the workshop this winter semester, which will take place in late December.

The seminar on intercultural communication is based on the version we have given numerous times for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen, with particular emphasis on topics relevant for female executives.

2005/11/07 Short talk at job fair ChinaCareer 2005

The job fair "ChinaCareer 2005" will be held on November 19, 2005, at RWTH Aachen University, providing information on career opportunities in the German-Chinese job market.

The Aachen Regional Chapter of the Association of German Engineers (VDI)  as host has invited Stephan Petersen to give a talk on intercultural communication at the event.

Dr. Stephan Petersen, himself an engineer, VDI member, and graduate of RWTH Aachen University, acquired his first experiences in China as an exchange student. Today he maintains numerous contacts to Asia, both in his role as an engineer and manager for a RWTH University Aachen spin-off, and as a trainer and consultant in the area of intercultural communication.

2005/11/03 Wrap-up of our fall seminars in Canada

In March 2005 Alexia Petersen was invited to Vancouver to give a number of seminars for various organisations. This fall, she was invited back to Vancouver by the Goethe-Institut  to give three more seminars.

In a follow-up to the Spring seminar Alexia gave at Simon Fraser University for language instructors, Isolde Hey from the Goethe-Zentrum at SFU  invited her to talk about the intercultural challenges to German universities today. The seminar, "Bridges and Barriers - The Intercultural Challenge for Universities Today - A German Experience", took place on September 26, and was attended by students, faculty, and staff of the German department and other departments at SFU. The seminar focussed on the intercultural situations and challenges encountered by German universities today as they increasingly internationalise and adapt their traditional one-degree German Diplom degree system to the Anglo-American B.A/M.A system.

Giving an overview of the cross-cultural communication issues this has created on both levels of cultural sensitivity and language, Alexia Petersen drew on her extensive experience teaching intercultural communication to students, faculty, and staff at various German universities. Audiences were introduced to her particular approach to teaching intercultural communication, which has proven to be highly effectively and popular in both the academic and international business sector.

Alexia Petersen gave a similar seminar at the University of British Columbia on September 30, organised by Dr. Petra Ganzenmüller of the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies at UBC . The target group consisted mainly of students from Petra Ganzenmüller's "Business German" course, with faculty of the department also in attendance.

Both seminars were very well received and provided the participants with insight into the historical roots of recent cultural diversity in Germany and German universities, and how these have generated, in part, different needs, challenges and issues for students, staff and faculty from those of their Canadian counterparts. Participants were all in agreement, however, that despite different histories of multiculturalism and demographics in Germany and Canada, an awareness and understanding of cultural issues and their impact on day-to-day interaction at all levels of the university is equally under-appreciated or even overlooked.

On September 29, Alexia Petersen was also invited by the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver  to be their guest speaker at a special lunch seminar, held at the Georgian Court Hotel in downtown Vancouver. This invitation was also extended by Dr. Ganzenmüller, who is a member of their Board of Directors. Dr. Ganzenmüller had been a participant of Alexia Petersen's one-day workshop at SFU in March and felt the topic to be both relevant and necessary for the business community. Reaction to the 50 minute presentation again was not only very enthusiastic but confirmed that experienced business professionals recognise a primary need for more awareness and training, though both tend to be still under-developed in day-to-day business operations.

Just like in March, Vancouver's multicultural Channel M  television station invited us for an interview. Bernadette Berry, host and producer of the weekly program German Today , invited us to talk about what intercultural communication is, why it is an essential skill for international business communication, and how it is very much a current topic of interest in both the Canadian and German business and academic environments.

2005/11/02 Interview for an article in the German magazine "ManagerSeminare"

Alexia Petersen was recently interviewed for an article published in the German magazine ManagerSeminare  about her intercultural communication training of business executives. The author interviewed several well known trainers and key figures for this article on intercultural communication; Alexia Petersen was asked to relate some of her experiences and her methodological approach as a trainer in this area, and in particular the challenges faced by business professionals.

Article abstract: Die Globalisierung schreitet voran, doch die internationale Verständigung hält nicht Schritt: Kooperationen zwischen Unternehmen verschiedener Nationen scheitern nicht selten an den unterschiedlichen kulturellen Werten. Das Vermitteln der Dos and Don'ts für das ferne Land nutzt da wenig, vielmehr muss mehr Gefühl für den Umgang mit fremden Kulturen geschaffen werden.

Qualifizierungslücken mit schweren Folgen: Wozu mangelnde interkulturelle Kompetenz führen kann. Cultural Awareness: Für fremde Kulturen sensibilisieren statt Benimmregeln vermitteln. Orientierung mittels Kulturdimensionen: Welche Kategorien es gibt, was sie besagen und wie mit ihnen umzugehen ist. Kulturallgemeine versus kulturspezifische Trainings: Wann sich was eignet. Im Trend: Die Ausrichtung am Tätigkeits- und Persönlichkeitsprofil des Teilnehmers.

The complete article, titled Immer sensibel bleiben - Interkulturelle Kommunikation is available on the publisher's web site .

2005/11/01 "Making Appointments"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The eleventh article in the series, titled Making Appointments, has been published in issue 3/2005 (September 2005) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2005/10/31 Introductory seminar for foreign students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at RWTH Aachen University

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at RWTH Aachen University  has for the first time offered its foreign students in the first semester of electrical engineering and information technology a special introductory seminar on intercultural communication.

Especially students from cultures that differ significantly from the German often find it difficult to adjust to the very different "unwritten rules" of both German scientific and social communication.

In this seminar, which we have already given for other groups of foreign students, we make these unwritten rules visible and comprehensible. This seminar provides the students with a chance to adjust as early as possible to their general and academic environment, thereby avoiding unnecessary communication problems with fellow students, professors, university administrators, as well as everyday interpersonal contacts.

The seminar, held in English, was organised by the faculty office and took place on October 28, 2005.

2005/09/15 A new seminar: "Doing Business and Working with Canadians"

After having already conducted a number of seminars in Canada, training Canadians in intercultural business communication with a focus on Germany, we have now developed a corresponding seminar for Germans.

The Global Competence Forum , a well-known seminar organiser which primarily offers seminars for executives, has invited us to develop a seminar on intercultural business communication for Germans executives with a focus on Canada.

The 2-day seminar, titled "Doing Business and Working with Canadians", will be hosted on November 22nd/23rd for the first time. For a description of the seminar, please see our section events and dates.

2005/09/01 Seminars on Cross-cultural Business Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal

After the first full-day seminar on cross-cultural business communication hosted by the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto in March of this year received excellent feedback and was very well attended, the Chamber invited us back this fall to repeat the event.

This time, the seminars will be given in 3 cities:

  • Toronto, Thursday, September 22nd, 2005
  • Vancouver, Wednesday, September 28th, 2005
  • Montréal, Monday, October 17th, 2005
Come join us for this intensive full-length, practice-oriented workshop on cross-cultural business communication. We would be happy to meet you in any of the three cities!

2005/08/16 Second part of article for "partners - Italy & Canada" published

The Summer issue of "partners - Italy & Canada" has just been published by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto , Canada. It contains the second part of Alexia Petersen's article How many cultures do you "speak"? The vocabulary and grammar of intercultural communication. The first part was published in the Spring issue of the Chamber's official publication.

Alexia Petersen has also been invited to contribute a regular column on intercultural communication issues for the magazine, with the first instalment to appear in the upcoming Fall issue. This column will offer short anecdotal vignettes of typical cross-cultural interaction, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods.

2005/08/14 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students

In a repeat of last year's event, we were invited again this summer to give an introductory seminar on intercultural communication for Korean DAAD scholarship holders.

The German Academic Exchange Service  has asked Alexia Petersen to give a half-day seminar for the scholarship holders, which took place on beginning of July at RWTH Aachen University. The goal of the seminar was to provide them with the necessary knowledge in the area of intercultural communication for a successful academic stay in Germany.

Following the stay in Aachen, the Korean students travelled on to their various universities (Braunschweig, Berlin, Dresden, Jena, Hannover, München, Stuttgart, etc.) and research institutes like the Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt (PTB) and various Max-Planck-Institutes.

2005/07/05 Seminar on intercultural communication with a special focus on China

China is the heart of the new "Golden East". Many German companies see a lot of opportunities for themselves in the Middle Kingdom, for good reasons.

Whether these opportunities can be turned into successes depends surprisingly often not on technological or economical factors. More often then not cultural differences and miscommunication are the reasons when German-Chinese projects and joint ventures get into trouble.

The Innovationszentrum Fennel  in Bad Oeynhausen has invited us to give a 2-day seminar workshop on intercultural communication with a special focus on China. Bringing together our experiences from intercultural business communication in general, and from our training and consulting work for companies active in China in particular, we will offer a practice-oriented training workshop for German managers, engineers, and other professionals who would like to acquire key qualifications in this area.

The workshop, which will be given in English, takes place on December 1st and 2nd, 2005, in Bad Oeynhausen. For details, please check our events and dates section and the web site of the Innovationszentrum Fennel.

2005/06/21 Workshop on Intercultural Communication for three international graduate programs

Following the success of last year's workshop, the organisers of 3 international graduate programs invited us back this year for a 2nd workshop on intercultural communication.

This year the weekend workshop was organised by the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  Programs at the University of Göttingen, in co-operation with the MD/PhD Molecular Medicine Program at Hannover Medical School and the International Postgraduate Program of the Graduate College 460 at the Medical Faculty of the University of Ulm.

The workshop was hosted from June 3-5, 2005, at Bergkirchen near the "Steinhuder Meer". The 22 participants were sciences graduates and advanced students of medicine from 11 countries, making this once more a very international event.

We opened the event with an introductory lecture on the role of intercultural communication as a key skill for scientists on Friday evening, followed by the workshop on Saturday and Sunday.

2005/06/19 "When 'Thinks on His Feet' meets 'Plays by the Book': Encountering Idiomatic English in Business"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The tenth article in the series, titled When "Thinks on His Feet" meets "Plays by the Book": Encountering Idiomatic English in Business, has been published in issue 2/2005 (June 2005) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2005/05/31 Workshop for the program "Executive MBA for Technology Managers"

Since Spring 2004 RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and the University St. Gallen (Switzerland) have offered an exceptional postgraduate course. The new Executive MBA for Technology Managers  program is primarily targeted at engineers who already possess professional and leadership experience and would like to acquire the necessary skills to qualify for top management positions.

We are happy to have been invited to contribute a two-day "Workshop on Intercultural Business Communication" to this unique program. Alexia Petersen will teach this workshop in July of this year as part of the module "International Management", which is organised by Prof. Michael Woywode, head of the Institute of International Management at RWTH Aachen University.

The goal of RWTH and HSG, representing an "alliance of the best", was the creation of a program aimed at preparing engineers faster and better for high-level executive positions. The 18 month long program hosted jointly by both universities, which count among the most distinguished in the field of engineering as well as management, is tailored to the methods of thinking, learning, and training of engineers and natural scientists. It enables this target group to acquire the knowledge and skills required for executive positions in an especially effective manner.

The program the two universities created is unique in Germany: The "Executive MBA for Technology Managers" is the postgraduate course for engineers of excellence on their way to top management positions. The participants acquire economic and leadership skills, together with technology and management know-how to head entire enterprises or larger company units in an integrated and confident manner. The program consists of 19 modules and also includes an study trip to Asia, an optional module at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Master's thesis.

2005/05/30 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Duisburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce

Last year the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the Lower Rhine Region in Duisburg  invited us to give an introductory presentation on intercultural communication under the title "Wettbewerbsvorteile sichern durch interkulturelle Kompetenz".

As a result of the positive feedback of both organisers and participants, the Chamber has invited us back this year to give a one-day training seminar on the topic.

The seminar on intercultural communication will take place on Thursday, August 25th, 2005, at the Chamber in Duisburg. Primary target groups are executives and employees of companies who not only would like to acquire important knowledge in the area of intercultural communication as a key qualification, but also usable skills, which help solve and prevent problems in everyday professional life.

Details on the seminar are available on our web site under events and dates.

2005/05/16 Two-part article for "partners - Italy & Canada"

Following the attendance of staff of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto  of a seminar of ours in Canada last fall, Alexia Petersen was invited to write a 2-part article on intercultural communication issues for the Chamber's official publication "partners - Italy & Canada".

Through editorials and special reports, "partners" features local and international experts, each of whom brings to the readership a unique perspective on global economy and industries such as high technology, finance, agriculture and food, machinery, culture and entertainment. Its readers are comprised of several thousand businesses from small and medium to multi-national enterprises across Canada, Italy and around the world, as well as government institutions and professional associations.

The current issue (Spring 2005) spotlights multiculturalism, the evolving saga of Canadian multiculturalism, cultural identity, and cultural diversity in the business world. In Part 1 of her featured article, How many cultures do you "speak"? The vocabulary and grammar of intercultural communication, Alexia Petersen explores the realities of globalisation in the context of intercultural communication. Part 2 of the article will appear in the next issue of "partners".

Alexia Petersen has also been invited to contribute a regular column on intercultural communication issues for the magazine, with the first instalment to appear in the Fall issue. This column will offer short anecdotal vignettes of typical cross-cultural interaction, with a kernel of insight into why and how the globalised communication between people and all their "cultural baggage" often proves more difficult than the relative easy mobility of goods.

2005/04/29 Workshop on intercultural communication at the University Duisburg-Essen

Following the very positive feedback generated by the first workshop on intercultural communication we gave last year at the University Duisburg-Essen , the university has invited us back this year for a repeat workshop.

The workshop will be hosted by the ABZ (Akademisches Beratungs-Zentrum Studium und Beruf) at the University Duisburg-Essen, Campus Duisburg, on June 13th and 14th, 2005. As with last year, participation in the event counts toward receiving the certificate "Schlüsselqualifikationen" (key qualifications).

Registration is open to students of all faculties at the University Duisburg-Essen and is handled by the ABZ.

2005/04/28 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce

In the past we have already done several events on intercultural communication in co-operation with the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce , all of which have resulted in highly positive feedback from the participants.

This year we are active with the Chamber again, and we would like to especially draw your attention to the one-day seminar on intercultural communication on September 14th, 2005.

2005/04/26 Seminar for Chinese students within the framework of the RWTH-Tsinghua project

The German-Chinese joint project for graduate education, involving RWTH Aachen University and Tsinghua University, is based on an agreement signed 1999 by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Mrs. Edelgard Bulmahn, and the Chinese Minister of Education, Mrs. Chen Zhili. Both universities were selected by the ministers due to their status as two of the best technical universities in China and Germany, and because they have shared a long partnership since 1981.

Core of the program are the joint master programs "Production Engineering" and "Automotive Engineering", which are taught in English and lead to double degrees awarded by both universities. Since 2001, about 30 Chinese students from Beijing spend an entire academic year within the framework of this program at RWTH Aachen.

Especially students from cultures that differ significantly from the German often find it difficult to adjust to the very different "unwritten rules" of communication, in particular if the stay is of a limited duration. For students coming from the Asian cultures, these involve very culturally different values and expectations attached to the role of the teacher, which significantly affects the teacher-student dynamic; teaching methods and technique; ways in which respect is shown; the teacher's approach to assessing student performance; and the typical approach to problem-solving and discussion. In order to succeed in the different German academic communication culture, the students need to be made aware of what different communication behaviour to expect and how to deal with them effectively.

RWTH Aachen has thus invited Alexia Petersen to give a seminar on intercultural communication. In this seminar, which we have already given for other groups of foreign students, we make these unwritten rules visible and comprehensible. Coming at the beginning of their year-long stay in Germany, this seminar provides the students with a chance to adjust as early as possible to their general and academic environment, thereby avoiding unnecessary communication problems with fellow students, professors, university administrators, as well as everyday interpersonal contacts.

Apart from hosting Chinese students in Aachen, the RWTH Aachen - Tsinghua university project also sends RWTH students to Beijing, and facilitates the exchange of scientists of both sides. Besides RWTH Aachen  and Tsinghua University , the project organisers include the Chinese Ministry of Education, the China Scholarship Council (CSC), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Science and Research, and the Adam Schall Gesellschaft. The RWTH - Tsinghua university project is considered to be a model for the future development of academic relations between both countries.

2005/04/03 Career-training for female students at RWTH Aachen University

Women are still underrepresented in the German economy, particularly in executive positions, despite the fact that female student outnumber their male counterparts at the universities.

To prepare female students of the RWTH Aachen University  for executive positions, the university's bureau of equality has been offering career-training for female students since the winter semester 2001/2002. This pilot project is one of the cornerstones of the university's promotion of female graduates.

The seminar series consists of seven parts and offers personality-oriented training elements as well as subject-specific information. It is organised by the RWTH's bureau of equality in co-operation with the Sparkasse Aachen , as well as the AOK and the TrainerinnenNetzwerk Aachen.

This year an eighth seminar will be added for the first time. Alexia Petersen has been invited by the Sparkasse Aachen and the university's bureau of equality to offer a 2-day seminar on intercultural communication for the participants of the seminar series, who, just as in the previous years, have been selected from a large number of applicants.

The seminar on intercultural communication is based on the version we have given numerous times for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen, with particular emphasis on topics relevant for female executives.

2005/03/28 Wrap-up of our seminars in Canada

In the last years, while on visits back to Canada, we have taken the opportunity to give short seminars on intercultural communications to invited members of the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto. These were consistently received with interest and enthusiasm, which led to Alexia Petersen being invited by not only the Chamber but also the Goethe-Zentrum in Vancouver to return to Canada in early March 2005 to hold a series of follow-up full-length seminars.

The Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce  in Toronto hosted a one-day seminar in workshop format attended by 18 of its members. Recognising the general compatibility of German-Canadian communication style on a global scale, the seminar aimed to introduce participants to the main cross-cultural communication issues, while highlighting the most problematic aspects of Canadian-German business communication differences where relevant. Participants included professionals of various backgrounds, ranging from company presidents to sales representatives to regional managers and engineers, from companies of very diverse fields, all with immediate or future business connections to German partner companies or affiliates in Germany. The highly interactive format of the workshop with its emphasis on applications and problem-solving not only provided participants with a structured approach to understanding cross-cultural communication issues, but worked with the participants' specific questions and problems.

Feedback from the participants was so overwhelming positive, and general interest within the membership of the Chamber is such that the Chamber is already planning to offer seminars as early again as the coming fall.

A few days later, Alexia Petersen was in Vancouver as a guest of the Goethe-Zentrum at Simon Fraser University  to give two seminars. On March 11, she gave a 2-hr presentation to invited guests of the Goethe-Zentrum and the Vancouver branch of the Canadian German Chamber. Participants again came from a diverse background that included members from the German Consulate and the German-Canadian business community, teachers of German language, and lawyers. The first-time presentation of such a topic generated such interest that Alexia Petersen was invited by the weekly television magazine "German Today" on Vancouver's multicultural "Channel M", to be interviewed. The 12-minute interview conducted in German highlighted the growing interest in intercultural communication training in Germany, the reasons behind typical cross-cultural misunderstanding between Germans and their foreign partners, and how these problems can be understood and more effectively resolved. The interview will likely air sometime in April.

On March 12 Alexia Petersen ended her series of seminars with a one-day seminar in workshop format with a group of 14 teachers of German from the Goethe-Zentrum, Simon Fraser University, as well as the University of British Columbia. Alexia Petersen has particular affinities to this group, as the springboard for her work in intercultural communication were her years of experience in adult language teaching in Germany. Bringing her insights to language and learning from various levels - as a former student of German in Canada and Germany, teacher of English to Germans and other nationals, teacher of intercultural communication to Germans and other nationals in Germany, and now, coming full circle, teacher of intercultural communication to Germans and Canadians in her home country, Canada - she was the perfect match to highlight the impact of intercultural communication issues on two important levels: the teacher-student dynamic in a multicultural classroom, and the role of German as a cross-cultural language (where its strengths and weaknesses are, and what hidden communication barriers it may present for foreign learners).

The tremendous success of these seminars are in no small part also due to the excellent organisation and professionalism of our hosts in Toronto and Vancouver. Thanks must go to Andrea von Moeller, Andrea Schmid, and Julie Goepel at the Canadian German Chamber in Toronto, and Monika Redekop at the Chamber office in Vancouver. Over at the Goethe-Institut we say a big thank you to Isolde Hey at the Goethe-Zentrum in Vancouver, and to Ruth Renters and Dr. Venuta Recio at the Goethe-Institut in Toronto.

2005/03/14 "The Language of Inflation"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The ninth article in the series, titled The Language of Inflation, has been published in issue 1/2005 (March 2005) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2005/03/05 Seminars in Vancouver

The Goethe-Zentrum Vancouver , in co-operation with the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce  in Vancouver has invited us to give a short seminar on intercultural communication. This "Lunch Hour Seminar" is modelled after the "Breakfast Seminars" we have already given several times for the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto.

The seminar is open to everyone who would like, in concise form, to learn about the most important issues in intercultural communication, and how they affect international business relations.

Details on the seminar, which will take place on Friday, March 11th, are available on our web site under events and dates.

One day after the short seminar, Alexia Petersen will give a full-day seminar for language teachers in the Vancouver area: "The 'Interculturally Literate' Language Teacher - Beyond Grammar and Vocabulary".

This seminar, which we already gave in similar form for the Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, is also hosted by the Goethe-Zentrum Vancouver, in co-operation with Simon-Fraser University . It will take place on Saturday, March 12th, as part of the exhibition "Herzliche Grüße - Discover German", which is organised by the Goethe-Zentrum.

2005/03/04 "A Canadian's guide to doing business with Germans: 10 points for a good start"

After the positive feedback to our seminars with the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce  in Toronto the Chamber, together with Ontario Exports , invited us to write a short informative text for Canadians who would like to establish business contacts with German companies.

The 2-page text, A Canadian's guide to doing business with Germans: 10 points for a good start, contains the most relevant notes on what Canadians should consider if they want to build successful business relations with German partners. Our text is meant to be especially useful in the early stages of establishing a professional relationship, by helping to avoid typical communication barriers.

The flyer is distributed by the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce to interested companies and is also available for download on our web site.

2005/03/03 Seminar on intercultural communication for the 'Internationale Schule am Rhein'

Since 2003, ISR - Internationale Schule am Rhein  - has been offering world-class education from Kindergarten through Grade 5, extending its teaching services continuously each year.

In February 2005, ISR invited Alexia Petersen to hold a full-day seminar on intercultural communication for ISR's international teaching staff, which was very well received.

ISR is an English-language, co-educational, independent, non-religious, full-day school situated in the heart of the Düsseldorf/Cologne/Neuss-region of Germany.

ISR actively recruits cultural diversity in both its student body and staff. This diversity provides students with the experience of relating to children and adults from many different cultures. The goal is to help foreign students to integrate into the German culture and society and to support them in a foreign and different country. This helps ISR to fulfill one of its goals: to help students develop a true understanding of the people of the world through an appreciation of their differences, as well as their similarities.

2005/02/01 Seminar on Cross-cultural Business Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto

In the last two years we have held two short-version introductions to the topic of intercultural communication for the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto. Due to participant interest, we have been invited back this year by the Chamber to hold a more intensive full-length, practice-oriented workshop on the subject.

The "Seminar on Cross-cultural Business Communication" will take place on March 8, 2005, at the Chamber in Toronto and be given by Alexia Petersen. Everyone, including non-members of the Chamber, is invited to join who would like to acquire the basic and essential skills of intercultural communication.

We'll also hold a seminar with the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Vancouver on March 11th.

2005/01/31 Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce: Intercultural Communication for IT Professionals

Since 2002 the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce have offered the new IT training courses according to the restructured IT continuing taining system. These courses are also offered at the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce , which includes courses for the specialist profiles "IT Business Manager" ("IT-Projektleiter/in") and "IT Business Consultant" ("IT-Berater/in"). In addition to a technical and methodological focus, the third track of the program for these two "operative professionals" aims to provide advanced social skills, to which we were invited by the Chamber of Commerce Aachen to contribute a course block on intercultural communication.

Recent studies of the typical problems which endanger the success of larger IT projects show that technical reasons are comparatively seldom the major factor. More often than not, the reasons lie in project management and different approaches to teamwork. Solving such problems is tricky enough between members of one culture, but when project members or customers are culturally diverse, intercultural communication skills are indispensable.

The intercultural communication course block, which consists of 4 evenings and one Saturday session, took place over the month of January for the first time. As the course language was English, and part of the course focussed on its use as a tool in intercultural communication, the participants also had the opportunity to test their English skills in various exercises and simulations.

2005/01/30 "Getting acquainted with false friends"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The eigth article in the series, titled Getting acquainted with false friends, has been published in issue 4/2004 (December 2004) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.

2004/12/17 Workshop on intercultural communication for Haniel's Student Development Program

Haniel , headquartered in Duisburg, Germany, is an internationally operating group with 54,000 employees. The group's six autonomously run divisions generate annual sales of more than 23 billion Euros.

Haniel's student development program Business in Bewegung  offers selected students from economics-related degree programs ("Wirtschaftswissenschaften" and "Wirtschaftsingenieurwissenschaften") the participation in an exclusive developemnt and support program, which also comprises a number of workshops.

We were recently invited to give, for the first time, a 2-day workshop on intercultural communication for the participants of the student development program. In offering this workshop to the students, Haniel would like to improve the competence of the participants with respect to a future position in the international environment of the company.

The student development program aims to provide its participants with practice-oriented knowledge and experience, and includes management training as well as personal coaching by mentors. Haniel provides the students with internships in Germany and abroad that are tailored to their specific interests, and offers frequent seminars at Haniel's own corporate academy in Duisburg. Within the framework of these business seminars, which constitute a key part of the program, the participants are trained in management skills such as communication and presentation techniques.

2004/12/16 Presentation on intercultural communication for the Cologne branch of BPW Germany

Alexia Petersen has been invited by the Cologne branch of BPW-Germany (Business and Professional Women - Germany e.V.) to give a presentation on intercultural communication on December 21st, 2004, in Cologne. For details, please consult the list of events  and contact ybpw-koeln-bonn@web.de.

From the announcement:

On this evening, Alexia will introduce the concept of intercultural communication. We will look at why the Japanese seem to always smile, why Americans like to start their presentations with jokes, why Germans like to follow agendas during their meetings, etc. Dealing with different cultures is more than using a foreign language. We will look at the following topics:

  • What is culture? And what distinguishes cultures from one another?
  • What happens when we communicate across cultures? And what makes this intercultural communication successful?
  • Can I learn to communicate successfully with members of others cultures?


2004/12/08 A new corporate customer: Kühne + Nagel

With more than 20,000 employees at 600 locations in 96 countries, the Kühne + Nagel Group  is one of the world's leading logistics companies.

Kühne + Nagel invited Alexia Petersen in November to give, for the first time, a seminar on intercultural communication at the global player's headquarters in Schindellegi near Zurich, Switzerland.

Due to the participants' exceptional feedback with respect to the seminar, which was hosted as part of the "Leadership Series Program", further seminars are already in the planning stage for next year.

About Kühne und Nagel:

Kühne + Nagel is one of the world's leading logistics groups. The around 20,000 employees stationed at over 600 locations in 96 countries are skilled in every aspect of world-wide transport trade - at sea, in the air, overland - and in providing high value integrated logistics services. Kühne + Nagel is headquartered in Schindellegi, Switzerland.

The Group's strong market position lies in the global sea-, airfreight and contract logistics businesses, and in providing high value integrated logistics and supply chain management services.

The company is focused on further expanding its integrated logistics and IT-based supply chain management services. The Group also offers specialised services in the areas of project, hotel, airport logistics and is engaged in several niche sectors, including the global transportation of forestry products (particularly paper, cellulose and timber), perishables transport, customs clearance, exhibition logistics and oil & energy projects. In addition, Kühne + Nagel is permanently expanding its product portfolio's value added services such as supplying the airline industry with spare parts.



2004/12/07 Seminar at the University of Cooperative Education, Lörrach

Since fall 2000 the Berufsakademie Lörrach  (University of Cooperative Education Lörrach), Germany, the Fachhochschule beider Basel (University of Applied Sciences Basel), Switzerland, and the Université de Haute-Alsace (Upper Alsace University), France, have jointly offered the program International Business Management (IBM) .

Prof. Dr. Reiner Hillemanns of the Department of Business Management at the University of Cooperative Education Lörrach has invited us now to give a practice-oriented seminar on intercultural communication for the IBM students.

The one-day seminar will take place on January 13th, 2005, at the University of Cooperative Education Lörrach. The participants will be 10 students from each of the universities in Germany, France, and Switzerland which form the trinational IBM study group.

The trinational IBM program is targeted at future executives who intend to work for multi-cultural companies and organisations. The three partner universities would like to enable its students to benefit from their location and proximity in the "Regio TriRhena", the region of Basel-Alsace-Baden. By studying together across borders the students are given the opportunity to strengthen and expand their intercultural competence.

The dual concept of education at the university combines practical training and university education, aiming to provide both practice-oriented and academic-based theoretical knowledge, with support from co-operation partners from business and administration.

2004/11/13 RWTHinsight: "Against Culture Shock"

In December 2002 we started our "Workshops on Intercultural Communication" for students of all faculties at the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), which are organised by the Alumni-Team and the International Office. Many students have since completed this popular workshop with great success.

A short article on the workshop, titled "Gegen den Kulturschock" ("Against Culture Shock"), has just been published in the latest issue (3/2004) of "RWTHinsight".

"RWTHinsight" is the university's magazine for members and friends of RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), and is available from the university's press office . It can also be accessed in PDF form online .

The next workshop will take place on November 26th and 27th, 2004, more information is as always available here.

2004/11/12 Workshop on intercultural communication at the Institute of International Management at Aachen University

After the extremely positive feedback we received for our first workshop on intercultural communication which we gave last year for students of business administration in the "international management" elective programme at RWTH Aachen, Prof. Michael Woywode of the Institute of International Management at RWTH Aachen  has invited us back this year to give it again.

Apart from an introduction to the topic of intercultural communication, in which students will benefit from our theory-to-practice approach, the workshop will especially focus on the role of intercultural communication in international management.

The workshop will take place on November 19th and 20th, 2004, details are available at the institute.

We are presently developing futher lectures for the same institute, which we will give for the first time early next year.

2004/10/26 Our tips on "Doing Business in Germany" quoted in a new book

Winning Marketing Decisions That Grow a Business:
How Successful Entrepreneurs Do it
by Greg Byrne
ISBN 1-842180-73-8, Blackhall Publishing 

Winning Marketing Decisions provides the busy, multi-tasking and fiscally constrained entrepreneur with a concise, practical and understandable road map to successfully reaching a served international market leadership position.

Author Greg Byrne delivers winning marketing decision-making guidance in a sequence of sets of "doing" strategies and actions needed at the start-up/emerging and rapid growth stages of their venture's evolution, thereby increasing their chance for successfully achieving a served international market leadership position.

We're happy to be quoted in the "Internationalisation" section of the book, on the topic of "Doing Business in Germany". The list of "key business and cultural norms" is an extract of the texts we maintain as "Business Culture Guides Germany" for ExecutivePlanet.com.

More information on the book and the author:

Focusing on the four key go-to-market processes needed to grow a business, the book's growth-stage relevant and field-proven templates provide guidance and a framework for developing marketing strategies and making winning marketing decisions. Checklists can then be used for ensuring effective and efficient implementation of the key marketing strategies at each of the three growth stages.

Insights from successful entrepreneurs from around the globe reveal their best marketing strategies, tactics and actions.

Greg Byrne was involved in creating a leadership brand position for Ernst & Young Ireland in the vibrant entrepreneurial market upon joining the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Programme. Greg now provides strategic marketing planning consultancy to the high-potential entrepreneur community in Ireland and is currently creating a dedicated online resource - www.marketing4entrepreneurs.com - providing insights, guides and tools for entrepreneurs.

2004/10/25 "Communicating about problems"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The seventh article in the series, titled Communicating about problems, has been published in issue 3/2004 (October 2004) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.



2004/09/23 Chamber of Industry and Commerce Lübeck, Germany, publishes directory of intercultural trainers

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce Lübeck has just published the "Auslandsknigge", a directory of intercultural trainers who offer seminars, workshops, and coaching to companies. We're pleased to also be listed in the directory with our services. For more information, please contact Ulrich Keßler at the Chamber in Lübeck . Check the German version of this news announcement for an excerpt of the original announcement of the Chamber.

2004/09/16 "Breakfast Seminar" on Intercultural Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto

Last fall the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto invited us to give a seminar on intercultural communication to which both members and non-members of the Chamber were invited.

Since the seminar was very well received, the Chamber has invited us to repeat the seminar this year.

We will again give an introduction to the basic concepts and issues in intercultural communication, and especially highlight the differences between Germany and Canada in this field.

The "breakfast seminar" will take place on October 7th, 2004, at the Park Hyatt Hotel, Toronto. More information on the event is available under events and dates, where you will also find a PDF version of the invitation to download.

2004/09/08 Intercultural Communication: What You Need to Live and Study in Germany - An Introduction for Erasmus Exchange Students at the University of Cologne

We have been invited by the University of Cologne to give a seminar on intercultural communication for German and foreign students in the Erasmus program. The seminar will be given on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004, on the occasion of welcoming the Erasmus students to the new semester, and will be hosted by the university's International Office.

More information is available in our events and dates area, we well as on the web site of the International Office at the University of Cologne .

From the announcement:

Für viele ausländische Studenten, die zum Studium nach Deutschland kommen, ist es der erste längere Aufenthalt in einem fremden Land. Abgesehen von der deutschen Sprache, die für die meisten von ihnen eine Fremdsprache ist, kommen auf die Studenten noch Probleme einer ganz anderen Art zu: Sie müssen sich in einer fremden Kultur zurecht finden, in der viele alltägliche Kommunikationssituationen nach anderen Regeln funktionieren als im Heimatland.

Hier helfen Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten in der interkulturellen Kommunikation. Sie zeigen, wie das jeweilige kulturelle Denken und Handeln grundlegende Aktivitäten der Kommunikation beeinflusst. Für Studenten gehören dazu beispielsweise Aufbau und Pflege von Kontakten, einfacherer Umgang mit Professoren und Komilitonen. Für die Studenten, die später einmal in Deutschland arbeiten möchten, egal ob als studentische Hilfskraft oder als Angestellte an der Hochschule oder einer Firma kommen noch Themen wie Entscheidungsfindung, Besprechungsführung, Kommunikation über Probleme, etc. hinzu.

Das Akademische Auslandsamt der Universität Köln möchte den Erasmus-Studenten die Möglichkeit geben, sich möglichst früh die entscheidenden Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten auf diesem Gebiet anzueignen, die ihnen bei ihrem Aufenthalt in Deutschland helfen werden. Aus diesem Grund sind alle interessierten Erasmus-Studenten zu einem Einführungsseminar in dieses Thema eingeladen.



2004/08/31 "Must you read this article, or Should you read this article? How to give instructions instead of commands"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The sixth article in the series, titled Must you read this article, or Should you read this article? How to give instructions instead of commands, has been published in issue 2/2004 (July 2004) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.



2004/07/29 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce

In the past we have already done several events on intercultural communication in co-operation with the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce , all of which have resulted in highly positive feedback from the participants.

This year we are active with the Chamber again, and we would like to especially draw your attention to the two-day seminar on intercultural communication on November 22nd and 23rd, 2004.



2004/07/28 Seminar for Korean DAAD Scholarship Students

In co-operation with the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) , the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  awards scholarships to both Korean graduate and under-graduate students of higher semesters in support of a short research exchange in Germany within the "Summer Institute Programme". A week-long orientation programme that took place this year July 4-11 at the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University)  kicked off the two-month long KOSEF exchange. The Korean students, all from various engineering and natural science fields, were able to enjoy a packed programme that not only introduced to them the city of Aachen and its environs and the university itself, but also a crash course in "survival German".

First up on their week's agenda was a half-day introductory seminar on intercultural communication given by Alexia Petersen by invitation of the DAAD and the RWTH Aachen.

Following the orientation week in Aachen, while a few students stayed on in at the RWTH, most of the 30 students travelled on to their various universities and research institutes in different cities throughout Germany, including Hamburg, Dortmund, Berlin, Paderborn, Duisburg, Bayreuth, Heidelberg, Bochum, etc.

2004/06/21 RWTH Workshop Reunion: "Intercultural Barbecue"!

In December 2002 we started our Workshops on Intercultural Communication for students of all faculties at the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), which are organised by the Alumni-Team and the International Office.

Many students have since completed this popular workshop with great success. Now, after nearly two years, the Alumni-Team would like to organize a reunion of "intercultural communication workshop graduates" and invite you to a barbecue, scheduled on Saturday, July 17th, 6 p.m., at the RWTH, right after another of these workshops ends that day.

If you have taken part in any of these RWTH Workshops on Intercultural Communication that were organised either by the Alumni-Team or the International Office (see the list of previously hosted workshops), you should receive an invitation from Dietrich Hunold of the Alumni-Team. If you took part, but your address has changed in the meantime, please contact him directly.

Needless to say, we are thrilled at the prospect of seeing as many of you again as possible, and hear about how you have been since the workshop, and maybe listen to your latest adventures in the intercultural world! We're sure you'll have fun too seeing your fellow participants again.

If you are still in contact with other participants of these workshops, we would be very happy if you could let them know about the reunion too, in order to reach as many participants as possible.

Your participation is free of charge, but we would appreciate it if you could contribute to the barbecue with a little salad or something else - perhaps a speciality from your home country. To help us with the organisation, Dietrich Hunold will urgently need your feedback regarding attendance. Please just send him a short message by email with your name and - if you like - contribution.

We look very much forward to seeing you again!

2004/06/20 Federal Foreign Minister's Award for providing excellent support to foreign visiting students goes to the Universities of Cologne and Göttingen.

Since 1999 the German Federal Foreign Office  has been presenting this annual award to university institutions that have developed innovative solutions and particularly effective models for advising and providing support to foreign students. Good academic and social support ensures that foreign students regard their period of study in Germany not only as an academic success but also as a personally enriching experience. Successful support can thus enhance Germany's attractiveness as a place to study.

We are very pleased that this year's recipients of the award are both institutions which we also have had the pleasure of working with. We have held workshops on intercultural communication for both institutions, where improved integration of foreign students was one of the main goals in both cases.

This year the award, along with its 15,000 Euro endowment, will be equally shared by the International Office at the University of Cologne  (Akademisches Auslandsamt der Universität zu Köln), and the Co-ordination Office of the international Master's/PhD Molecular Biology  and Neurosciences  Programs at the University of Göttingen.

We have recently held a two-day workshop on intercultural communication for members of the International Office and affiliated institutions at the University of Cologne. Future events, which will be targeted directly at German and international students of the largest German university are in the planning stage.

The Co-ordination Office of the international Master's/PhD Neurosciences and Molecular Biology Programs at the University of Göttingen was one of the organisers of the cross-cultural communication workshop we held in May at Reisensburg Castle for the Graduate College 460 at the University of Ulm. The participants included, among others, students from both Master and PhD programs in Göttingen.

Our congratulations go to Dr. Stefan Bildhauer, head of the International Office at the University of Cologne, and Dr. Steffen Burkhardt, Co-ordinator of the international Master's/PhD Neurosciences and Molecular Biology Programs at the University of Göttingen, and their staff.

2004/05/14 "No Big Talk Without Small Talk"

Since fall of 2002, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The fifth article in the series, titled No Big Talk Without Small Talk, has been published in issue 1/2004 (April 2004) of the magazine.

An overview of these articles can be found here.



2004/05/12 Workshop on intercultural communication for the Graduate College 460 at the University Ulm

The Graduate College 460 "Diagnostic and Therapeutic Concepts in Molecular Medicine" at the University of Ulm has invited us to give a two-day workshop on intercultural communication for members of the college.

The "Cross-cultural Communication Workshop" will be hosted from May 21st to May 23rd, 2004, at Reisensburg Castle in Günzburg. It is organised by the International Postgraduate Program of the Graduate College 460 at the Medical Faculty of the University of Ulm and the MSc/PhD Molecular Biology Program - International Max Planck Research School in Göttingen in co-operation with the Akademie für Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Technik an der Universität Ulm e.V. and the MD/PhD Molecular Medicine Program at Hannover Medical School.

The workshop is part of the credited extracurricular program of the college, whose members are a very international group of gifted sciences graduates and advanced students of medicine.

We will open the event with the introductory lecture "Intercultural Communication for Scientists - Facts, Data, Methods: Debunking the Myth of Neutrality" on Friday evening, followed by the workshop on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on the workshop, please contact the organizers at the Graduate College.

2004/04/19 Article: "Intercultural Communication Skills: Essential For Today's Global Marketplace"

In fall of last year the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto hosted a seminar on intercultural communication under the title "Mind The Gap - Avoiding Potential Pitfalls in Cross-Cultural Business Communication" with us as speakers.

After the seminar the organisers invited us to contribute an article on the topic to the official publication of the Chamber. The article has been published under the title Intercultural Communication Skills: Essential For Today's Global Marketplace in issue 16/2 (March/April 2004) of the "Canadian German Trade Magazine". The article is available on the Chamber's web site.

2004/04/16 Recommended reading: three new books

Last year we started compiling a list of recommended readings, which we ourselves as trainers and consultants in the area of intercultural communication have used and found to be effective tools.

We have just added three more books to this list:

Au Contraire! Figuring Out The French, by Gilles Asselin and Ruth Mastron

Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions, by Lionel Laroche

Mind Your Manners: Managing Business Cultures in Europe, edited by John Mole

This brings the total number of reviews in the three sections "General/background", "Country-/culture-specific", and "Practice/training" to 15.

We hope you enjoy reading our reviews!

2004/04/04 Workshop within the Business Conference North America, Central America, and Cuba

The Düsseldorf Chamber of Industry and Commerce, on behalf of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in North-Rhine Westfalia, is hosting the "Business Conference North America, Central America, and Cuba" on May 4th, 2004. The organisers have invited us to contribute to one of the workshops offered. As a member of the expert panel in the workshop "Key Personnel Issues for North and Central America: Recruiting Local Personnel and Expatriating International Staff - Practices, Contracts, Salaries, Intercultural Issues" we will answer questions relating to various aspects of intercultural communication.

2004/04/03 Suggested Reading and Bibliography on Intercultural Communication

The first multi-day seminar on intercultural communication was held for students of business administration at the RWTH's (Aachen University's) Institute of International Management in the period of Dec.10, 2003 to Jan. 19, 2004. At the invitation of Prof. Michael Woywode, the intensive practice-oriented two-day seminar with three additional workshop evenings was designed to follow up an introductory lecture given by the trainers Alexia and Stephan Petersen at the end of the summer semester 2003.

The feedback from the students and Prof. Woywode was extremely positive, particularly with respect to the very practice-oriented approach to translating cultural knowledge into useable skills.

Another frequent request we receive from students is for a reading list. A list of recommended readings with selected individual book reviews is already available on our web site, which provides a more general introduction to key intercultural communication issues and applications.

We have now, however, completed a more comprehensive reading list and bibliography. The titles, which we have all read and consulted frequently ourselves in the course of our activities, are listed alphabetically within four sub-categories: "General reading and background"; "Applications - Intercultural communication issues in international management"; "Applications - Intercultural communication issues for international negotiation"; and "Culture-specific readings". Especially in the list of culture-specific readings, we have attempted to provide coverage of as wide a range of cultural regions as possible. It should be noted of course that the level of written English in this reading list varies, though great attention has been taken to select texts of relatively easy readability. As this list is considerably longer, it does not contain individual reviews.

As the amount of published literature on intercultural communication is tremendous, we will of course continue adding to this list, which will soon be published on our web site. Our aim is always to provide students of the topic with a list that is as comprehensive as it is useable.

2004/02/17 Workshop on intercultural communication at the University Duisburg-Essen

Our workshops on intercultural communication, which we give regularly at the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University) for students of all faculties, have been very popular since their inauguration. Other universities are now expressing interest in hosting this workshop too, not least due to the very positive response of the participants.

AkZent (Akademisches Zentrum für Studium und Beruf) at the University of Duisburg-Essen  has invited us to give this workshop for the first time for students of all faculties.

The 2-day workshop will take place on June 7th and 8th, 2004 at the Duisburg Campus. For more information, check our section "events and dates".

2004/02/16 Presentation on intercultural communication at the Chamber of Commerce Duisburg, Germany

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the Lower Rhine Region in Duisburg  has invited us to give a presentation on intercultural communication. This event, jointly organized by the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Duisburg and Essen, the Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftsförderung (Economic Development Agency) Duisburg, and the University Duisburg-Essen, will take place on March 2nd, 2004 under the title "Wettbewerbsvorteile sichern durch interkulturelle Kompetenz".

This presentation, given in German, intends to give companies from the Lower Rhine Area insights into how they benefit from staff having intercultural communication skills.

For further information on this event, please see the section events and dates.

2004/02/02 Business English for Human Resource Managers

Are you working in human resource management? Would you like to improve your English language skills? Are you also interested in aquiring skills in the area of intercultural communication?

Join us for our beginner and advanced level courses "Business English for Human Resource Managers", which we developed last year for Datakontext-Tagungen.

The dates for 2004:

Beginner's course, Cologne, March 22-23, 2004
Advanced course, Cologne, April 28-29, 2004

Beginner's course, Dresden, September 20-21, 2004
Advanced course, Dresden, November 10-11, 2004

You will find more information on our website under events and dates and www.datakontext.com . Datakontext will also be happy to send you additional information upon request (tagungen@datakontext.com).

2004/01/05 Article on our "Breakfast Seminar" in Toronto

On October 8th of last year the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto invited us to give a seminar on intercultural communication under the title Mind The Gap - Avoiding Potential Pitfalls in Cross-Cultural Business Communication. The seminar was very well received, with the Chamber subsequently publishing an article on the event in the magazine "Canadian German Trade", vol. 15/6 (November/December) 2003, the official publication of the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

2004/01/04 English for human resource managers: new articles in our series

Since fall 2002 Alexia Petersen has been writing a regular column for the new magazine Personal.Manager - HR International. This article series, "English in the Job", is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. These articles focus primarily on the physical components of English; however, they offer a unique look at advanced language skills as a significant function of intercultural communication.

The following articles have been published so far:

Issue 1/2002 (October 2002):
Do you still speak "German-English"?

Issue 1/2003 (April 2003):
"I'm not too happy": Hitting the Right Tone in English

Issue 2/2003 (September 2003):
A Fresh Look at Verb Forms (1)

Issue 3/2003 (November 2003):
A Fresh Look at Verb Forms (2)

An overview of these articles can be found here.

In addition to this, the article in Issue 1/2003 ("I'm not too happy": Hitting the Right Tone in English) is available as a sample on our web site.

2003/12/23 Seminar for Indian DAAD Scholarship Students

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  is one of the world's largest and most respected intermediary organisations in its field. Scores of students, teachers, researchers and scientists supported by the DAAD have been able to gain valuable experience abroad.

For more than 75 years now, the DAAD has been committed to advancing academic relations between Germany and other countries as well as, more generally, to promoting the fields of education, science, culture and research.

A very successful programme in this regard is the DAAD's "Sandwich Model" for Indian Masters-Program students, encompassing an exchange of students between the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and six German Technical Universities (Aachen, Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Karlsruhe, and Stuttgart). Established in 1950, Indian Institutes of Technology have become synonymous with excellence in technology and engineering education in India.

The name "Sandwich" hints at the fact that the stay in Germany is done as part of the students' Masters program. The nine-month period in Germany comprises six months of project work for the Master's thesis carried out at the German university, plus four to eight weeks of practical training/internship in German industry.

Every few years the DAAD organises an orientation weekend, to which all of the current scholarship holders are invited. We were excited to be invited by the organisers to this year's event, taking place from December 11th to December 13th 2003 in Darmstadt, to give a half-day seminar on intercultural communication.

Based on the experience we have gathered in teaching many foreign students at the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), we presented a seminar that provides the Indian students with a framework to organise and interpret the experiences they've had so far in Germany. Those students who came over to Germany only very recently will benefit from a number of issues that we raised which are typically the cause for integration problems and intercultural miscommunication.

The feedback from the audience, consisting of students from all the Indian Institutes of Technology (Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati, and Roorkee) plus representatives of the German universities and the DAAD, was excellent.

2003/11/10 Presentation at the Entrepreneur's Meeting "Doing Business in the USA"; Aachen, November 28th, 2003

The US economy is improving, and recent tax breaks announced by the government as well as increasing investments are expected to result in a marked upswing in 2004. The US market is thus becoming more and more attractive.

In light of the significance of the US economy, the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce , in co-operation with the Chambers of Eupen (Belgium), Hasselt (The Netherlands), Liège (Belgium), Maastricht (The Netherlands), and Verviers (Belgium) is hosting the international Entrepreneur's Meeting "Doing Business in the USA".

In the course of the meeting, speakers and entrepreneurs familiar with the US will talk about the legal, economic, political, and cultural situation. All talks will be presented in English.

We're delighted to have been invited to give one of the presentations, in which we'll focus on intercultural communication. We will highlight typical problems encountered by companies from our part of Europe with respect to differences in cultural thinking that impact business communication in the USA.

The meeting will take place on Friday, November 28th, 2003, 9am at the Dorint Hotel Quellenhof in Aachen. The presentations are followed by lunch, giving the participants the chance to network and exchange experiences with other entrepreneurs from the Euregio Meuse-Rhine.

Further details on this meeting can be obtained from Dr. Gunter Schaible of the Foreign Trade Department at the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce .

2003/09/24 "Breakfast Seminar" on Intercultural Communication at the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto

The Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Toronto has invited us to give a seminar on intercultural communication. The event, to which members and non-members of the Chamber are invited, will take place in the form of a "breakfast seminar" on October 8th. Apart from giving an introduction to the basic concepts and issues in intercultural communication we will especially highlight the differences between Germany and Canada in this field.

More information on the event is available under "events and dates", where you will also find a PDF version of the invitation to download.

2003/09/17 Lectures on intercultural communication at the Institute of International Management at Aachen University

For some time now we have been giving workshops on intercultural communication for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), which have resulted consistently in very positive feedback.

These workshops recently came to the attention of Professor Michael Woywode at the Institute of International Management at RWTH Aachen , which has resulted in an invitation to lecture at his institute beginning with the fall semester 2003/2004. These lectures will feature in the "international management" elective programme for students of business administration at RWTH Aachen.

Apart from an introduction to the topic of intercultural communication, in which students will benefit from our theory-to-practice approach, the lecture series will also focus on the role of intercultural communication in international management, and especially in intercultural human resource management.

An introductory lecture on this topic was already held by us for Professor Woywode's students in July, which familiarised the participants with the subject, and which was very well received.

2003/09/05 Seminars on intercultural communication for the administrative staff of universities

For some time now we have been giving workshops on intercultural communication for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), which have resulted in very positive feedback. One of the initiators of the workshops, the university's International Office, has subsequently suggested the development of one-day seminars which are adapted specifically for the administrative staff of the university as a target group.

As universities continue to internationalise by recruiting increasingly more foreign students, administrative staff encounter new, often unfamiliar situations in their traditional day-to-day tasks. Beside the teaching body, the university administrative staff is an important contact for the students, and thus requires additional awareness and tools to help them cope effectively with new situations.

The introductory seminar to intercultural communication we have developed, which can be given in either English or German, is tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of this target group. It is designed to provide a conceptual framework for identifying different cultural communication styles (their own as well as that of the foreign student), and understanding when and why they clash in the typical cross-cultural situations experienced daily within the university administration. At the same time, based on our knowledge-to-practice approach, this conceptual model is also an immensely functional tool that has continuously proven itself to be highly effective in both immediate benefits for the participant and the long-term development of cross-cultural communication skills.

This workshop will be held for the first time in November 2003 at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, next year the RWTH Aachen will follow.

2003/09/04 Intercultural Communication: A Student's Perspective

Chowdhry Girirajanand is a student from India, who is enrolled in the "software systems engineering" Master's program at RWTH Aachen (Aachen University) here in Germany. He was also one of the participants of the first workshop on intercultural communication in December 2002 which we gave for students of all faculties at RWTH Aachen, and which since then has been held regularly. At the time of joining us for the workshop, he had only been in Germany for a little more than three months.

Immediately following the workshop, he began to notice the immediate relevance and applicability of the knowledge and tools taught in the workshop in his daily experiences in life in Germany, especially in communicating with fellow German and foreign students, professors and the administrative staff of the university. He experienced how knowledge and skills in intercultural communication, as we present them in the workshop, can in fact change the quality of interaction with people from different cultures. Over the subsequent months his conscious application of these skills enabled him to assess the other's actions or reactions more reasonably, thereby reducing or avoiding altogether unnecessary communication barriers. The result is not only a smoother adjustment to his new and very different cultural environment, but also the increasing confidence of possessing the necessary tools with which to deal effectively with the differences he continues to encounter.

Since his participation in the workshop, he has also had the opportunity to return to India for a short time, which exposed him to a typical experience of "reverse culture shock". Having adjusted to and acquired features of other communication behaviour abroad, he returned home noticeably changed in ways he himself had not been entirely conscious of.

Chowdhry Girirajanand has since written a short text on his experiences, which is not only fun to read, but also provides insight into the experiences of a successful traveller across cultural borders. We're happy to be able to make his text available on our web site, and hope you enjoy reading it!

2003/08/20 Our new seminars: Business English for Human Resource Managers

We have been in co-operation with the Datakontext Group  in Frechen, Germany for some time now. For the last year Alexia Petersen has been a regular columnist with one of their magazines, Personal.Manager - HR International, issued by the publishing branch of the group.

Human resource management is one of the primary focal points not only of the publishing arm, but also of the conference organisation branch, which meanwhile has established itself as a leading specialist in the market over the last 20 years. It is considered in the industry and public service sector to be the source for practice-oriented seminars and trade conferences featuring, as one of their main topics, personnel management.

Datakontext's conference branch has now invited Alexia Petersen to hold multi-day seminars in Business English Communication for Human Resource Managers. These seminars (Beginner's and Advanced levels, each 2-days long) will take place for the first time this year in November in Cologne. The target group for these seminars includes staff and managers who work in personnel management and especially international human resource management; executives directly responsible for decision-making in personnel management; and internationally-active industry consultants in the field of human resource management.

The contents and approach of the seminars are uniquely shaped by our more than 10 years of extensive experience in English language training combined with intercultural communication skills training. Based on our considerable experience collected from working in the widest range of sectors including the industry, universities, and adult language education, we have developed a programme tailored to the specific needs and challenges encountered by personnel managers active in an English-speaking environment.

In particular, the topic of intercultural communication features prominently in the seminars. Despite the fact that personnel managers working in an English-speaking environment are confronted daily with intercultural communication issues, very few seminars actually offer a programme that teaches practical language and communication skills as functions of intercultural communication. In these new compact seminars, Datakontext now offers personnel managers a rare opportunity to benefit from the combination of English language and intercultural communication skills training, a method which has proven over the years to be successful and decisive in practice.

You will find more information on our website under events and dates and www.datakontext.com . Datakontext will also be happy to send you additional information upon request (tagungen@datakontext.com).

2003/08/08 Recommended reading: three new books

Recently we have started compiling a list of recommended readings, which we ourselves as trainers and consultants in the area of intercultural communication have used and found to be effective tools.

We have just added three more books to this list:

Into Africa: Intercultural Insights, by Yale Richmond and Phyllis Gestrin

Old World, New World: Bridging Cultural Differences: Britain, France, Germany, and the U.S., by Craig Storti

Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: Selected Readings, edited by Milton Bennett

This brings the total number of reviews in the three sections "General/background", "Country-/culture-specific", and "Practice/training" to 12.

We hope you enjoy reading our reviews!

2003/07/10 Intercultural Communication Workshops at the RWTH Aachen, November 2003 and January 2004

Last year the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), in co-operation with us, offered its first workshop on intercultural communication.

Three workshops have already taken place, and the dates for the winter semester 2003/2004 have now also been set. One workshop will be held on November 7th - 8th, a second one on January 16th - 17th.

These workshops, which we have specially tailored for the RWTH, are a joint initiative of the Alumni Team and the university's International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt).

Detailed information on the workshops can be found here.

2003/06/12 Recommended reading: our selection

Our customers and seminar participants often ask us for recommendations for books on intercultural communication.

We have therefore compiled a list of recommended readings, which we ourselves as trainers and consultants in the area of intercultural communication have used and found to be effective tools.

This list will be added to in the future; new additions will be announced through our mailing list.

We have organized the reviewed books thematically into three categories ("General/background", "Country-/culture-specific", and "Practice/training") and have used a rating system (1 to 5 stars) to help you determine a book's content and applicability for a particular purpose. Needless to say, our rating is a subjective one, and reflects its usefulness to us as trainers and consultants.

Direct links to the corresponding pages at Amazon in various countries (Germany, U.S.A., Canada, U.K., France, Japan, Austria) enable you to retrieve further information about the book (availability, price, reader's comments, etc.).

We hope you enjoy reading our reviews!

2003/06/03 "I'm not too happy": Hitting the Right Tone in English

Since fall of last year, Alexia Petersen has been contributing a regular column for the new magazine Personal.Manager - HR International.

This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The second article, titled "I'm not too happy": Hitting the Right Tone in English, has been published in issue 1/2003 (April 2003) of the magazine.

We're happy to announce that this instalment is also available as a sample article on our web site.

We hope you enjoy it!

2003/05/13 Meet ExecutivePlanet.com's new "Business Culture Guides" for Germany

We recently have been invited by ExecutivePlanet.com  to be their "Business Culture Guides" for Germany.

ExecutivePlanet.com provides information on many of the business cultures around the world and is the most popular web site on international business culture. Since intercultural communication knowledge and skills, the way we teach them, play a major role in this field, we gladly accepted the responsibility of being ExecutivePlanet.com's "Business Culture Guides" for Germany.

We have extensively updated and extended the previously available information on Germany as it appeared on ExecutivePlanet.com, and are pleased to announce that the new material is now online.

The information, dealing with topics such as making appointments, what you should know before negotiating, entertaining for business success, and much more, provides vital knowledge to anybody interested in acquiring effective business communication skills with respect to Germany.

Other than these reference texts, ExecutivePlanet.com is now also starting to add discussion groups for each of the featured cultures. These discussion groups, moderated by the "Business Culture Guides", are open to anyone and provide a valuable resource for the exchange of information between the readers.

All of the "Business Culture Guides" at ExecutivePlanet.com are internationally experienced managers, consultants, or trainers; renowned authors; or experts on cross-cultural business communication. We recommend ExecutivePlanet.com to anyone who is looking for relevant business communication information for any of the cultures and countries it features.

We're looking forward to meeting you at ExecutivePlanet.com!

About ExecutivePlanet.com:

ExecutivePlanet.com was founded in early 1999 as a web site to inspire and educate business travelers about international business culture and etiquette. In addition to providing valuable country-specific guides, ExecutivePlanet.com also features articles by experts in cross-cultural business.

ExecutivePlanet.com has been featured in such prominent media as Time Magazine, CNN, Business 2.0, The Globe and Mail - Canada's National Newspaper, and The Houston Chronicle, to name a few.

ExecutivePlanet.com currently receives over 500,000 page views a month and over 2000 unique visitors a day as the most popular site on international business culture.

2003/04/28 The 'Interculturally Literate' Language Teacher - Beyond Grammar and Vocabulary

Seminar at the Goethe-Institut Amsterdam, Saturday, May 10th 2003, 10am - 5pm.

We have been invited by the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Amsterdam  to host a seminar on intercultural communication. This seminar is organised as part of the continuing education program for the German and Dutch language instructors teaching German as a foreign language.

For this particular target group we have developed a one-day seminar which introduces the topic of intercultural communication as it applies to language teachers. It presents the basic concepts of intercultural communication, introduces the skills particularly relevant with respect to the practical aspects of language instruction, and offers answers to the question what knowledge and skills from this area should be passed on to the students.

The seminar program is a lively, practice-oriented mix of presentations, discussions, group activities, role plays, and case studies.

Check our events and dates section for the seminar contents and registration information.

2003/04/08 Latin America article

Since August last year we have been co-operating with iXPOS , the German Business Portal. For the countries and regions introduced by iXPOS as "Markt des Monats" (market of the month), we are contributing an article on intercultural communication.

The featured market in April 2003 is Latin America. Again, we have contributed an article and a corresponding checklist on intercultural communication tailored specifically to this area.

We hope you enjoy them!

2003/04/04 Intercultural Communication Workshops at the RWTH Aachen, April 25th/26th, 2003

Last year the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University), in co-operation with us, offered its first workshop on intercultural communication. Student response was so great, and participant feedback so positive, that this workshop will be held regularly.

These workshops, which we have specially tailored for the RWTH, are a joint initiative of the Alumni Team and the university's International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt).

The next workshop will take place on Friday, the 25th, and Saturday, the 26th of April.

Detailed information on the workshops can be found here.

2003/02/28 Seminar on Intercultural Communication, Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce

The district of Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia) is one of Germany's leading regions in terms of foreign trade. The companies located in this area exhibit a higher-than-average involvement in international activities. Last year the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce  organised a seminar series under the title "Fundamentals of Export Marketing". This series, presented for the first time, was met with great interest. Primarily targeted at companies intending to establish international contacts, the series provided solid information and background on topics such as how to successfully establish foreign business activities, drafting up export and import contracts, customs issues, and more.

Following the considerable response from the business community last year, the organisers have decided not only to repeat the series this year, but also to significantly extend it at the same time. From April through July, a total of nine full-day and half-day seminars will be offered, all given by highly experienced consultants, practitioners, and lawyers.

We're delighted that we have been invited to give the inaugural seminar of the series. On April 9th we will present a full-day seminar on intercultural communication at the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce. The target group includes management and technical staff of internationally active companies. As with all our seminars, we will not only provide interesting and exciting insights into the workings of intercultural communication, but also a variety of practical skills, which will help the participants in their everyday activities.

Check our events and dates section for the seminar contents and registration information.

2003/01/08 English for human resource managers: our new article series

Are you working in human resource management?

Would you like to improve your English language skills?

Then, our new series of articles in Personal.Manager - HR International is perfect for you!

Alexia Petersen writes a regular column for the new magazine Personal.Manager - HR International. This article series, English in the Job, is aimed at those in personnel management who would like to improve their English language skills. In addition to highlighting those technical aspects of language required for this field, special emphasis is given to exploring the function of English as an indispensable intercultural communication tool.

The first issue of the magazine was published in October of last year and it contains the inaugural instalment of the series: English in the job - Do you still speak "German-English"?

About the magazine: Personal.Manager is the only German-language trade journal with an emphasis on international personnel management. It presents a forum for the discussion of issues in international human resource management and for an exchange of information on HRM in other countries. Internationally-oriented companies report on their experiences; consultants, service sector companies, and manufacturers of (software) products introduce their solutions.

2002/11/27 Intercultural Communication Workshops at the RWTH Aachen

The inaugural workshop on intercultural communication at the RWTH Aachen (Aachen University) will take place on December 13th and 14th, 2002. Registration is now open for students of all faculties.

At the end of May of this year we hosted a half-day seminar on intercultural communication for the local chapter of the IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience). The event was attended by organisers of the local chapter, students of the RWTH preparing for a internship abroad, as well as foreign students doing their internship in Germany. (A short article on this seminar was published in issue no. 33 of the magazine "keep in touch", published by the RWTH Alumni Team .)

Feedback for this seminar was so encouraging that the RWTH contacted us with the proposal to host extended versions of this seminar for the university, which would be open to all students.

These workshops, which we have specially tailored for the RWTH, are a joint initiative of the Alumni Team  and the university's International Office  (Akademisches Auslandsamt) and will debut in December.

In these workshops we will introduce the conceptual foundations and models of intercultural communication. Equally important is the training of practical skills in this area, which will enable the participants to act and react with confidence and competence in unfamiliar or unexpected intercultural situations.

Our application- and practice-oriented approach to teaching intercultural communication skills draws from extensive experience gathered from our seminar and consulting activities with commercial enterprises, government organisations, non-profit organisation, international student organisations, as well as chambers of industry and trade both in Germany and abroad.

In attending this workshop, participants will not only prepare themselves for an academic stay or an internship abroad; our goal is also to prepare them for those situations they will likely encounter once they enter the workforce.

Foreign students at the RWTH are also very much included in our target audience. They will equally benefit from one of the main topics of the seminar: the prevailing communication patterns and behaviour in German culture, and why and how they differ from those of other cultural groups.

The background knowledge and skills introduced in the workshop are intended to facilitate not only intercultural contact between German and foreign students, but also the "intercultural integration" of RWTH's foreign student body.

The workshops are designed as two-day events, which will take place on consecutive days. In addition to these two days, three follow-up evening sessions are planned for every workshop, which will enable students to discuss the solutions of case studies to be assigned at the end of the workshop. These extra sessions will also allow for students to discuss and exchange intercultural experiences of their own.

The workshops are open to students of all faculties of the RWTH and will be given in English (we guarantee easy comprehension). The maximum number of participants is limited to 16, in order to allow students ample time for active participation.

Similar workshops are planned for RWTH faculty and employees in 2003.

Target groups:

  • Students preparing for an academic stay or an internship abroad
  • Foreign students of the RWTH
  • Any student who is interested in entering a career that will require contact with other countries and cultures
  • Any student who is interested in successfully communicating across cultures!
Location:
Zentrale Studienberatung (Student Advice Centre), Templergraben 83 (at the corner of Pontstraße)

Time:
December 13th and 14th, 9am - 4pm

Registration:
Attending the workshops requires a binding registration. Registration is handled by the RWTH Alumni Team. Contact person:

Mr. Dietrich Hunold
RWTH Aachen Alumni Team 
Templergraben 55
52056 Aachen
Phone: 0241/80-95585
Fax: 0241/80-92324
Email: alumni@rwth-aachen.de

The easiest way to register is by sending an email that includes name and matriculation (student's registration) number.

More information on contents and dates of the workshops:



2002/11/21 AIESEC's Open Minds 2002

AIESEC , the world's largest international student organisation, provides students in all academic disciplines with the opportunity to do a traineeship abroad in one of over 80 countries. AIESEC is currently facilitating the international exchange of about 3000 students and recent graduates per year, among them more than 300 German students.

The AIESEC committees of Aachen and Cologne will be hosting an Open Minds seminar weekend for students from Friday, November 29th to Sunday, December 1st, 2002 in Nideggen (Eifel).

Participating students will be offered three different seminars focussing on reintegration, integration, and exchange preparation for outgoing students.

The Exchange Preparation Seminar (XPS), which we will be contributing to, is designed to prepare future AIESEC trainees for a more optimal stay abroad. The XPS is divided into different seminars and workshops, in which the future trainees will be introduced to and deal with typical intercultural problems.

These seminars and workshops comprise topics such as culture shock, an understanding of one's own culture, and will contain interactive discussions and practical exercises to simulate possible conflict situations that may occur abroad. The goal is to sensitize trainees to their own behavior and to tricky cross-cultural communication situations.

In the past, the XPS was conducted exclusively by Cultural Sensitivity Coaches trained by AIESEC Germany. To further increase the practical relevance of the seminars, a module with external coaches and company representatives will be included in the seminar for the first time. This will give the students the opportunity to experience intercultural communication competence training at a practical and applicative level.

We are glad to be taking part in this seminar series and to contribute to the preparation of AIESEC trainees for their stay abroad. A short summary of the contents of our half-day seminar (to be given in English) can be found below.

Seminar contents

  1. Introduction
    • Triangle of culture: the relationship between language, culture and communication
    • Our structural concept: misconceptions and realities
    • Our practical aim: identifying and correcting one's own misconceptions
    • Recognising typically tricky situations: the first step towards intercultural communication competence

  2. Bridging the Cultural Gap: Understanding why we communicate the way we do
    • The "cultural onion": a symbol for understanding cultural differences
    • The basic cultural core orientations
    • The impact of cultural orientation on behaviour and communication style
    • Understanding one's own cultural values system
    • Culture shock: encountering another's "cultural onion"
    • Reverse culture shock
    • The basic tools for acquiring intercultural literacy

  3. Bridging the Communication Gap: Understanding how we communicate
    • "High" and "low" context communication patterns: knowing where you and the other are on the scale
    • Saying and interpreting "yes" and "no": anything but simple
    • A case study: Why "Good English" is the perfect intercultural communication tool
    • "Hi-fi" and "lo-fi" language skills: tuning in to what the situation requires
    • Hitting the right tone: when vocabulary and grammar are not enough

  4. Outlook
    • Acquiring tools and skills
    • The risks of "learning by doing"
    • Creating your own checklist: Becoming interculturally competent and "multilingual"


2002/10/01 Canada: Big Land, Small Talk

Since August we have been co-operating with iXPOS , the German Business Portal. For every country or region introduced by iXPOS as "Markt des Monats" (market of the month), we are contributing an article on intercultural communication.

The featured market of the month in October is Canada. Again, we have contributed an article (Canada: Big Land, Small Talk) and a corresponding checklist on intercultural communication tailored specifically to Canada.

We hope you enjoy them!

2002/09/03 Communicating Between Cultures: A Seminar for the Annual One World Partnership Meeting in the Diocese of Osnabrück

It is not only commercial companies today who must be able to communicate skilfully in an international environment. Increasingly more non-commercial organisations are also recognising a need to acquire similar competence. The fact remains that as soon as one establishes international contacts, one communicates interculturally, and in this respect the challenges faced by both sectors are largely identical.

Volunteers in developmental aid programmes too are exposed directly to the particular challenges of communicating effectively with some of the most different cultures from their own. Especially in cases where differences in cultural backgrounds between the volunteer and foreign partner are extreme, language ability often proves to be the lesser problem. At the beginning of this year we held a very successful one-week workshop for missio Aachen, attended by several of their own in-house programmes training staff. The focus of the workshop was to not only provide the participants with intensive language training tailored to their professional needs, but to also precisely address the larger intercultural issues in which language functions.

Within the Catholic church there are meanwhile many volunteer parish communities and groups who have become active in cultivating direct contacts and co-operative works with foreign partner groups in the "Third World". An increasing number of these are becoming aware of the importance of exchanging practical experience with their partners abroad, facilitating a flow of tips, information and simply new ideas and their implementation.

For this reason the Church supports the work of these parish communities and groups by offering regular events where volunteers can simply meet, become acquainted with each other, and share experiences. On such occasions, the Church takes the opportunity to offer its volunteers -- all of whom are very active in developmental aid programmes -- seminars which will provide them with the tools necessary to carry through their tasks.

We are happy to announce that we have been invited by the Episcopal Commission for Missionary Services, Developmental Aid, and Peace in the Diocese of Osnabrück  to participate in their next "One World Partnership" meeting on September 21, 2002. We will be of holding a half-day seminar that will offer participants both the foundational background knowledge and practical tools of intercultural communication to aid them in their daily tasks.

Typically a letter arrives from our African partner community requesting financial support for a project. It may well be that our community is not in a position to fulfil this request: how do we express our position beyond just the facts? How can we be truthful about our situation and at the same time sure that a denial of a request will not be mistaken to mean an 'end of a friendship'? Or a Latin American partner community agrees by letter to a proposal ... then nothing happens. Have we misunderstood something? Can the Latin American 'yes' mean something fundamentally different than when we say 'yes'?

These are just some of the typical questions and problems faced by volunteers in their tasks. We look very much forward to taking them on a fascinating journey and giving them the knowledge and tools that will serve both them and their foreign partners in facilitating a smoother intercultural communication with each other.

2002/08/01 Country-specific articles on intercultural communication

Beginning in August, we will be co-operating with iXPOS , the German Business Portal. For every country or region introduced by iXPOS as "Markt des Monats" (market of the month), we will be contributing an article on intercultural communication.

With "Markt des Monats", iXPOS offers the German business community carefully researched and easily accessible country-specific information and links. The topics range from foreign trade promotion, to reports and data on the economic situation, to addresses and contacts.

With these articles on intercultural communication relating to the featured country, we would like to add another important dimension to the extensive information available to every iXPOS visitor. Especially for managers and specialists, knowledge and skills in intercultural communication have become an indispensable "soft skill", which nowadays often determine the success or failure of an international assignment. Nonetheless, even the fundamentals of intercultural communication continue to be lacking and undervalued by the business community. With this series of articles we would like to offer a source of information for everybody who would like to acquire basic, practice-oriented, country-specific knowledge and skills in this area.

The articles can be found on our web site, iXPOS links to these articles from the corresponding "Markt des Monats" web page.

In creating these articles we draw on our years of experience as consultants and trainers in the area of intercultural communication. Over ten years of experience as an engineer with a company active world-wide also guarantee the practical relevance of the articles.

Each article consists of two parts: the first part explores a key aspect or concept in intercultural communication and highlights its relevance to the featured country. Typically this will be introduced by a short case study drawn from our consulting work or our own professional experience.

The second part is a "check list" which contains a number of specific issues which need to be kept in mind when communicating with colleagues and business partners from that country. Divided into practical tips for what one should do, avoid, or simply be aware of, to which we added a list of small talk topics, we provide the business traveller in particular with a concise tool for an effective first encounter. In providing readers with such a practical "toolkit", we aim to emphasise its applicability within, foremost, a solid framework of intercultural communication principles. Therefore, we include a fifth section aimed at assisting the international business traveller in developing self-sufficient intercultural communication skills.

We kick off this series with an article on Spain, together with a short introduction of both the advantages and limitations of country-specific information in the area of intercultural communication.

We are especially happy that we will be able to make these articles available in both English and German.

We hope you will benefit from these articles, and that you will enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy writing them!

Feedback is, as always, warmly welcome.

About iXPOS:

iXPOS - The gateway to German business

New foreign trade portal - your link to international success

Germany is breaking new ground in foreign trade promotion with the new Internet portal www.ixpos.de. iXPOS offers you the entire spectrum of German foreign trade promotion opportunities at a glance. The new platform will guide interested entrepreneurs through the dense jungle of tools, services and information which various government and semi-independent players in Germany provide.

iXPOS is a Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) initiative. The German Office for Foreign Trade (bfai) is responsible for co-ordinating the website content.

2002/06/12 IAESTE seminar wrap-up

We would like to thank all participants for attending the seminar on intercultural communication, which we hosted with the Aachen local chapter of the IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) on May 25th.

With participants from Germany, Spain, Romania, Brazil, Greece, Portugal, Kazachstan, China, Switzerland, Slovakia, and other countries, the audience was quite an international crowd. The interest and excellent feedback of the participants made this a very memorable seminar for us too.

A short article on this seminar has been published in "keep in touch", the Aachen University Alumni Magazine, Issue No. 33 - October 2002 .

We're already looking forward to organizing further events with IAESTE in the future.

2002/05/31 Aachen Chamber of Commerce workshop flyer online

On June 27th we are going to host a day-long workshop with the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) on intercultural communication. For your convenience, we just put the announcement flyer (PDF format) online, you can find it on our website on the page events and dates. We would be happy to meet you for this workshop! If you would like to sign up, simply print out the flyer, fill in the registration section, and fax it to Mrs. Verena Stübner at the IHK Aachen, fax no. 0241/4460-149.

2002/04/12 Seminars, workshops, and what our customers say

We have added a new area to our website that provides you with an up-to-date list of upcoming seminars and workshops. You'll find this calendar under events and dates.

We would like to especially mention the upcoming events at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Aachen (June 2002) and the one in Münster (November 2002).

Are you interesting in learning what our customers say about us and our services? Make sure you have a look at some testimonials.

2002/02/27 Additions to our website

We have recently reworked our website, added one new area and extended another.

Would you like to know who our customers are, and where the people come from who attend our seminars and workshops? Have a look at our customers, where we have listed a number of them.

We have extended the area on our concepts; in the lower part you will now find more detailed descriptions about our particular concepts on training and consulting in the areas of intercultural communication, English training, business English, and grammar.

2001/12/07 Seminar Wrap-up

We would like to thank all participants of the seminars in Toronto and Aachen for joining us on these two occasions. Not only did you show up in larger numbers than expected, you also provided the most positive feedback possible! We were thrilled to receive such great responses, and we're looking forward to following up with more activities in the same line in both cities. This will most definitely happen here in Aachen, since the Chamber of Industry and Trade has already suggested hosting a workshop on the same topic, after participants of the seminar requested such an event. Of course we'll announce these activities on our website and through our mailing list, so stay tuned!

We're looking forward to seeing you again soon!

2001/08/31 Talks and seminars, fall 2001: Aachen (Germany) and Toronto (Canada)

For all of you who would like to attend one of our talks and seminars, here are the dates for fall 2001:

  • Toronto, Canada, Tuesday, Oct. 9th, 2001
    As part of their popular 2nd Tuesday events, the Toronto Board of Trade - Young Professionals  will host a short power seminar with us on Tuesday, October 9th, on intercultural communication. The meeting will be held in the Toronto Board of Trade offices, 4th floor, First Canadian Place at Bay and Adelaide, and will start at 6:00pm. More information will soon be available from the Toronto Board of Trade - Young Professionals'  web site.

    From the announcement:

    Why Don't They Get It!?!
    How to avoid getting burnt in cross-cultural communication.

    Alexia & Stephan Petersen
    English Communication for Professionals

    Seminar topics

    1. "It's as simple as yes or no": When English as an international language fails
      • Do you know your level of "context"?
      • Superficial? A pushover? Not me!
    2. No Big Talk without Small Talk
      • Falling flat when it isn't done well
      • Falling flat when it is done well
    3. Do we get it?
      • Preparing for a less than ideal situation
      • Keeping one's goal in sight

    In this PowerSeminar you will learn the essentials of communicating interculturally, in particular with Europeans. Find out what you can do to make your next contact, negotiation, or business trip a success. Even if you're a good communicator in your own culture, and English is your mother tongue, you still run risks of running into communication barriers when dealing with people from abroad. Get a head start on learning which tools help you tear down these barriers.

  • Aachen, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 21st, 2001
    Together with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Aachen  (IHK Aachen) we will be hosting a seminar on Successful Intercultural Communication: reduce communication barriers - discover unused potential - develop communication competence. Join us on Wednesday, Nov. 21st, 2001, 9am - 2pm, at the IHK Aachen, Theaterstraße 6-10, Room 124. The participation fee is 40 Euro. To receive more information and to register, please contact Verena Stübner, M.A., vstuebne@aachen.ihk.de.

    Some info on the seminar:

    Whoever comes into contact with people, communicates. Whoever has international contacts, communicates interculturally, and in most cases today in English. Most of those who do this already speak English and trust that their English is good enough to enable them to communicate successfully.

    Reality, however, is often a different matter altogether. As soon as persons of different cultures come together and speak to each other, it then becomes clear that more is required than just language competence to be able to communicate successfully across cultural borders. This seminar will help you take this and other hurdles.

    Target group: engineers, managers, CEOs, start-ups, and everybody who would like to communicate effectively and successfully with people from other countries and cultures.

    Please note that this seminar will be given in English.

    Some of the topics we will address:

    • The potential of English as a natural ... language between different cultures.
    • The basic skills of the intercultural manager.
    • The nonverbal aspects of intercultural communication.
    • "First work, then play": How non-success can already be a foregone conclusion.
    • Intercultural communication and marketing.
    • Your greatest risk: You don't recognize communication barriers and no one tells you they're there.
    • Small talk: The miracle potion in intercultural communication.
    • Why efficient communication often isn't effective.

    On top of this you will receive background knowledge, tools for your real-life intercultural communication needs, plus lots of practical examples, all arranged into an exciting concept. This concept has been developed by the speakers, and derives as much from their own multi-cultural backgrounds as from their extensive personal and professional intercultural experience.

    Here's what you will take home from this seminar:

    • You will learn how to get your message successfully across cultural boundaries.
    • You will understand what the other actually wants to tell you.
    • You will be able to more accurately interpret what is not said.
    • You will learn how to recognize and reduce existing communication barriers, and in the future prevent similar problems from developing.
    • You will learn how to create a "comfort zone" when communicating with people from other cultures, and why this is an essential step to optimizing communication potential, especially in business communication.
    • With our "toolbox" you will learn to be better prepared to deal with all manner of intercultural experiences, be they spontaneous or planned.



2001/06/18 A new area on our website: Resources & Texts

We have added another area to our web site where we will publish various resources & texts relating to our work in the areas of intercultural commmunication and language training.

For starters, we have published two texts which deal with various aspects of intercultural communication. I had the best of times, I had the worst of times focusses on intercultural communication as a central aspect of many tourist experiences. Haven't you always wanted to win a body bag? describes how we stumbled upon an advertising blunder made by a German beverage manufacturer who used an English expression in a German marketing campaign without taking the expression's original meaning into account.

We hope you enjoy them!

2000/10/20 Seminar Wrap-up

We would like to thank all those participants who attended our introductory seminar on September 21st at the its Baesweiler ( Internationales Technologie- und Service-Center Baesweiler , www.its-center.de ) for their interest and great feedback. The its regularly hosts lectures and seminars in a wide range of topics. According to Dirk Pfeifferling, who organized the seminar at the its Baesweiler and evaluated the feedback questionnaires, "no other event has matched the extremely positive feedback we have received for this seminar". We look forward to working together with the its in offering similar and continuing events on these topics. We would like to take this opportunity to once again express our sincere appreciation and thanks to the its, and to Mr. Pfeifferling in particular, for their outstanding support and organization of the event.

2000/09/21 Introductory lecture on Successful Intercultural Communication in Baesweiler

On Thursday, September 21st, 2000, at 6:00pm we will give an intructory lecture on Successful Intercultural Communication: reduce communication barriers - discover unused potential - develop communication competence. The seminar will be hosted by the its (Internationales Technologie- und Service-Center Baesweiler) , Arnold-Sommerfeld-Ring 2, 52499 Baesweiler.

The following topics will be addressed:

  • Basic concepts of culture (e.g. time/space, individual/group orientation, hierarchy/power distance, interpersonal relationships, rules/regulations, uncertainty avoidance, etc.)
  • Levels of cultural awareness
  • Relationship of culture, communication and language
  • Cultural influences on speech and behavioral patterns
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication patterns and their roles in effective intercultural communication
  • Communication patterns in "low context" and "high context" languages
  • English as the intermediary between "low context" and "high context" languages
  • Learning how to differentiate between intended and attributed meaning
  • The language of management
  • Dynamics of interpersonal vs. intercultural communication
  • Miscommunication vs. optimal communication patterns
  • Typical false assumptions of effective communication
  • Clichés and stereotypes based on miscommunication
  • Purpose and function of small talk ("No big talk without small talk")
  • Learning to interpret and use non-verbal signals in verbal communication (e.g. silence, pauses, rhythm, feedback "noises", etc.)
  • The business meeting as a model of cultural difference (i.e. communication and behavior patterns during meetings)
This lecture is an introduction to the subject. Due the limited length it is neither able nor intended to present complete solutions, but is meant to serve as a introduction for anyone who would like to learn more about this subject.

This lecture will be given in English. Participation is free. The contact person for registrations is Mr. Dirk Pfeifferling, phone 02401/8050.

2000/08/30 Introductory talk on Intercultural Communication in Aachen

We will be giving a short introductory talk on the topic of Intercultural Communication as part of an event titled Lernen und Arbeiten in der Euregio (Studying and Working in the Euregio). This event (talks will be given in German) is part of the EC program LEONARDO DA VINCI and will take place on Wednesday, 30 August 2000, from 2pm to 5pm at the Technology Center at the Europaplatz in Aachen. The target audience primarily consists of students from the Euregio Maas-Rhine, and the event is being organized by the AGIT  (Aachen Corporation for Innovation and Technology Transfer) and the FH Aachen  (Aachen University of Applied Sciences). More information (in German) can be found on the web pages of the FH Aachen. Binding registration for this free event is requested by e-mail under leonardo @ agit.de.

2000/08/12 English version of our web site online

As of today an English version of our web site is also available. You can switch back and forth between the German and English versions from each of our web pages: simply click on the flag symbol in the menu bar.


This is the archive of older news, the more recent ones can be found here.

Last changes to this page:
2010/09/08
Copyright © 1999-2017 A. & S. Petersen
www.aspetersen.de