Building Bridges Between Diversity Training and Intercultural Competence

In many businesses and organizations, diversity and intercultural competence are treated as two separate and distinct entities. However, in the words of Intercultural Communication Institute founder Janet Bennett, “global competency demands local competency; local competence is now global.” Diversity training programs are a product of the civil rights movement, and are designed to support the legal and moral obligation to create a culture of justice, appreciation, and inclusion within an organization. Intercultural competence is a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts. Building intercultural competence can increase sensitivity and facilitate social justice at all levels of human interaction. In this workshop, we will examine these intercultural skills and characteristics, and discuss the value of increasing intercultural competence in both local and global workplace interactions.