The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: Developing a Global Mindset with Christianne Wohlforth

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Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information about MLDP, click here.

On October 29th, 2013, Dr. Christianne Wohlforth, the current Director of the Montgomery Fellows Program and Associate Director of the Dickey Center, delivered a presentation entitled “Developing a Global Mindset” to MLDP.

Dr. Wohlforth walked us through the importance of displaying both willingness and a readiness to embrace and adapt to any cultural environment in which we find ourselves. She began by asking the students how they viewed a “global mindset.” By framing the concept as a way of viewing the world, we were able to better understand how to approach different cultures with respect.

Next, Dr. Wohlforth explained that the negative emotions we experience when faced with an unfamiliar culture – such as fear, nervousness, and anxiety – are our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, and that we must adapt our way of thinking. The continuum of intercultural sensitivity further outlined the different stages that exist between complete denial of another culture and acceptance of other cultures. In order to truly be comfortable in other cultures, we must do more than merely “be present in the country,” Wohlforth explained. A person who has a global mindset is curious about other cultures, learns about other cultures, and is willing to adapt to other cultures.

I found Dr. Wohlforth’s emphasis on our personal accountability very compelling. Understanding that cultural sensitivity is entirely under my control is truly the first step to developing a more open and thoughtful interaction between my culture and that of those I encounter. During the remainder of the session, Dr. Wohlforth had us focus on several dialogues that illustrated the concepts she’d explained quite well. During our post-group reflection on the exercise, we learned to always consider the context of a dialogue, and to ensure that we’re picking up on subtle cues, if we truly seek to be culturally proficient. I’d like to thank Dr. Wohlforth for making it very clear that we can all find ways to improve our intercultural skills!

--Isha Flores ’14, MLDP Participant Fall 2013

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