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

Victor Wu '22 RGLP Reflection: Dialogue Across Difference

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In this increasingly globalized world, we will inevitably encounter people with different cultures or worldviews than our own. Building platforms for dialogue across difference will be essential for success in the workplace or in interpersonal relationships. Through a series of discussions, presentations, and simulations, RGLP provided me with a variety of tools to navigate the complex and interconnected world in which we live today.

I learned how to approach new or uncomfortable situations with a higher degree of self-reflection and awareness. In particular, I learned to take a moment and consider my own cultural biases when meeting someone from a different background, instead of simply going by my first impression. Rather than rushing to a judgment based on my own cultural preconceptions, giving people the benefit of the doubt can be much more beneficial for everyone involved.

RGLP also taught me about the importance of empathy and respect in cross-cultural communication. I learned to balance being true to my own values while also recognizing that more morally ambiguous situations need not always be resolved cleanly one way or another. Being willing to tolerate ambiguity and truly explore different viewpoints has taught me much more about the world and about myself.

In terms of global leadership, I learned about how my own identity and worldview shapes how I perceive various situations and interact with others. Even if I don’t realize it, my past experiences shape my leadership style.  Being cognizant of my biases and habits will help me be a more confident and effective leader in a global context.

Finally, RGLP has taught me to step outside of my comfort zone. I am now more willing to adapt to new cultural settings and interact with people of different cultures, backgrounds, and worldviews. Over the course of this term, I have developed various intercultural leadership competencies to help me engage in dialogue across difference.

Written by Victor Wu, a member of the Winter 2021 Cohort of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program

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