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The Intersection of Intercultural Competence and Ethics


Dr. Doug Stuart, Intercultural Consultant and Executive Coach at Awakening Possibilities, will speak on the topic, The Intersection of Intercultural Competence and Ethics.  Unraveling the complex challenges of human “ethics” is the intention of the Buddha’s “right action.”  Determining and performing the right action in complex situations is however our lifelong challenge.  We like to think of ethical behavior as global, of ethics as human ethics.  The expression of ethical behavior, however, differs from culture to culture, and adapting to this reality is the goal of intercultural competence.  Within all human cultures there are successive stages of development, from childhood to adulthood and beyond, with different ethical perspectives at each stage.  These five well-researched developmental stages coincide conveniently with the equally well-validated five stages of intercultural development.  The greater our human development, the more easily we understand and adapt our behavior to other cultural norms.  As we move through these stages, the expression of our ethics becomes more “right” within our own culture and across cultural boundaries.  We will explore these stages as different versions of the universal “Golden Rule,” to create a map, a guide for our own cultural and spiritual growth as human beings. 

Dr. Stuart has spent a lifetime pursuing what it means to be a conscious human being.  A prompt for this curiosity was suddenly finding himself in the midst of otherness as a Military Intelligence Special Agent in Germany.  Since then, he has spent much of his working life with foreign nationals; as an English language teacher and program manager in North Africa, the Middle East, and Vietnam, as Assistant Professor in IIT’s Humanities Dept. (where he received his PhD), overseeing ESL programs, and, most recently, teaching advanced ESL to foreign professionals seeking opportunity in the U.S.  For 15 years in the midst of all that, Dr. Stuart served as Director of Intercultural Training for a private relocation company serving corporate international transferees and work teams collaborating with foreign colleagues.