Looking at cultural differences
Looking at cultural differences

James Chinnery, Programmes Director of INF Nepal, is facilitating a workshop on ‘Managing Cross Culture’ for a group of Nepali and expatriate staff at UMN, Thapathali office. Today is the second, and the last day of the workshop.  James is very encouraged with the active involvement of the participants.  

Paul Hagen, who has recently joined UMN as the Integral Mission Advisor, is also a participant of this workshop.  Here is Paul’s observation from yesterday’s sessions.

The twelve Nepali and eleven foreign UMN workers who participated in the Managing cross-Culturally workshop were again and again plunged into lively discussions as James asked questions that highlighted various cultural differences between Nepali and Western cultures. One of the goals of the workshop was that the participants, who relate to each other in UMN learn to understand and value each other’s cultural traits so as to work effectively together.

One particularly lively discussion contrasted the respect given to people based on who they are compared to reward based on recent accomplishments. Family connections and relationships carried much weight in the Nepali context whereas recent achievement was more likely to be valued in the west, even though the western volunteers did not show off their academic qualifications.

Another discussion contrasted using lessons from the past for today’s actions compared to a focus on planning for the future. The majority of both groups were focused on the future. But looking at the history of the United Mission to Nepal is important for planning for the future because it gives an understanding of the core assumptions and values that gave the people of Nepal the Patan Hospital, Tansen Hospital, Butwal Technical Institute, Mahendra Bhawan School, the innovative Andhi Khola Hydro-electric project and over fifty other projects. Studying these core assumptions makes up part of the way that the UMN approaches each area of work. This raising of understanding of how UMN works is part of what is called “Integral Mission.”

Paul Hagen (OK, I’ll admit I have a D.Miss.)

Indu Shah, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer says –
After working for 3 years with bideshi (expatriate ) people, I am actually able to understand the real them.  The contents of this workshops are very good and very useful for people like us who work among people with different backgrounds.

Kamal Khadka, UMN’s Human Resource Advisor says –
This workshop has further added to my knowledge and skill in managing people.  Culture, perception and belief are hidden expressed and unexpressed elements that represent a person as an individual.  Understanding the individuals better will always mean more clarity and efficient work in my role in UMN. 

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