Cross Cultural Storytelling: The Lighter Side of the East West Center is a project that hopes to be a repository of notable East West Center impressions. When different cultures meet, poignant, humorous, and uplifting experiences create treasured memory recalls that last, and are quite simply, unforgettable. A new story will be published each week.
Submission guidelines are available at:
SUBMITTED BY: Estrella Besinga Sybinsky/Peter Andrew Sybinsky
FIELD/AREA OF STUDY: Open Grants/Political Science
YEARS AT THE EWC: January 1970-December 1971/ June1969-December 1972
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Philippines/ USA
CURRENT COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE: USA
What made the East-West Center environment fascinating and richly innovative was that unlike our standard understanding of the slowly evolving “melting pot concept” where people from different backgrounds were born, grew up and lived for decades in a multi-ethnic state or country, adult participants at the East-West Center were primarily Asian, Pacific and American professionals thrust together in a short term, highly intensive communication experience. I was relatively naïve and sheltered in Cebu City, Philippines before joining the East-West Center community.
It was really interesting how people from different cultures spoke the same language but attached different meanings to those same words. My cultural background gave me traditions and habits, images and expectations about myself and the world in which I lived, and like a traffic code for behavior, it told me what was good and bad, right and wrong, when to stop and when to move forward. Imagine therefore a theater where all these images and perceptions were turned upside down.
Well, the East-West Center was and is such a world.
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