Friday, June 25, 2010

Speaking of Translators

A couple of you asked about the translation device I mentioned in my last post.  I can't fully explain how it works but here's what I've been able to piece together from the following scraps of information:

Clue #1:  One of the few agreed upon names for this piece of geography is "Terra Santa".  My newfound language skills allow me to say with confidence that this means "Land of Santa" (no relation).  I was understandably confused by this until...

Clue #2:  I was given brief access to the translator (pictured to the right).  When I first received this magical device I slipped on the headphones, pointed the hand-held portion at Amny and said, "Say something".  She replied, "That's not how it works." Ha! If that's not how it works, then how could I understand her perfectly?  She claims to have been speaking English and sitting right next to me.  I pushed her for another reasonable explanation.  She explained that there was a person sitting in a booth that would take whatever was spoken into the microphone, translate it, then relay it to the headphones.  Likely story.

Conclusions:  Using my powerful skills of deduction (which are only slightly less powerful than my skills at translation) I reasoned the following:  Though Amny never referred to the mysterious booth person as "Santa" (no relation), I realized that the cultures in this part of world must have a mythical figure similar to our Mr. Claus.  Just like we attribute the appearance of presents under a tree to Mr. Claus, they attribute the delivery of English words through the translator to Santa (no relation).  Is the shared name a really big coincidence? or proof that there are commonalities among all cultures?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From Mixed to Shared

The city of Haifa is auditioning for a starring role in one of Dr. Standerfer's upcoming classes on framing and the power of language to create and reinforce mindsets.  Like many cities in Israel, Haifa's population is a mix of Arabs and Jews.  In some cities the mix is more successful than others, meaning that the two populations work and play well together.  Haifa is considered to be one of the best examples of a mixed city.

Mixing isn't enough though.  And Haifa isn't enough.  Yesterday Amny and I took the train to Haifa to attend a conference entitled: From Mixed to Shared.  The purpose of the conference was to challenge participants to brainstorm strategies for moving from a city where the inhabitants tolerate one another's diversity to appreciating that diversity to eventually capitalizing on the strength provided by diversity.  Appropriately, there were people from all over the globe at this conference.

This is me with my favorite piece of technology ever.  A translator.  I'd almost forgotten what it's like to understand the words other people are speaking.

And a couple of pictures from the Baha'i Shrine and Gardens just to add a little more diversity to the day.

A few hours in Haifa wasn't nearly enough.  I'll be going back just to explore the city before I leave Israel.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Desert Embroidery

 My original list of 8 or 9 organizations has been narrowed to 5 in the last few weeks.  This is a video clip of one of the organizations I'm working with.