Funny that this came up just after I attended a session on cultural competency in CME at the Alliance for CME meeting last week. Simone Champagnie at Something Extra says that IMEX and Meeting Professionals International will be launching a Culture Active Tool at MPI's 2006 PEC Europe. According to an article in Travel Daily News, it will be a "Web-based, standalone cross-cultural analysis and briefing tool that will be accessible on a global basis." It will include two modules:
* National Cultural Profiles provide cultural roadmaps to approximately 70 countries; a rich database which enable users to compare specific behaviours in one culture with those of another.
This is a start, but we have a long way to go, and I do worry about something like this leading to stereotyping. While some states are starting to mandate that physicians learn about how to treat patients of different ethnicities, I'd say that, no matter what our profession, we need to learn more about where we're all coming from. Especially meeting planners, who often have a very diverse group to accommodate. And we have to become more aware of our own cultural backgrounds, and how that affects our interactions with others. It's a huge, and hugely important, topic, and one that will continue to grow as our world becomes increasingly multicultural.