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Intercultural and International Communication

Intercultural Relations

Below are questions and course options for this concentration.

Our world today is becoming increasingly globalized. Traditional boundaries between peoples are blurring, bringing those of vastly disparate cultures into contact with each other. Culture plays an important role in shaping the values, beliefs, worldviews, and behaviors of individuals and organizations. Culture also impacts interpersonal and mass communication. For this reason, it is imperative that today's citizens have a base of knowledge off of which to work for the inevitable instances when they encounter someone of a different culture. The Intercultural Relations concentration is broadly interdisciplinary and special attention will be paid to cultural factors in interpersonal, intranational, and international conflict.   

Whenever we consider the impact of culture on the interaction of people, we are entering the field of study that today is usually referred to as “intercultural relations.” This area ranges from interpersonal communication to relations between states; it includes both domestic and international interactions between different peoples and even explores the impact of modern communication technologies on societies around the globe.

This concentration explores the concepts of culture and compares and contrasts aspects of various cultures both domestically within the U.S. and around the globe. In this concentration students examine various issues such as racism, multiculturalism, leadership, and specific cultural regions. Domestic and international aspects of culture and the impact of culture on the individual, social, political, economic, and international behavior of people are explored. The Intercultural Relations concentration emphasizes both verbal and nonverbal communication; ethnic, racial, and other identity movements, cross-cultural adaptation; and cross-cultural conflict and negotiation.


The applied skills and theoretical approaches learned in the Intercultural Relations concentration are translatable to various fields within international relations. This concentration will help students to appreciate the relevance of intercultural relations to different dimensions of life, as well as explore the viability of interdisciplinary approaches to the theory and practice of intercultural relations. Graduates of this concentration go on to work at prestigious organizations, including: National MultiCultural Institute, World Learning, Sister Cities International, and InterCultural Advantage Consulting.   

Intercultural Leadership

This course examines global leadership in cross-cultural contexts. What makes a good leader in China vs. in the U.S.? Why do leaders who are successful in domestic settings sometimes fail dramatically in international/intercultural contexts? What is different about global/intercultural leadership? We will explore how globalization influences leadership; how the meaning of leadership varies across cultures, and how organizations can develop and support leaders to respond effectively and creatively to the rapidly transforming global work environment. We will review the literature on the relationships between cultural dimensions and leadership, and discuss its critical implications. The goal is to develop enhanced understanding of key leadership research and best practices and the characteristics of interculturally competent global leaders.


Psychological and Cultural Bases of International Politics

Phenomena and problems of international relations in terms of underlying cultural and psychological forces. Theory of international relations from the point of view of the behavioral sciences. Usually offered every spring.

How do I learn more?

Please contact Karen Ives, at, to learn more about this concentration.