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Akram Elias


Global Effectiveness through Cultural Intelligence

Akram Elias, President, Capital Communications Group, Inc.

Description: This session will introduce the audience to the concept of cultural intelligence in two segments. In the first segment we will define what we mean by cultural intelligence (CQ) and how is it different from cross-cultural communication (CC)? During this segment, the audience will participate in a short exercise dealing with two different cultural settings, one of them being American. In the second segment will examine how CQ is applied. Participants will explore the practical contribution of CQ to government, business, and nonprofit organizations in an increasingly competitive and globally interconnected world. During this segment, the audience will participate in a CQ-based strategic planning simulation exercise. Audience participation is essential to this workshop. Depending on the number of participants, the audience may be asked to engage as one group, or be divided into two or three smaller groups.

Level: Any

Delivery: Skills Workshop

Track: General

Akram Elias


President, Capital Communications Group, Inc.

Akram Elias blogs primarily on public diplomacy and international relations, particularly as they apply to homeland and national security matters. Elias has over 27 years of professional experience as a consultant in the areas of public diplomacy, cross-cultural training, and communication. He has worked extensively with the U.S. Department of State and numerous private and international organizations to provide public diplomacy, cross-cultural analysis and training.

He is the founder and President of Capital Communications Group, Inc. (“CCG”), a Washington D.C.-based firm that provides services in public diplomacy, cross-cultural communication, and international business networking. In the area of public diplomacy, Mr. Elias, prior to founding CCG, worked for 10 years as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State accompanying delegations of foreign dignitaries primarily from North Africa and the Middle East in support of the department’s public diplomacy efforts.

Since 1995, Mr. Elias has been contracted by the U.S. Department of State and numerous private organizations such as Meridian International Center, Freedom House, the Institute of International Education and World Learning Inc. to give in depth briefings on American government, politics, culture and society to international delegates from around the world visiting the United States on special exchange programs. Mr. Elias has briefed thousands of visitors on a variety of topics including, American Federalism, Separation of Powers, Rule of Law and Independent Judiciary, Formulation of U.S. Foreign Policy, Role of the Private Sector in the United States, U.S. Economic and Trade Policies, Role of the Private Non-Profit Sector and Civil Society, Lobbying, Role of Media in a Free Society, Women in Business and Politics, First Amendment Freedoms and Civil Liberties.

In addition, Mr. Elias, who is fluent in Arabic and French, provides in-depth analyses on social, cultural and political trends in countries of the Middle East and North Africa. He has recently concluded studies on Lebanon and Morocco. In the area of cross-cultural communication, Mr. Elias organizes training workshops and seminars to assist foreign dignitaries and executives in communicating more effectively with their American counterparts. Sessions focus on a variety of topics including cross-cultural business negotiation, dispute resolution, and cultural bridge building.

Mr. Elias provides cross-cultural orientations to foreign government officials, business people and scholars who come to the United States on short as well as long term exchange programs. Mr. Elias has worked over the years with people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Mr. Elias volunteers his services on the board of directors of various charitable and educational organizations in the United States. He is now serving his second three-year term on the board of directors of the National Council of International Visitors (NCIV), the leading organization in the United States that encourages American citizens to become more involved in foreign policy issues and international affairs.

Mr. Elias has traveled extensively overseas as a speaker on American government and society to countries such as Armenia, Cuba, Egypt, France, India, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, Philippines, and Turkey. Mr. Elias, who is a naturalized citizen of the United Sates of Lebanese origin, is a passionate speaker on America: the Great Experiment. He has authored numerous articles on this topic, and wrote the original treatment for Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington and co-produced it with Academy Award Winner Richard Dreyfuss. The documentary aired for the first time on November 26, 2001, on the History Channel, and won three prestigious Telly Awards. Mr. Elias has since been featured in several documentaries on PBS, the History Channel, Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He is currently working on a book entitled American by Choice, not of Birth.

Mr. Elias has a Graduate Certificate in International Finance from Georgetown University (1996) and a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland (1988). He also received specialized training in International Conflict Management at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland (1988 – 1990).