Message from the Dean

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Message from the Dean

To all studying at the School of International Liberal Studies:Let us seek two-way communication

Dean, School of International Liberal Studies Prof. Zhang, Qin

Dean, School of
International Liberal
Prof. Qin ZHANG

In the School of International Liberal Studies, we aim to develop human resources that contribute to mutual understanding and communication with people from diverse countries and regions based on the multidimensional world-comprehension. To achieve this goal, we cultivate students' abilities to use foreign languages. We also intend to develop their skills to deepen the understanding of the respective region's cultures, recognize and deal with the nature of various problems in modern society.

How can we build the communication skill that functions to encourage mutual understanding and interaction in a diversified international world based on the plural culture's comprehension? First of all, of course, we need to have the ability to use various foreign languages as a tool to interact with others. Moreover, we should understand their cultural backgrounds and historical, cultural, and social situations of social groups in which they belong. However, are these enough to develop the communication skill? The answer is no. The reason is that communication is not one-way but two-way involved with both directions. Thus, learning the other's languages and recognizing the social situations surrounding the other party is solely a valid preparation to communicate. We are still not ready to let the other party respond to our communication invitation and help the other to interact with us.

For example, please imagine when people from the social group with the habit of bowing and people with shaking hands encounter. It might be rational for one of them to adjust to others to have a smooth greeting. However, the situation is more complicated when people from distinct historical, cultural, and social backgrounds come together to work on a collaborative project or tackle some sort of problem-solving. It is necessary to adjust to others and vice versa. In other words, not only you need to learn the other's language, understand the cultural and social background of the social group to which the other belongs, and actively communicate with them, but the other also needs to learn your language, understand the background of the social group to which you belong, and actively communicate with you. Only after this way you could establish sufficient communication.

What is the best way to achieve this sufficient communication? While it seems paradoxical to the concept above, the first step is to actively show the attributes of your social group rather than simply adjusting to others. Needless to say, you have to confirm the identity and recognize the attributes of both you and your social group.

To develop the communication skills that play a role in encouraging mutual comprehension and interaction in a diverse international community based on the understanding of plural culture, it is not enough to rely just on the ability to use various foreign languages as a tool for interactions with others and understanding of the history, culture, and society related to the social group to which the other belongs. As our additional learning goal, it is also necessary to acquire a full observation of yourself and your social group and fully understand your social group's historical, cultural, and social situations and tell others so they can understand you better.

This should be the ultimate goal of our education at the School of International Liberal Studies.