Cultural intelligence (“CQ”) describes our ability to connect amidst cultural diversity: our thirst to learn from those different from ourselves.
The world is speeding up and getting smaller, with “CQ” an increasingly important professional skill.
Professor Peter Dornan made this point when he opened our new science laboratories. He described his global teams of physicists in Imperial College, CERN and Japan: different in culture, united in purpose. “Science is truly international. Molecules, atoms, constituents of atoms are the same whether you are in the USA or China, Hindu India or Islamic Saudi Arabia.”
Boarding has always brought an international flavour. Nineteenth century LRGS included pupils from Ireland and India. Most of our boarders are from the UK, but we welcome students from across the continents: Hong Kong to Nigeria, Spain to Dubai, Indonesia to the Isle of Man! Their worldviews enrich every classroom.
“CQ” has different elements: knowledge, curiosity, confidence.
In the curriculum, cultural awareness begins with our thriving language, geography and religious studies departments. And cultural intelligence is developed by our overseas trips and exchanges – academic, linguistic, cultural, sporting – from Iceland to Auschwitz; Germany to Costa Rica.
Parallel Histories takes students to debate with pupils at Jewish and Muslim faith schools, while Erasmus+ links some of our Sixth Formers to Finland, Cyprus and Italy. Our charity work has a global dimension, and in 2019 we will support Friends of Chernobyl’s Children and Money for Madagascar, with whom we are developing a long-term link. Our alumni network is active from Hong Kong to New York.
Lemn Sissay writes: Said the sun to the moon, said the head to the heart / We have more in common than sets us apart.
This is what the world should look like! Knowing the world not as “other” but as “us”.