This is Novancia’s intercultural project week. 250 second year students will be working in teams of 6 to come up with an intercultural action plan for a foreign company trying to enter or improve their position on the French market. My job this morning was to kick things off with a lecture about intercultural competencies. The most important message was the story of the picture below
This real story was about Peter Brook and his 22 actors crossing the Sahara desert in 1972. They would stop at every oasis and there he would ask his actors to improvise around a carpet and a shoe. Sometimes a Touraeg or two would come, watch for a bit and go away. Week after week Brook’s actors attracted no audiences.
One day something magic happened. More and more Touaregs gathered around Brook’s troupe. They shouted, laughed, cried, clapped. Hundreds and hundreds of Tourags in the desert were captivated by the performance.
After months of experimentation, the actors had finally created real intercultural theatre.
My message was: that is the sort of effort that companies and businesses have to be prepared to make if they really want to become interculturally competent.