« what worked for Dean worked better for Bush-Cheney | Main | technical problems »

March 11, 2005

an experience of globalization

Today, a group of teachers from Azerbaijan visited my office. With help from Streetlaw (on whose board I serve), they are teaching their students to deliberate about current issues, as a form of civic education. Since I have long worked on deliberation and civic education, both separately and in combination, I was interested to hear their experiences. Meanwhile, Professor Gabriel Murillo from Colombia, a leading proponent of public deliberation, happened to be visiting. I know Prof. Murillo from past work with the Kettering Foundation, so I accompanied the Azeris to his talk. He lectured in English on the role of deliberative democracy in development. An Azeri interpreter provided simultaneous translation into Russian, since not all of the delegation from Azerbaijan speaks Azeri. Dr. Murillo said at one point that he thinks in Spanish; I sensed that he was translating words like "consentimiento" into English as he spoke. The Azeri translator presumably had to think in his own (Turkic) language as he generated Russian words from Dr. Murillo's English. And some of his colleagues who know Azeri better than Russian may have had to translate into their native language to understand what he was saying. At one point, an Azeri of Russian ethnicity stood and bravely asked Dr. Murillo a question in Russian, which several people helped to translate into English so that Dr. Murillo could reply. The whole point of his speech was the need for communication in a pluralistic society, and that's exactly what we experienced--albeit through the medium of English.

March 11, 2005 9:57 PM | category: deliberation | Comments


Site Meter