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Actually, do HospEx Networks really facilitate ‘Intercultural Understanding’ successfully?

As it seems interesting to set the things here in a wider frame (see, a.o., “Is travelling noble? Or: “The Emperor’s New Clorths” by PickWick), and some thoughts around this theme come up a couple of times recently (e.g. we vs. them), I would like to continue with this and publish more thoughts in this direction. I hope that this post is appreciated and will, hopefully, function as an opening to an interesting discussion and to new insights. And maybe even more people do so in future. Those lines have been first published, by me, on the HospEx Ne>>t Wiki under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.





Prejudice and Discrimination will always be with us.’
Hospitality Exchange Travel Networks a respond to this?

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)


After a short introduction to Hospitality Exchange Networks, prejudice and discrimination and their relationship to each other, this essay will examine two widely known psychological theories that can be relevant in the reduction of prejudice. At the end, the relevance to Hospitality Exchange Networks will be evaluated.


Read the whole essay on HospEx Ne>>t Wiki.




Interesting Further Reading

22 Responses to “Actually, do HospEx Networks really facilitate ‘Intercultural Understanding’ successfully?”

  • Adia if would suggest making your forums open and also getting better forums software like smf.Right now its very difficult to read posts on your forum and also there is less participation as not one reads the forums .

  • This post should have a keyword prejudice and discrimination and their relationship to each other :)

    One can question what effect this cultural exchange has. Whether these networks increase inter cultural understanding and strengthen the peace on our planet as they pledge.

    What according to you is in inter cultural understanding ?
    Does inter cultural understanding have anything to do with peace?

    let us take a few instances IRAQ
    Would inter cultural understanding help? Or would there be peace “if” Iraq had no OIL.
    The middle east would there be peace if there was more inter cultural understanding OR if everyone had enough LAND.

    Does inter cultural understanding help cultures or have the opposite effect?

    the two groups had to cooperate and work together in a series of introduced incidents. The groups managed to accomplish the incidents, while Sherif et al. (1961) noticed a dramatic decline and even absence in hostility between the groups.

    Now in 1961 where exactly did Sherif et al do their research. Which groups were studied? schoolboys?
    Sherif et al (1961) in the famous boy’s camp study where they stirred up rivalry between two groups found that they could cool the hostility down by giving them tasks where no one group could complete it by themselves. Thus forced to work together, the boys became friends again.

    This was a boys camp with kids which had a common culture .

  • The idea that exchange improves cultural understanding and decreases prejudices is a popular one. I have two remarks however:

    1. Don’t hospitality networks only attract a crowd that is less prejudiced than others anyway? When observing my family and friends, I see that the least prejudiced ones are the most interested in hospex, while the most “closed minded” ones either dismiss it (safety being the primary objection) or just shrug their shoulders. There is certainly a correlation between tolerance and hospitality, but is there any causality? In fact, that’s precisely the problem with the “we’re changing the world” type thinking. Years of exchange (AFS, YFU, Servas) haven’t improved much. If anything, cheap travel and the internet have the most impact, but it still isn’t predominantly positive.

    2. Let us try to falsify the thesis, by observing some examples to the opposite: Belgium (where I live) is a rich country and many of its inhabitants travel a lot and we have a lot of CS members for our population. And yet, it is also the country of one of the most successful (in votes) extreme right parties in Europe. Vice versa, there are plenty of countries with a weak economy and little means to travel or participate in hospex, but where tolerance is much more a way of life. For example: Tibet (ok, before the Chinese took it over).

  • I don t know the circumstances of this experiment very well but I assume that the world population was not equally represented there.
    In our HospExch Networks neither but almost every country is represented. It s a bout cross cultural exchange.

    I believe that even if we can t get the entire world into Hospitality Exchange Networks we can have a positive influence on the futher development of the world.

    “We are changing the world” – We are part of it, every single one of us is changing the world a little, tiny bit in every second you live.

    We should really start to gather ideas about getting more impact on the “Non-CS/HC/BW People” in this world…

  • Thanks for your responses. I will try to get back on them in detail within the next couple of days. Up to then, just a few remarks and questions for clarification…

    @Daz, I do not really get your posting. Further, I do think is a good start, but I advise you to read the whole study and suggested implications (link in the posting provided).

    @tgoorden, @1.) Yes, a possible pre-selection is definitive a good point. Possible changes in exchange are difficult to measure and when there are some, they are a small part of a huge system. @2.) I think there is a huge system that interacts with that. Still, I think it does not falsify, you could still wonder what would be without all this…

    @Fabzgy, What is the exact point you try to make? Would it be that with a equally represented world population it would be more difficult or easier to reduce discrimination and stereotypes? The point I try to make with the posting above is that even with similar groups, it is very hard to reduce prejudice (just mere contact between groups and people is not enough) and very easy to foster those even more (dividing e.g. in CS and OCS).

  • Adia please delete the existing forum and install a new forum so can reach its past glory.

    I know there is resistance from existing members. BUT the threads are dead. Deleting the entire forum and install a smf or phpbb forum would do wonders.

  • What is wrong with the current forum? It is possible to post things and have a good overview (actually more than on a WordPress blog)…

  • People cannot see the post and have to log in every time to even read the issues . Also the threads are not visible on google so less people can find your forums.

  • You are right, the forum should be visible to everybody. But, this has nothing to do with the forums software and there is no reason to change software for this (it is one click in the admin options). Currently, I do work again on implementing a bot trap that postings can not be indexed/archived by nasty bots. I’m not a fan of being found by Google and Co (like many others), for this reason I want to fix this first and then forum will be made public visible.

  • There are no categories and is very difficult to follow threads that is why you see empty threads.

    Frankly what secrects do the forums hold? Why bring in google?Again you know what best is needed. I think the 3 year decline will give you enough to contemplate. hey is your org !! I saw potential . the wiki was good but… the forum is the sore point.

  • I do see the point with opening up the forum and I will do that. Some people do not like to be found via Google and I do respect that, above all. I do not think that there is a decline because of the forum software… And there are categories, but as long as there are not a lot of postings, you won’t need them anyway (it is just annoying to review many categories for just one or two new threads)… With the view, chose the one you like and find easy to keep an overview… or or

  • Taking the last words to heart, I thought it is time to finally take some action. I just opened up the forum and made it public accessible. All the new postings will be visible for everybody without having to register and login. The only existing category that is made visible is ‘ – Site / Forum’. However, there are still more internal and old categories that are only visible for registered users. In order to read those or to be able to post, one has to register a user. I hope this is welcome.

  • Gefeliciteerd! adia . Like i said you know what is best for your site to make it grow with more user participation. Veel geluk

  • By the way, you are all welcome to open up some discussions there as well… ;)

  • I would like to see categories for all 3 networks and also sub categories like finance, communication ,collectives etc

  • Good, go ahead and make a start. Please work something out, I will be happy to implement it..

    What else?

  • Apologize for my noob question. Could you let me know what this blog skin is? I really love it. Or is it custom one, perhaps? I believe it will be a decent solution for Google ads as well. I’d really appreciate it if you can let me know about it. Thanks.

  • If you’re Bill Gates, you’d make billions. This has nothing to do with his software or web-based knowledge. Marketing (and monopoly) is his niche. He could sell ice to Eskimos and has become the wealthiest person in the world simply by P.T. Barnum’s rule of thumb: “There’s a fool born every minute.”

  • Fine words butter no parsnips

  • There is certainly noticeably a bundle to understand about this. I assume you made certain nice points in functions also.

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