A Delicious Week of Cross-Cultural Learning

One of the special aspects of The Center for American and International Law is that we provide continuing education to lawyers AND law enforcement personnel. The courses are usually held separately, but last week, the 54 young lawyers from around the world in our Academy of American and International Law shared a barbeque lunch with the police officers in our School of Police Supervision course.

Sitting at long tables, Academy students paired up with the police officers. There were lively discussions as they learned about one another. Then, each person had an opportunity to introduce his or her new friends to the entire group—sharing details about their background, family, pets, and favorite sports. It was a fun way to enhance cross-cultural understanding.

A classroom highlight of the week was a course on International Business Negotiations taught by Robert Wilkinson, a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Using many interesting examples from research on how the brain works, anecdotes and class participation, he showed how it is possible to reach negotiation goals through cooperation rather than competition and gain mutual value by focusing on the interests of each party.

The Academy participants had an active weekend, as well, spending a day in Fort Worth, visiting the famous Stockyards area, watching a Rodeo, touring some of the city’s great art museums and, of course, visiting Billy Bob’s Texas, which calls itself “the world’s largest honky-tonk” with three acres of bars, dance floors, and country music performances.

The weekend ended Sunday night with an International Food Festival. Academy participants made dishes from their home countries to share with the entire group. It was a feast of appetizers, entrees and desserts from all over the world.

--Ellen Beth Levitt