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May 2024
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Communication Across Cultures

By Toastmaster Magazine Staff

Different colored hands reaching around globe

Culture helps define our communities, but communicating across different cultures is a vital skill in our ever-expanding world. Read what prominent experts and philosophers have had to say about cross-cultural communication.


“The crucial differences which distinguish human societies and human beings are not biological. They are cultural.”

—Ruth Benedict, American anthropologist


“Understand the differences; act on the commonalities.”

—Andrew Masondo, South African lieutenant general


“Try seeing, feeling, and tasting the water you swim in the way a land animal might perceive it. You may find the experience fascinating— and mind-expanding.”

—Erin Meyer, American author


“Culture is a way of coping with the world by defining it in detail.”

—Malcolm Bradbury, English author


“The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men.”

—John F. Kennedy, American president


“No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.”

—Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political leader and social activist


“How do we create a harmonious society out of so many kinds of people? The key is tolerance—the one value that is indispensable in creating community.”

—Barbara Jordan, American politician


“We have the ability to achieve, if we master the necessary goodwill, a common global society blessed with a shared culture of peace that is nourished by the ethnic, national, and local diversities that enrich our lives.”

—Mahnaz Afkhami, Iranian women’s-rights activist


“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”

—Pablo Casals, Spanish cellist and conductor


“Culture is not made up but something that evolves which is human.”

—Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher



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