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mid-week Connect: 1/3/24 ~ Cultural optimism

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

And since it’s a new month as well, let’s share in another Word Connect today.  We do this once each month to remind ourselves that words do totally connect us cross-culturally and in so many other ways.*  Our exploration of this particular word fits right into the Transformations component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework, since practicing what this word preaches in the face of challenges can help transform dire circumstances into hopeful ones. **

Today’s word is Optimism - a great word to start this New Year with, especially given the major challenges so many around the globe are facing. Let’s take as a basic definition that optimism is a mental attitude characterized by hope and confidence in success and a positive future” ***

I came across two compelling examples across several cultures of inspirational optimism this past week - one from a personal acquaintance of mine living in Odessa, Ukraine and one from a 9 year old in Gaza who is touching a global audience with her bravery. Each illustrates how individuals and communities are facing beyond belief difficult, life threatening circumstances with an optimism ignited by a passionate dedication to their people, their cultures and their homeland and rooted in the belief and the hope that their stories are worth being told. 

What does this have to do with cross-cultural communications and global community building? Everything. As we, the global community, experience personally or watch crises unfold - optimism on everyone’s part can indeed transform at so many levels. Let’s make 2024 a year when we each engage, at some level, in practicing optimism…and see what happens - shall we?

How about for you ~ what is one challenge  you are experiencing (cross cultural or otherwise) that you will choose to be optimistic about in the coming year?

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

Check out the Global SKILLs LINKs for details about the 9 year old Gazan optimist and read the email exchange with my incredibly optimistic Ukrainian acquaintance below.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~  9 year old Lama, an Afro-Gazan child choosing, with hope for peace, to share the story of her people and her homeland:,of%20followers%20on%20social%20media.

~ see below for Steven’s (his name has been changed) optimistic update on life in Odessa, Ukraine


* Previous Word Connects - 1/4/23 - tapestry; 2/1/23 - lizards; 3/8/23 - slang; 4/5/23 - mien; 6/7/23 laissez-passer; 7/6/23 - repatriation & rematriation; 8/2/23 - circumlocution; 9/7/23 - hair/hirsute; 10/4/23 - remote; 11/1/23 spelling across cultures; 12/6/23 - Haudenosaunee

(use the blog link above to find these by date) 

** Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:  

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR) 

PROACTive Learning Strategies:                                                                                                 

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations (which we explored this week)

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: 

*** The Word - definition, signs and how tos: 


Steven’s Story

In March of 2022, just weeks after Ukraine was invaded by Russia, there were many efforts to support the Ukrainian people. One involved using AirBandB to transfer funds safely to local residents - the idea was to ‘rent’ lodgings or sign up for a tour or event, pay the fees - but (of course) not actually go. I helped a friend do this by signing up for a bike tour in the seaside town of Odessa. We interacted with the leader of the tour, Steven (whose name I have changed to

protect his privacy). He was very grateful to us and the many others who were using this means of getting much needed funds to people over there.

I have stayed in touch with Steven as the war has dragged on now for the past almost 2 years. He was thankfully able to go to the Netherlands this past year for 6 months on a special visa to work and get a break from being in an active war zone. He returned to Odessa in September, and since then, by his own account, has simply been working on surviving.

I encourage you to read his update below and be inspired by Steven and his family’s resilience and optimism - which I believe represents countless others around this weary world who live in these impossibly dangerous and difficult situations, making the best of it and hoping for a better future.

Grateful for Steve’s friendship - and to be reminded of the many blessings I enjoy!

12/30/23 [an exchange of several emails through AirBanB]

Hello dear Elizabeth. Thank you very much for your message and your attention. First of all, I want to congratulate you on the upcoming New Year! I wish you health, success and prosperity in the coming new year. My most sincere congratulations to you and your family, to your friends

and loved ones! Thank you very much for your help and support throughout this difficult time. Best wishes.

[I had written him asking if he was ok after the heavy shelling of many cities this past week]

Yes, indeed it is true. On December 29, there was a powerful rocket attack on many cities of Ukraine. Odessa also came under fire. There are resolutions and sacrifices. Today, December 30, the authorities of the city of Odessa declared a Day of Mourning. Experts say this was the largest shelling of the entire territory of Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Unfortunately this is reality. I'm fine. Nothing happened to me. Luckily we weren't hurt.

Thank you dear Elizabeth for your care and attention. The situation in Odessa is difficult. Probably half the population remains in the city. Nothing has changed for the better regarding my work in the hospitality and tourism industry. Everything stopped. This is a very long pause. Unfortunately. But now there is another goal - the ability to simply survive in these conditions.

There are no other plans. Just waiting for the end of the war. It is impossible to plan anything. The most important thing is life and health. Everything else will happen only after the end of the war. Thank you for your concern. I have everything I need. We are able to pay utilities, electricity and gas. There are food and medicine. Everything is fine. At present this is quite enough. 

I took my mother to Odessa forever. Since it is impossible to live in her city of Ochakov. The city is constantly under shelling. Unfortunately. She is safe in Odessa. I also have the opportunity to help her with everyday matters. 

I had some health problems. However, everything is fine now. In a nutshell, we can live. This is the most important thing now. The people of Ukraine are tired of war. There are also many other new military conflicts in other parts of the world. Unfortunately.

Thank you very much, dear Elizabeth, for your help and support over these two years. This is truly very touching and priceless. Thank you for your congratulations and wishes! We are optimists and believe in a peaceful future. With best wishes...

(I am sending you pictures of my mother, father and me). My mother is 86 years old. She feels good for her age. And full of optimism.

It makes me happy that she is nearby and safe. We send you New Year's greetings from Odessa . Everything will be fine.


2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

Please Note: this is copyrighted content. 

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (

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